Hil­lary to the res­cue

The Democrats get a front-run­ner but there’s no stand­ing ova­tion

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton is not the in­evitable pres­i­dent, but she was clearly the in­evitable can­di­date. For the party, she’s what’s avail­able, and she’s a meal ticket for the clutch of retreads, has-beens and hang­ers-on from a check­ered past, and now she wants to be the 67-year-old leader of a youth move­ment in a Demo­cratic Party reel­ing and dis­il­lu­sioned in the wake of suf­fer­ing blowouts in con­sec­u­tive con­gres­sional elec­tions. Her ap­peal, such as it is, is an un­usual one: “I ain’t much, but I’m all you’ve got.”

Nev­er­the­less, the Clin­ton ma­chine, armed with Wall Street cash and oiled with Mus­lim money, will be for­mi­da­ble. Her new ideas are the old hash on which her fem­i­nist al­lies feed, man­dated fam­ily leave, uni­ver­sal kinder­garten and bet­ter child care. Th­ese are le­git­i­mate enough for de­bate, but hardly an inspiring agenda in a world on fire. The Onion, whose satire can’t keep up with the head­lines in a con­ven­tional daily, of­fers her a snappy slo­gan: “I de­serve this.”

Her hus­band Bill of­fered a 2-for-1 deal in his first cam­paign, “buy one, get one free,” but any of those con­sul­tants buzzing about like flies on a ba­nana peel could tell her that promis­ing to put Bubba back in the White House as sec­ond ba­nana is not a good idea. There won’t be room for her at cen­ter stage.

As a can­di­date she will have to emerge from the bub­ble she pre­served dur­ing her turns as a se­na­tor and as sec­re­tary of State. She may think that cam­paign­ing on so­cial me­dia saves her from hav­ing to an­swer ques­tions, but can­di­dates for pres­i­dent can’t cam­paign in a bub­ble. She will learn what dif­fer­ence, from this point, it does make. She will have to ac­count for what re­ally hap­pened at Benghazi, to say where she was when the tele­phone ac­tu­ally rang at 3 o’clock in the morn­ing, why she stored State Depart­ment email mes­sages on her pri­vate server and de­stroyed them at her leisure.

Mrs. Clin­ton can’t dis­miss ques­tions as quib­bles posed by a vast right-wing con­spir­acy, and many lib­er­als see her as a crea­ture of cor­po­rate in­ter­ests, a hand­maiden of the three “bigs” — big gov­ern­ment, big busi­ness and what’s left of big la­bor. Gov­ern­ment wants to get big­ger, Wall Street wants the econ­omy to get big­ger and la­bor dreams of a re­turn to the days when it was big enough to ter­rify can­di­dates. Democrats suc­ceeded in cam­paigns past as the can­di­date of Main Street, not Wall Street.

The chal­lenge she faces, one more dif­fi­cult than dodg­ing ques­tions about scan­dals in a White House past, is to sep­a­rate her­self from Pres­i­dent Obama, who is no­body’s dream­boat now. To win next Novem­ber she must chart a mid­dle course be­tween what she will call the con­ser­va­tive ex­cesses of the Repub­li­can Congress and the mud­dle of what she can’t cel­e­brate as the Obama years. She must avoid be­ing a re­minder of the scan­dals of the Clin­ton White House and the in­com­pe­tence of the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion. That’s a task politi­cians of su­pe­rior skill — some­one like her hus­band, for ex­am­ple — would find daunt­ing.

Marco Ru­bio, the first-term se­na­tor from Florida who an­nounced his own can­di­dacy for pres­i­dent Mon­day, called Hil­lary “a leader from yes­ter­day.” The na­tion is learn­ing now the price of a nov­elty pres­i­dent, but Mrs. Clin­ton is count­ing on short mem­o­ries, and avoid­ing at all costs the cry of “Four more years!” She wants to be the first woman pres­i­dent, and Amer­ica may well be ready for the right woman. That’s not nec­es­sar­ily be­ing “ready for Hil­lary.” One nov­elty is enough.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.