Hillary and the Continuum

Hillary and the Continuum December 8, 2012

Michael Tomasky at the Daily Beast:

The presidency was once described by some historians as a prize, won in one election by this team, in another by that team. The metaphor suggests that elections are discrete and separate from one another and that the stakes aren’t much greater than those encountered on a game show. But that’s not the case anymore. Prize is the wrong metaphor for how we ought to see the presidency today. Now, we ought to see it as an instrument through which progress can either be advanced or retarded, and rather than thinking of each election victory as a prize, we ought to think of each as a step on a continuum.

This will be especially true in 2016, when a Republican victory would put at mortal risk the gains of the Obama years. So the next election will be no time to leave all this to chance—or to Andrew Cuomo or Martin O’Malley or even to Joe Biden. Hillary has to do it. She could handily beat the whole parade of Republicans. They’re children next to her. None of them is even in her weight class except for Jeb Bush, but he seems to me pretty easily disposed of with one question: “Okay, America, you’re being the given the choice to extend either Bill Clinton’s presidency or George W. Bush’s. Which way do you want to go?”

. . . The Democratic Party’s leaders and money people won’t be able to force others not to run, but they should do everything within their power to signal to the political world that it’s Hillary and just get on the damn bus.

I am highly sympathetic to this. Though I worked briefly for the Hillary presidential campaign in 2007/2008 (I had to leave due to health problems) I had begun to sour on her candidacy in the trench war between her and Obama. Common wisdom had it that whoever the Democratic nominee was in 2008, all they had to do was not get into a scandal (cough – Edwards – cough) and they’d get a walk to the White House, so it became an extraordinarily emotional choice for Democrats and progressives as to who nabbed that nomination.

But we do live in a zero-sum political universe these days, perhaps now more than ever, a time in which it’s not as though a GOP win would mean a status-quo administration with a tilt to the right. That’s what we thought we’d get with W., and not only did he turn out to be a radical conservative, he’s now considered too liberal for the current GOP. In other words, this is no game. It’s crucial that, every time out, the Democrats nominate a freaking stone-cold winner.

And yeah, that’s Hillary right now. I hate anointing candidates, I hate nepotistic, legacy-based candidacies, but Hillary Clinton as a person unto herself is serious as a heart attack. And we can’t afford to screw around.

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