As some 20 Republicans battle for their party’s 2016 presidential nomination, former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems to be the Democrats’ “anointed one.” The nomination is hers if she wants it, but isn’t that how Republicans have chosen their losing candidates in recent elections?
Not to worry, however, since Ms. Clinton’s fervent supporters assure us she’ll soon be a “new Hillary.” A recent USA Today article heralded “new issues, new tactics (and) a new Hillary.” And if you believe that, I have some beautiful waterfront property for you in Washoe Valley.
So how will Ms. Clinton, who has been around Washington for some 30 years, present herself to voters as something new and different? Well, according to USA Today, she’ll re-tool her image to become a champion of women and the elusive “middle class.” Joe Trippi, who managed Howard Dean’s losing presidential campaign a few years ago, told the newspaper “things are totally different” than when Ms. Clinton was running against President Obama in the Democrat primaries in 2007 and 2008.
“There’s not an incumbent Republican president, and the technology and issues that were driving that election are completely changed,” he said.
Ms. Clinton will use social media to reach voters next year, Trippi continued, and will focus on digital targeting of voters. Which means we can go on “Twitter” and discuss serious foreign policy issues 140 characters at a time. Let’s call it the trivialization of American politics. And we can bombard al-Qaida and ISIS with millions of strongly worded “tweets.” Good luck with that.
USA Today reminds us Ms. Clinton won’t have any trouble raising money for her 2016 campaign. Presidential candidates spent more than $650 million in 2012 and they’ll spend a lot more next year. If the Republicans have big donors like the infamous Koch brothers, Democrats can always call on the equally unsavory George Soros and public employee unions, who love President Obama’s free-spending, Big Government policies.
If Hillary suffered from “Clinton fatigue” in the 2008 campaign, how can she not face the same problem eight years later? Her supporters argue her loyal service as Obama’s Secretary of State will solve that problem. They can cite the frequent flier miles she accumulated as Secretary, but will have trouble convincing us of her accomplishments in that important Cabinet post. In fact, as a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer, I think she was a weak Secretary of State who presided over, and is responsible for, the Benghazi fiasco that killed four American diplomats including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. “What difference does it make?” she asked during a congressional hearing. Along with many of my diplomatic colleagues, I look forward to answering that question at the polls next year. When it comes to Benghazi, she can run but she can’t hide from her responsibility.
Democrat political consultant Bill McIntosh says Ms. Clinton should keep talking about “how we move forward by improving the lives of women and families.” That’s what President Obama has been talking about for six years, and the results are meager and unimpressive. As for Ms. Clinton, she’s married to a serial womanizer. So much for women’s rights.
Bottom line: The “new” Hillary looks and sounds a lot like the same old Hillary. Voters are going to be seeking someone new and different next year, not the old “made in Washington” policies Ms. Clinton represents. Frankly, I think she’ll be in trouble if the Republicans nominate a young, energetic candidate from outside of Washington to run against her. Who might that be? Stay tuned . . .
Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, is the Appeal’s senior political columnist.