You don’t have to share Sportin’ Life’s skeptical view of the Bible to chuckle at his boldness in taking on the conventional wisdom of his day. This tune from Gershwin’s Broadway hit Porgy ‘n’ Bess was a show-stopper for the legendary Cab Calloway.
And it’s the response I have to give when I hear people say Hillary Clinton is “inevitable” in 2016: It ain’t necessarily so. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) is not sure she’s so inevitable. And even if she is, it’s not necessarily a good thing for people to say that about her.
Gov. Patrick told CNN’s “State of the Union” recently that he “worries” about all this inevitability talk of Hillary. Let’s read between the lines:
She is an enormously capable candidate and leader, but I do worry about the inevitability because I think it’s off-putting to the average voter. And I think that was an element of her campaign the last time. As an enthusiastic Democrat, I just hope that the people around her pay attention to that this time around.
That’s about as deft a putdown as you could ask for. Gov. Patrick is nothing if not a skilled inside puncher. Notice how he reminds viewers of “her campaign the last time.”
Folks, she’s been around this track before.
Then, there’s the sly reference to “the people around her.” Don’t mention anyone in particular. Whatever you do, don’t mention Bill. Just let “the people around her” phrase hang out there. How well did they do the job for her last time?
“Pay attention? What? Clinton operatives inattentive? Whoever charged that against those veterans of the famed War Room? If they were not paying attention back in 2008, maybe it was because they were reading this devastating article from Todd Purdom in Vanity Fair.
I recommend this in-depth reportage to all my friends—liberals and conservatives. “The Comeback Id” is more than a dog whistle to liberal donors, consultants and activists; it’s a foghorn. It bellows forth:
BEWARE! Rocks and shoals ahead! The sub-head is even more direct: Bubba Trouble.
Purdom is warning his fellow liberals that with Hillary you get Bill and with Bill you get more baggage than Samsonite has. The late Jack Germond sternly disapproved of President Bill Clinton’s White House dalliances. That was not because Germond disapproved of dalliances. He thought they were “wonderful.” But he believed that when you are President, a lot of people are depending on you to deliver the goods.
What did Hillary and Bill deliver in eight years? What about Health Care? The reason it’s called Obamacare and not Hillarycare is simple: Hill Democrats didn’t read the bill in 2010. They had to pass it to find out what was in it. The reason they didn’t pass Hillarycare in 1994 is because they did her bill. The difference is: Barack Obama was not distracted by Troopergate or Whitewater or any of the dozen other Bubba Troubles. He got the job done for liberals.
Recruiting gays by quota for the military? Hillary and Bill didn’t move the ball. Barack Obama scored with that issue. Full federal funding of abortion? Hillary and Bill could not get a Democratic Congress to pass the so-called Freedom of Choice Act. And then they lost Congress. Barack Obama cleverly buried abortion funding in the thousands of pages of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its tens of thousands of pages of implementing regulation.
The HHS Mandate repeals the federal ban on abortion funding by going around it. The federal government won’t pay for abortion directly with tax dollars; it will simply force employers to subsidize abortion with mandatory insurance coverage. Mr. Obama’s stealth move was so clever he even outfoxed dozens of House pro-life Democrats. On issue after issue that is important to the Left, Barack Obama delivered where Bill and Hillary failed.
Unsuccessful presidential campaigns are rarely studied. But Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign ought to be carefully studied. I have no doubt “the people around” Gov. Deval Patrick are studying it at this moment.
Those who do study the 2008 Democratic nominating contest are likely to find some shocking results. Running out of money and increasingly desperate, Hillary Clinton made a stunning statement in `08. It is documented in this research article by two academics in a Political Science journal.
Let’s consider this sentence:
Senator Obama’s support among working, hardworking Americans, white Americans, is weakening again.
She doubled-down on that statement, pointing to the “60% of whites who had not completed college” who were supporting her candidacy, 2-1.
If any Republican or any Conservative had said such a thing, the entire Glass Ceiling would have shattered and fallen in on their heads. What is she saying here about non-white Americans? Are they among the “working, hard-working, Americans” to whom she was so obviously appealing?
Whoa! And the media watchdogs were asleep on the porch for this one. Imagine this question the day she announces she is forming an exploratory committee:
Madame Secretary: Will you be appealing once again to the “working, hard-working, white Americans” you appealed to in your last campaign?
As if Madame Secretary does not have enough grief with Bubba Trouble and with her 2008 campaign appeal to those hard-working whites, she still has to run through a minefield of issues she dealt with as President Obama’s top diplomat.
How’s that Russian “Re-Set” Button working these days? Why did you publicly tongue-lash the Canadians for not pushing abortion in East Africa? Would you have designated Boko Haram as a terrorist outfit if their victims had been Irish or Dutch?
She is known as the one who gets things done. Why? What has she done? Or is her record more like that of Jesse Jackson. He’s here and there and everywhere, always being quoted, always living with a microphone in his face. But when Jackson was considering a challenge to Washington, D.C.’s Mayor Marion Barry, the wily Barry laughed it off. “The only thing Jesse wants to run is his mouth.”
What has Hillary Clinton actually run? On top of all this is the Question of the Age. Is she likeable enough?
Then-Sen. Barack Obama thought she was. Watch this most unforgettable faint praise. Clearly, the Senator from Cool had the best line on either side in the entire 2008 campaign.
We may yet see a successful run by Hillary Clinton, but it as far as its being inevitable–
It ain’t necessarily so.
Photo credit: “Hillary Clinton at the Senate Armed Services Committee” by Chad J. McNeeley – Defense.gov. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Ken Blackwell is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union, and on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.