By Robert Mann
Regarding the rush to give Hillary Clinton the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, put me down as underwhelmed.
I know she’s already the putative nominee. I know she’s the strongest candidate the Democrats have against anyone on the Republican side. I know she can raise more money than everyone else and knows how to run a national campaign. I know she would have a former president at her side, offering wise counsel.
I know, if elected, she would be uniquely qualified and experienced in the job, the first president who was also first lady. And I know that her nomination and election would make obvious history in other ways.
In the end, it may not matter that anyone is underwhelmed by the prospect of President Hillary Clinton. Many observers regard her nomination as inevitable – and she has not even announced her candidacy.
Of course, she seemed to have it all wrapped up in late 2007. She had the money and experience and the right supporters. But there was the small matter of Barack Obama, who ran off with the nomination she thought was hers.
If Clinton is nominated, however, I’ll be sad that the Democratic Party missed a historic moment to nominate someone capable of the bold, transformative leadership the nation still needs. Based on her 2008 candidacy and her tenure as secretary of state, there’s not much about Clinton that is bold or transformative.
She lost the 2008 nomination in large part because she had supported George W. Bush’s disastrous Iraq War. The succeeding years seem not to have taught her much humility when it comes to the use of America’s military. She’s almost hawkish as ever.
Democrats looking for someone to take on Wall Street and the big banks and fix a corrupt system that is rigged against the little guy might wish to look elsewhere. Nominating a wealthy, powerful former New York senator would be among the last things you would do if you wanted to reform the nation’s financial system.
To me, at least, she embodies the past (and that has nothing to do with her age). She simply exudes “privileged Democratic establishment.”
As a candidate, she is wooden in manner and instinctively cautious and guarded. I’m not sure whom she inspires, but it’s not me.
On a personal level, she and her husband are often a traveling circus of self-indulgent pathos, entitlement, scandal and disarray. Nasty staff infighting is their trademark. The Clinton Global Initiative appears to be a cornucopia of conflicts of interest.
Now, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signaling that he will enter the race for the Republican nomination, we have the distinct possibility of yet another tiresome Bush-Clinton contest. Do you realize that out of the last nine presidential elections, going back to 1980, there have only been two general elections that did not have a Bush or a Clinton on one or both of the national party tickets? And if you count Hillary Clinton’s 2008 run, there has only been one presidential election in the past 34 years without a Bush or a Clinton running for president or vice president.
Isn’t is time to turn the page and find another family or two who might run the country? Surely, in a nation of 316 million, we could consider other people.
Perhaps that is why several hundred former Obama campaign staffers, recently released a letter urging Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to enter the race. “Rising income inequality is the challenge of our times, and we want someone who will stand up for working families and take on the Wall Street banks and special interests that took down our economy,” the letter said.
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