Hillary bandwagon
The bandwagon is on the roll

All aboard! Not so fast...

| Hillary Clinton must be the only person in the country who doesn't know she's running for president in 2016.

Philosophically I stand with Barbara Bush — "We've had enough Bushes." And I would add, "We've had enough Clintons." Although there have only been two father-son presidencies in US history, the Adamses and the Bushes, this is supposed to be a democracy, and the presidency is not an inherited office. The prospect of another Bush-Clinton campaign sends shivers up my spine, and they are not giddy frissons but fear and trembling.

On the other hand, I'm a pragmatic sort. The Repugnicans have a "deep bench" of people who would like to run; most don't have a ghost of a chance, to be sure, but they're champing at the bit. The Democrats have ... Hillary.

The 2016 election will not be a repeat of 2014. For starters, the map will favor Democrats more than Republicans in 2016 as more Republican senators and governors face re-election than do Democrats. Secondly, the presidential electorate is different than the folks who turn out for the midterms: in 2016 voters will be younger and less white. In short, just because the Rs control both houses of Congress and many statehouses as well, 2016 will not be a slam dunk for them.

What the Democrats — and the country — need in 2016 is someone who can win the White House and who has long enough coattails to drag enough Democratic Senate and House candidates along to mitigate the disaster wrought by the midterms. And the country needs a Democratic president to prevent the Rs from completing their campaign to erase President Obama from the history books. As I said before, the Democrats have ... Hillary.

Yes, there's Elizabeth Warren, senator from Massachusetts, who can indeed fire up the populist base. I like her thinking, but does she have a shot? Don't think so. Not yet.

Yes, there's Joe Biden, Obama's vice. While he'd love a stint as president to round out his resume, he will have so much Obama baggage to tote.

And of course, there are a few long shots. Jim Webb comes to mind. But Michele Bachmann was a long shot for the Rs last time, as well.

So we're left with Hillary. She has certainly proved her chops as a senator and secretary of state, but she is not unflawed as a candidate. If you're tired of hearing "Bengazi" now, wait until she announces she's running. As part of the Clinton foundation she has deep and enduring ties to Wall Street, ties that can be used effectively to portray her as one of the 1% and diminish her appeal to the working class and minority voters she will need to win. On the plus side, women should love to help her become a first.

But, she might be able to pull it off with the aid of Bill. For all his flaws he is having a very successful post-presidency, and Obama didn't make him secretary of explaining stuff for nothing.

In a Washington Post op-ed today, Richard Cohen says Hillary is the Democrats' "only choice" and doesn't just have a choice to run, she has a duty:

It’s not possible that Clinton is actually mulling over whether to run. Not only does she have a moral obligation to do so — she’s repressing other potential candidacies and vacuuming up their funds — but the sooner she drops the standard political pose and exudes genuine feelings, the better a candidate she will be. She is not the Democratic Party’s best hope. She is its only hope.

Washington Post, Nov 11, 2014

However, Cohen points out a major problem with the Hillary-as-standard-bearer scenario: She really doesn't have a message. Both she and Bill have forever had a really hard time saying plainly what they were for. Back in the day it was called triangulation. But you go to campaign with the candidate you've got, not the one you wish you had.

So loosen up those seventy-six trombones, hundred and ten cornets, and other virtuosos. Game on!

Last updated on Apr 29, 2016

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