Why Robert Reich is Wrong – UPDATED

Robert Reich–claiming “no inside information”–spells why he believes/recommends that Hillary Clinton and Joe “Boom-boom” Biden should trade places:

Why do I say this? Because Obama needs to stir the passions and enthusiasms of a Democratic base that’s been disillusioned with his cave-ins to regressive Republicans. Hillary Clinton on the ticket can do that.

Moreover, the economy won’t be in superb shape in the months leading up to Election Day. Indeed, if the European debt crisis grows worse and if China’s economy continues to slow, there’s a better than even chance we’ll be back in a recession. Clinton would help deflect attention from the bad economy and put it on foreign policy, where she and Obama have shined.

The deal would also make Clinton the obvious Democratic presidential candidate in 2016. . .

He adds:

According to the latest Gallup poll, the duo are this year’s most admired man and woman . . . Obama-Clinton in 2012 is a natural.

Reich could not be more wrong. If Hillary has any ambitions to be president, she ought to do it in ’12 and do it as an Independent.

Why do I say this?

I know the conventional wisdom holds that no Democrat would dare to run against Obama and risk a deep fracturing of the party. Conventional wisdom, however, is hogwash in the face of voter discontent and distrust of both parties and the D.C. establishment. If ever the time was right for a strong candidate — from the left, not the right — to strike out as an Independent with a good chance of winning, it’s this election year, and Hillary Clinton is precisely the candidate to do it.

Independents ran to Obama in ’08, and they’re running away from him as fast as they can in ’12, but not necessarily toward the GOP, whose current field of candidates seems like 8 tilting vials of nitro-glycerin, just waiting to fall. Offer them a candidate they can associate with a era of “peace and prosperity” — one who many of them happen to like and think got a raw deal in 2008 — and they will careen toward her like seagulls toward dropped bread.

Hillary will pull all the disgruntled PUMA
(Party Unity My A$$) voters who in ’08 were told “you don’t have to fall in love, just fall in line” and are still rinsing the bad taste out of their mouth from that primary; she’ll pull all of the Democrats who are currently, quietly, wishing Obama would just go away. And while Obama supposedly enjoys an approval rating of about 85% within the African American community, it’s a decent bet that those who liked her before they ever thought of Obama could be persuaded to like her again. Hillary, after all, feels no ways tired.

A candidate from the right could never do it. Between GOP/Conservative in-fighting, the purge-and-purity brigade and the need of some to “teach a lesson” with their vote — and the predictable broadsides that will be launched against such a candidate by the Democrat-favoring press — the best a conservative third-party candidate could hope to do is “make a point.” The Democrats and far left will all still vote for Obama, and the independents will either run scattershot or sit out the election altogether. Hello, Mr. Perot.

But Hillary Clinton — boldly proclaiming that
“the two-party system is broken” to a nation that pretty much agrees with that assessment, and offering the tantalizing suggestion that the best way to work with a congress so immobilized by partisan concerns is to bring in a No-Party President — could seize the moment and make it her own.

Reich is all wrong. He is thinking like a pre-Obama strategist when the nation desperately wants to bring on a post-Obama program that will be anything-but-more-of-the-same. A GOP president will guarantee nothing-but more of the same, with a bonus dose of the Bushian-high-drama-hysterics of the press and Democrats that none of us are yet ready to go through again.

In the face of all of that, an Independent President Hillary Clinton
— bearing “Artillery Hillary” bona fides for the security-conscious, “baby steps to health care” wisdom for the Obamacare repealers, and “it’s the economy, stupid” focus for the out-of-work — will seem like more than just a breath of fresh air. She’ll seem like the answer to a prayer.

And for some she may well be. Not my prayer, of course, but for some, sure.

Naturally, Hillary Clinton will not get the pro-lifers
, nor the staunch conservatives, nor anyone who remembers not liking “we’re going to take some things away from you on behalf of the common good”.

But I’ve had more than one Republican tell me that they would have preferred Hillary Clinton to Obama, and frankly, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to learn that some of them, disgusted with their own party, or unwilling to deal with “more of the same” would go for an “Indy Hillary” at this point.

And honestly, if I am thinking of this, I’m quite sure Hillary’s people are, too!

Ed Morrissey has news
suggesting that going rogue may be all the rage, this time out.

And Zombie says Obama will still be president in 2013.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://workingonmyrewrite.blogspot.com/ bob c

    what a transparent piece of politics

    Hillary is many things, but an independent ? She has spent her life working for the Dem party, she was pilloried by FOX and the rest of the web of right wing “media”, her role in Whitewater & the coverup is baggage to the nth degree. Imagine the Tea Party dealing with Hillary.

    this is a gambit to draw independents off Obama, so Mitt can run away with the election.

    [You've GOT to be kidding me. You think I'm either a Tea Partier or a Mitt fan and this is my bid to help him out? You don't read me, much. I'm not a Tea Partier; I'm not a Mitt fan, I don't like anyone currently running from the GOP side (although I will vote for whoever becomes the GOP nominee) I don't think in layers and I'm not a good chess player, either. But you should read Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style in American Politics. It isn't just about rightwingers anymore. -admin]

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  • Thomas R

    I think Reich is probably closer to right here than you, not saying either is precisely right.

    Obama’s not popular, but I don’t think he’s anywhere near as unpopular as you’d need him to be for this idea to make sense. Or that he’s anywhere near as unpopular as you believe him to be. I didn’t vote for him, and wouldn’t in 2012 either, but he’s still seen as personally likeable by many and his support among Democratic voters remains pretty solid.


    Also running as an Independent, against a President of your own party, has NEVER worked. Teddy Roosevelt did a pretty good job of it, but he didn’t even manage it. And Hillary Clinton is no Teddy Roosevelt. To be honest I don’t know that even trying to take the Party’s nomination from a sitting President has ever worked. It didn’t work for Ted Kennedy in 1980 and Carter was in a weaker position than Obama in many ways. In 1968 the sitting Democratic President didn’t even run and the party lost. John Nance Garner in 1940 also failed to take the nomination from FDR.

    Maybe you’ll say “history doesn’t matter, we’re in an unprecedented situation” but I don’t think it’s unprecedented enough to really warrant the idea something as extreme as this makes since for non-Republicans. For Republicans sure Hillary running an Independent campaign could be great. Particularly if Mitt Romney, who I know you don’t support, is the GOP nominee. Why “particularly if Mitt Romney?” Because Romney is comparatively weak in the South while Hillary is likely strong there. If the Democratic vote is divided in places like Virginia or North Carolina that could be to his advantage. Even if she wins those states it could be to his advantage if it takes them out of the equation.

  • Montjoie

    From your iPad to God’s ears, if it would help submarine Obama’s chances at a second term.

  • CathyfromNY

    Elizabeth, I knew you were liberal, but just how low can you go… why are you being so hard on unborn children?

    [You're kidding me, right? Sitting around imagining scenarios is being hard on unborn children? In order to be pro-life, I am not permitted to look at a situation and discuss something I see as a possibility? Pondering a possible scenario is now against life? Really? -admin]

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  • Greta

    The Clintons are Democrats to the core. It would hurt their money making ability and this will never happen. I do think that there is a strong movement in the Democratic Party to try to force her on the ballot with Obama to try and save what they see as a lost cause at this point. As Obama becomes a walking joke to many in America, the Democrats see disaster heading their way not necessarily because they fear the Republicans, but because so many in their party will simply stay home. That is why they are trying to make this about anger and a vote against the rich with the occupy crowd movement. They have to do something to stir up the base and make them mad because Obama gives them nothing to hope for this time. But the Republicans can still blow this deal if they do not get a candidate quick and turn the focus back to Obama.

  • Andy

    I think the telling point in your comments is: “If Hillary has any ambitions to be president…”I do not think that Hillary wants to move out of the democratic party. She is revered in this group and between she and Bill can call the shots. To be the power behind the throne if you will. I also think in her political calculus, the clown show that is running for the GOP nomination leads her to think that 4 more years of a Democratic White House is quite likely, which aligns with the power behind the throne idea.
    I also tend to agree with Thomas above when he speaks of Hillary being able to hurt Obama in the south where Romney is weak. This does not fit with the Clinton’s idea of the Democratic Party.
    However, replacing Biden with her, is a GOP dream – she may be the most hated of all Democrats and would certainly energize the GOP. I didn’t know that Reich was a closet Republican.

  • retired military

    It would be fun to watch.

    If it happened than the GOP nominee would win (whoever it was) (and they most likely will unless Hillary is on the dem ticket).
    Popular vote
    Hillary would pull probably 35% of the vote. Obama would pull maybe 12-15% and republicans would pull about 40%.

    Hillary would get more electoral votes than Obama and it would put an end to any legacy that he wants to try and build (other than the legacy of a 1000+ pardons for all his buds to include, Holder, Blago, Rahm, Daly, etc etc). The republican nominee (Romney most likely) will go into office and hopefully act right since he will have been elected with the least popular vote in history.

    If Romney loses this election hopefully he will do a McCain and just go the hell away and leave republicans alone (I feel the same way about doofus Huckabee and his talk show).

  • dry valleys

    It does just sound like wishful thinking to me. As far as I can tell, Clinton is already doing a responsible and fairly huge job excellently. I don’t see any reason why she’d want to get her own party out of office (the likely outcome), when Obama is most likely to win in 2012 and she can go on serving her country so well.

    And if “going rogue” ia anything like “going Galt” there’s nothing for the Leninist Muslims running America to fear!

    As for Clinton herself, if she still wants to be president, I should imagine she would be in a strong position in 2016 if things stay as they are, with her and Obama likely to continue in their offices. I would be fully in endorsement of that if she stood.

  • http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/ Todd

    Wishful thinking, yes. If the GOP can’t come up with anything better than more tax cuts for the wealthy and trying to deep-six elements of federal governance that actually are working and popular with citizens, then she’s likely a shoo-in for 2017-2025. By the quarter-century mark, the Republicans will have run one candidate a week for another twelve years (at this rate) so maybe the party will indeed be dead by then. We can only hope.

    But take heart, conservatives: the Dems will uncover some way to screw this up. They always do.

  • Will

    Hillary is not an independent and would not run as one. Hillary might (emphasis on might) run again in 2016, but that is a long way off. It would be more likely, but doubtful, that Ron Paul would run as an independent.

  • Mary M.

    Why are Catholics who are pro life and pro man/woman marriage considered “right wingers” as if that is some sort of fanatical way to think? If Catholics truly chose their candidates and voted according to Catholic teaching the United States would not be in this mess with an Obama/Biden administration!

  • CathyfromNY

    [post deleted. accuse me of posting "the smoke of satan" again and you'll be banned. I'm done being nice with that kind of foolish and nasty crap. -admin]

  • Doug

    This is a fantasy. Clinton is well aware that such a move would hand the White House to the GOP, and make her a despised figure among Democrats. I doubt she has much interest in becoming Ralph Nader redux.

    [It's speculation. But it's not outside the realm of the possible, of which politics is the art, and I don't at all agree that it would hand the WH to the GOP. I argue precisely the opposite. -admin]

  • friscoeddie

    I would guess it’s a coping thing that you guys hope that the Dems will self destruct by splitting in two. I guess I would entertain these delusions if I was anti-Obama and faced with the GOP clown act next week in Iowa.

  • dry valleys
  • Will

    “This is a fantasy. Clinton is well aware that such a move would hand the White House to the GOP, and make her a despised figure among Democrats. I doubt she has much interest in becoming Ralph Nader redux.”

    Have to agree with Doug.

  • newton

    Lo dudo. I doubt it. We would know something about it from, of all people, her husband.

    And I don’t think people want to deal with her husband again.

  • LisaB

    I don’t think Obama will put her on the ticket. It would be an admission on his part that he’s weak. Even though he is weak (in oh so many ways), he can’t be seen as admitting so.

    Plus, I’m wondering if her supporters would vote for an Obama-Clinton ticket knowing she should have been The One and now he needs her. Insult to injury and all that.