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An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton

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2011-04-13-hillary2012.jpegDear Madam Secretary:

I'm gonna cut right to the chase. Everyone knows you've always wanted to be president. You campaigned ferociously in 2008, and I faithfully supported you, as did 18 million other Democrats. In fact, you garnered more popular votes (48%) than your rival Barack Obama (47%), who beat you by amassing more delegates. So now you're faced with a huge dilemma: enter the 2012 race or wait until 2016. I think I speak for millions of Democrats in saying your time is now.

Democrats, especially the progressive Obamacons who were the president's most loyal supporters on his road to the White House, are extremely frustrated and angry with him and his administration. They were promised and expected "change you can believe in" and instead got "change that never came." They were told to "hope" and now they're being told how awesome it is that we have "the largest spending cuts in history" as if that is a fulfilled campaign promise. They thought they were buying a new model of Democratic leadership and were instead sold a used version of centrism and ideological abandonment. And now they want change, alright, and it's in the form of someone else.

For Democrats, it's no longer "change we can believe in," but "a candidate we can believe in." Democrats want someone who has a vision for America. Someone who knows what he or she believes in. Someone who is ready to fight like an animal to push that agenda through. Someone who isn't afraid of Republicans.

The world has changed drastically since 2008. Our nation's economy still struggles, as do the 14-million people who are unemployed. The global economy is no better. Oil and gas prices are at record levels, as is America's budget deficit. While corporate profits are sky high, consumer confidence is anemic. We're now embroiled in three wars, and there's unprecedented volatility in the Middle East and elsewhere. And now we have a Republican-controlled House of Representatives that seeks to decimate funding for Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, Planned Parenthood, the Environmental Protection Agency, energy, the arts, education, scientific research, fuel efficiency, technology innovation and other critical programs and investments in our nation's future.... while they preserve substantial subsidies to corporations and tax cuts for the rich. Now more than ever we need a president who can protect America's interests abroad while protecting the elderly, the children, the sick, the poor, the environment and culture here at home. We need a passionate, effective leader.

To be sure, many Democrats have lost faith in Obama's ability to be that leader. Campaign promise after campaign promise has been broken, and the president's decisions seem more designed to ensure his reelection -- by making independents happy--than by delivering on his promises to those who put him in office the first time around. Even Republicans are surprised to see the supposed "most liberal president in history" embrace the center so comfortably. The only real thing this president seems to stand for is his own legacy. That's why he wasted a year of precious political capital on health care reform (in which he caved under pressure and abandoned its central element, the public option) instead of job growth and the economy, and is now bragging about budget cuts.

In the process, Obama's turned off those he will need most in 2012. Progressives. Seniors. Blacks. Young people. Gays. Teachers. Union workers. Artists. All those once-loyal Obamacons who gave their hearts, their souls, their money, their time and ran to the polls to give him the delegates he needed to occupy the Oval Office. Millions of them will run no more for Obama. They've grown dejected and disillusioned, as evidenced by the president's low approval ratings which average in the mid-40's. All of this could spell disaster for Obama, and the party, in 2012.

But they're not ready to give up hope just yet, Secretary Clinton. Not ready to give up on the Democratic Party. There's at least 18 million people out there who'd passionately support you yet again. And the truth is, there are many of those 17 million Obama voters who'd shift their votes to you in a heartbeat should you challenge him in next year's primaries. If you run, Democrats will run right behind you.

Secretary Clinton, fate is knocking on your door. Your time has come. And that time is 2012, not 2016. If a weakened Obama should lose to a Republican next year, and that incumbent Republican benefits from a strengthening economy and jobs market, 2016 may be a fait accompli for the GOP. That would mean 2020, when you'd be 72, would be your next real opportunity. While I think being the first woman president would be an amazing historical feat to accomplish -- just as Obama became our first black president -- I don't think being the oldest elected president is as appealing to you or to voters.

Your best shot at the White House is now. And it's when your party, and your country, need you most. I understand and appreciate that it's not customary for a top politician, especially such a high-profile cabinet member, to run against her party's sitting president. But this is about country. It's about doing what's right for Democrats and the agenda we so desperately need to protect from further erosion and Obama sell-outs. Hillary, America needs you. Please consider our urgent call for 2012. Thank you on behalf of Americans everywhere.

Andy Ostroy
Editor & Publisher
The Ostroy Report
New York, NY