The new twist in the endless smack downs of Hillary Clinton is that they aren't coming from the GOP's inveterate Clinton bashers. They're coming from a coterie of supposedly reliable liberal friends, supporters and prognosticators. They punched her hard on Benghazi and her stance on gay marriage during a couple of interviews related to her book. They've doubled down on her with the parade of reasons why she won't run. She's too old, too micro-managed, has too little campaigning skills, is too prone to gaffes, is too politically vulnerable if she won and had to deal with a relentlessly hostile GOP controlled Congress. They heaped ridicule on Hillary's "dead broke" pronouncement that she and Bill were in dire financial straits after they left the White House. They then turned that on its head and piled more ridicule on her for the millions that she and Bill have amassed from speaking engagements and appearances.
The Hillary won't and shouldn't run refrain seemed to gain a little more headwind with the latest poll figures that show's her popularity numbers continue to steadily head south.
The hostile tone will almost certainly get shriller as the weeks go by and there's little movement from any other potential Democratic presidential contenders for the nomination.
The name of the game will remain Hillary, and what she should or more likely shouldn't do in the race for the White House. But it makes no difference which direction the anti-Hillary refrain comes from, the brutal political 2016 presidential derby reality remains unchanged. Not one of the oft mentioned potential GOP presidential candidates can overcome their narrow, insular and right political fringe appeal. The few halfhearted efforts Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush have made to sound and act more centrist on racial and immigration issues won't cut it. Even if this represented a real sea change in their political thinking, the GOP's tea party driven base would gag on it. The lambaste from conservatives of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, coupled with defrocked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor flame out in Virginia and Mississippi Senator Thad Cochran's fight for his political life against ultra-conservative tea party backed challenger is glaring proof that the GOP hardly resembles anything close to a united party.
Clinton's supposed plunge in popularity is much less than meets the eye given the long running assault on her by the GOP. The aim was to knock her out the box as a viable presidential candidate in any season. The campaign began during Hillary's years in the White House with then-President Bill Clinton. The attacks from Whitewater to the Lewinsky scandal on Bill as well as in the carping, digs, and finger-pointing, and investigations of and at him, Hillary's name was often as prominently mentioned as Bill's. The aim was to implant in the voting public's mind that Hillary was a co-partner, even co-conspirator, in the alleged wrong doings the GOP tried to pin on Clinton. This was done with a long-range eye on a future Clinton presidential candidacy.
The hits on her accelerated when she tossed her hat in the presidential ring in 2008. Even though she ran out of steam, money and got leaped over by the voters in their hunger for change, and the promise of Obama to give it to them, she would have been more formidable than Obama with blue-collar Democrats. They had doubts and ambivalence about voting for an African-American presidential candidate. Obama's win didn't totally dispel that fear. He still did poorly among white male, blue-collar voters in several swing states. This was the case again in his re-election win in 2012. The women and white male blue-collar voters in those states are still crucial to a Democratic presidential candidates' White House success.
Before the Democratic Party leadership and much of the media abandoned her in 2008, she was the clear presidential choice of most rank and file Democrats and millions of voters who spanned all racial and ethnic lines. Despite being outgunned and out spent during the primary campaign war with Obama, she still retained much of that support.
Her positions on health care and corporate reform, her mea culpa for her early support of the Iraq war and willingness to oppose it later, her experience in international relations, and her hands on administrative experience in White House policy affairs insured the allegiance of millions of voters to her. Millions of women also saw Hillary as the gender Obama. Her presidency will mark a historic presidential breakthrough for women.
Clinton still has to update her answers on her stance on criminal justice reform, education reform, her stewardship of the Affordable Health Care Act, climate control, the Key Stone XL Pipeline, and the range of military and foreign policy issues. But she has been through more than a dozen state, national, and presidential campaigns in her time. Despite the pile on from her inherent GOP political enemies and even at times her liberal friends, she's had to address those issues before. That's why she should and will run.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is a frequent political commentator on MSNBC and a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on American Urban Radio Network. He is the author of How Obama Governed: The Year of Crisis and Challenge. He is an associate editor of New America Media. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK-Radio and the Pacifica Network.
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