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Earl Ofari Hutchinson

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Knock Off the 'Run Hillary Run' Chatter

Posted: 08/11/11 12:50 PM ET

This has become a virtual ritual. Just about every month, or more like after each new fresh crisis that President Obama has to ward off, the chant begins: "Run Hillary Run." The chant goes up because so the argument goes, Obama is too weak, vacillating, and conciliatory to the GOP. He broke every campaign pledge that he made on everything from a swift Iraq war withdrawal to caving in to Wall Street, the banks, and major corporations. He's bungled the economy. His approval ratings totter near the danger zone for presidents in their reelection bid.

Clinton supposedly is tougher, more politically savvy, and will go toe to toe with the GOP in fighting for Democratic Party ideals. Hillary was the more popular Democrat of presidential choice during the Democratic primary slugfest with Obama in 2008 with moderate and conservative independents, blue-collar whites, and women. And that if she hadn't run out of money and organization, she would have entered and won more primary states than Obama; it would have been enough to make her, not Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee. The spate of editorials and articles, not to mention grumbles and rumbles from within and without the Democratic Party, supposedly confirm the widespread disgust with Obama and the fervent belief that Hillary is the party and the nation's savior.

This is nothing but fanciful, desperate, and even delusionary prattle. Hillary will not challenge Obama in a Democratic primary. And not just because she's part of Obama's administration team. She is the consummate Democratic Party loyalist. She will do whatever it takes to keep Democrats in all offices, and that most importantly means the presidency. She will be a fixture on the campaign trail in 2012 for Obama, and she'll deliver impassioned appeals for his reelection, and loudly warn of the mortal danger of an Obama defeat for the country.

The pining for Hillary to displace Obama ignores another hard political reality. Hillary holds no political office. When she did hold one, there was no tea party that had an iron-clad lock on the House, fashioned a hard line, take no prisoners, political agenda based on pure ideology, and made compromise and conciliation, dirty words. There was no tea party that has declared virtual civil war on not just Obama, but liberal and moderate Democrats. The tea party and the GOP's goal are not solely to drive Obama from office. They would have waged the same war against Hillary had she won the presidency with the same down and dirty vehemence that they have waged it against Obama. The only thing different about Obama from Hillary is that he's African-American and that has opened the racial floodgates to hector, harass, and demean him. The GOP war is about regaining power, control, political dominance, protecting its corporate and financial interests, its strict construction definition and enforcement of the laws, and more broadly the imposing its philosophical view of how government should be run. The presidency is the grand prize that pulls the political, economic and philosophical threads on how government and power will be exercised together for the GOP.

The tea party's relentless rage and hounding of Obama is not fueled by insecurity over bloated government spending, failed wars, or that the government is in hopeless hock to the Chinese, Japanese and Europeans. It's fueled by race and shrewd media and political manipulation. America has been in the era of economic uncertainty, foreign competition, and military shrinkage, for the past two decades. If America's domestic and foreign slide alone was a reason to scream for Hillary to oust Obama, the scream for an alternative should have been made in 2004 to W. Bush.

There were, of course, no loud cries, endless polls, and legions of pundits hinting or outright calling for Bush to step down. And that if he did, it would somehow reverse America's slide, or at least let him off the hook for it. That's what the Hillary clamor to confront Obama suggests.

The notion that Obama can lose, or even will lose, his bid for reelection defies presidential political history. A majority in a Gallup poll in 1982 fed the rampant talk that Reagan should not run for re-election because of political failures and public disgust. His approval numbers were in the tank. The majority in the poll said Reagan was damaged political goods because of high unemployment, double digit inflation, and even his alleged inexperience in dealing with these problems. Reagan, of course, won a smash reelection victory in 1984. Sitting presidents from Truman to Clinton have all heard the dreaded three words, "one-term president," said about them after popularity plunges, legislative reversals, or midterm party losses.

With three exceptions -- Bush Sr., Carter, and Ford -- all sitting presidents have won reelection. They won without facing any challenges from someone in their party, and with no clamor for anyone within their party to challenge them. It should be the same with Obama. In other words, knock off the run Hillary run chatter.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour on KTYM Radio Los Angeles streamed on ktym.com podcast on blogtalkradio.com and internet TV broadcast on thehutchinsonreportnews.com

 

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