An Open Letter to Madam Secretary: Run, Hillary, Run!

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(Cross-posted at Salon.com)

She won’t, of course.  But if I were a Democrat, here’s why I think she should.   (Please note the disclaimer: I’m posing as a Democrat!)

To begin, the President is in deep political trouble.  I’ve presented some basic economic indicators earlier that show the historical comparisons indicating that Obama is in Jimmy Carter territory.  These are crude measures, of course.  But more sophisticated forecast models, such as Yale economist Ray Fair’s, which uses per capita growth of real Gross Domestic Product during the three quarters preceding the election; the growth in inflation during the incumbent’s term; and the number of quarters during the incumbent’s term in which real GDP grows by more than 3.2 percent to predict the popular vote, now show Obama winning slightly less than 50% of 2012 popular vote.  Given current economic projections, there’s not likely to be any more strong growth quarters between now and November, 2012 meaning the odds for Obama’s reelection are probably not going to get better. To be sure, most of the political science forecast models don’t kick in until a year from now, so it’s a bit early to rely on them.  But if Clinton is going to run, she can’t wait.  And right now Obama is very vulnerable to a strong Republican challenger.

Of course, the fundamentals won’t change if she’s running. But note that the forecast models aren’t predicting a Republican blowout – they are forecasting a race that is, at this point, too close to call.  That means marginal changes in turnout among key groups are crucial. Here’s where Hillary has the advantage.  To begin, her stint as Secretary of State has done wonders for her approval rating, as indicated by Gallup poll surveys dating back to her time in the White House.  While the President, mired deep in the political muck of Washington politics, sees his approval falling to 40%, Hillary’s has climbed close to 70% approval – and even higher in other surveys. Yes, this is a partly an artifact of her position, which places her above the fray of domestic politics, and yes it will fall if she enters the race.  But the fact remains that her public profile has been bolstered in the last several years, and she enters the race with that advantage.  Indeed, she can use that non-partisan vantage point to frame her decision to run: it’s not about politics – it’s about the future of this country both here and abroad.

Her second advantage relates to the first:  she’s not part of the mess at home. She didn’t weigh in on the stimulus bill, or health care, or the banking overhaul, and she certainly bears no responsibility for the state of the economy.  In this respect, she’s the Obama of 2012: a candidate who can run on the promise of change, without specifying the nature of that change.  And she’s has an added advantage: years of governing experience in the White House, the Senate and most recently within the foreign policy establishment.  To be blunt, her resume outshines the incumbent’s. Meanwhile, her liabilities (the health care fiasco, Hill and Bill) have largely receded from public consciousness.  And in any case they are now dwarfed by Obama’s baggage.  In 2008,  Obama was the unsullied one. Not anymore.  Heck, even the Big Dawg has been largely rehabilitated.

This leads to a third point: buyer’s remorse.  It’s not one she can directly bring up (after all, she’s above politics), but others will certainly remind voters that she did warn you.  Remember that 3 a.m. phone call?  Remember the warning about the rose-colored petals falling from the sky?  Remember about learning on the job?  Sure you do. Doesn’t a part of you, deep down, realize she was right? If I heard it once this past week, I heard it a thousand times: you were duped by Obama’s rhetoric – the whole “hopey-changey” thing. And you wanted to be part of history too – to help break down the ultimate racial barrier.  That’s ok.  We were all young once. But now it’s time to elect someone who can play hardball, who understands how to be ruthless, who will be a real…uh….tough negotiator in office.   There won’t be any debate about Hillary’s, er, “man-package”.

All of these factors mean Hillary will appeal to precisely those voters who are most disillusioned with Obama, and who the Democrats lost in the 2010 midterms: older voters, the less educated and independents.  Moreover, she has stronger support in the key battleground states of Ohio and Florida and maybe even Pennsylvania, whose electoral votes may determine the 2012 election.  And the chance to finally put a woman in the Oval Office will energize voters in a way that Obama’s candidacy cannot.

The problem with this scenario, of course, is that it ignores a very big obstacle: the nomination fight.  The reality is that, at least until the recent debt deal, Obama continues to have strong support among Democrats.  Why should we expect Clinton to prevail in a nomination fight?  Indeed, a Gallup poll survey from last September shows Obama beating Clinton in a hypothetical nomination contest.

Politically speaking, however, that poll came out ages ago.  Since then, it has become clear that the economy is not going to rebound any time soon.  Obama’s approval ratings continue to drop, and this is before the full impact of the debt negotiations on Democratic support – particularly within Obama’s base: those Democrats with higher incomes and better education, as well as minorities and younger voters.  The other fact to remember is that despite the gaffes in Clinton’s 2008 primary run – the failure to fully contest caucus states, the mishandling of the Florida and Michigan delegates issue, she essentially fought Obama to a nomination draw.  Indeed, by some estimates she won more popular votes than he.  In the end, his nomination was secured not by winning enough delegates at the ballot box, but by gaining support from the non-elected superdelegates.  Four years later, who do you think has gained more politically among likely Democratic voters?

Make no mistake about it: a contested nomination would be a nasty, brutish spectacle. But in all likelihood the winner would come out stronger.  Think back to 2008 – despite the appeals from Obama backers that Clinton should drop out for the good of the party, she stayed in until the end – and in so doing exposed vulnerabilities in his candidacy in time for him to address them before the general election.  A primary challenge will be good for the party – it will give Democrats a real choice. It will mobilize the base. And it will expose candidate strengths and weaknesses leading into the general election.  Remember, there’s no evidence that previous primary challengers weakened incumbents.  The causal arrow runs in the other direction: incumbents like Carter in 1980 were challenged because they were already weak.  A Clinton run won’t damage Obama, and may strengthen him – if he fends her off.

And really – isn’t it time to elect a qualified woman as President? We are way behind the rest of the world in this regard.

But there’s a more important reason why Hillary should run – one that transcends party, or personal gratification, or payback, or breaking barriers.  She should run for the good of the nation.  She should run to prevent a rollback of health care, to make sure the Bush tax cuts are not renewed, to protect entitlement programs, to make sure Republicans – who are poised to regain the Senate in 2012 – don’t control all three governing institutions through 2016.  It’s not about her – it’s about the future of the country.

Madam Secretary, if you are reading this – the President is a good man who happened to be very unlucky in office.  He inherited problems of almost unprecedented severity.  But this is no time for sentiment to cloud your judgment.  You need to do what’s right.

If not now, when?  If not you, who?  The nation cries out for leadership.

Run, Hillary, Run!

93 Responses to An Open Letter to Madam Secretary: Run, Hillary, Run!

  1. Bob Johnson says:

    Have there been any successful challenges to the renomination of a first-term President? And if so, did the successful challenger win the election?

    If the answer to the first question in “no”, what is different this time?

    If the answer to the first question is “yes” and to the second question “no”, again, what is different this time?

    Bob

  2. Wenke Taule says:

    I think President Obama has her set up for a run in 2016. As a Democrat, I can wait— I still support and trust Obama to do the “right thing” given the most challenging circumstances in recent history. I do not believe he can perform miracles which many of my fellow Democrats expect!

    By the way, do you think racism is a big part of the Tea Party movement? I feel that what we are witnessing the last gasp of the Southern strategy and also fear of the fact that the US is becoming browner.

  3. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Bob,

    Good questions. If we restrict our analysis to the modern, post-1968 primary-centered, media-mediated nomination system, there have been no successful – as you define the term – challengers. Ford beat back Reagan in 1976, Carter thrashed Kennedy in 1980, and Bush I defeated Buchanan in 1992. So, what makes anyone think a Clinton challenge would be more successful? Two answers: first we are drawing conclusions based on a very small sample: really only three credible nomination challenges in comparable history. Second, Clinton is not just any challenger, and the 2008 nomination fight was, in this period, unprecedented in length and competitiveness. In short, there’s ample reason to believe Clinton brings strengths to a nomination fight that Reagan, Kennedy and Buchanan did not. In this respect, she’s a unique case. Does this mean she would win? Of course not. But I don’t think we can discount her chances based on recent history. If we go back in time, it gets more interesting but perhaps less relevant. I’ll see if I can develop a longer post that draws on more history.

  4. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Wenke,

    The risk in waiting, if you are Hillary, is that Obama may very well lose in 2012. Then you face potentially a steeper challenge in 2016, and in the intervening four years Republican have had an opportunity to seize the policy agenda. Why take that chance?

    The racism question is a good one, but difficult to answer. I’ve dealt with the data on this in several previous posts. As you might expect, it’s difficult to assess motivations, so charges of racial bias must evaluated very carefully – the charge is often made to bolster an ideological viewpoint in the absence of strong evidence. In lieu of a longer post, let me say that while racism may drive some Tea Party support, my best read of the data is that it is only a very small part. What really sparked the movement was economic populism – a fear, in the aftermath of the first bank bailout, and exacerbated by the auto bailout and stimulus bill, that government was too big, too remote and more responsive to bankers and CEO’s than to ordinary people. As I’ve discussed before, in this respect the Tea Party movement is not unique in American history – it has a long lineage in previous social/political movements. But your question deserves a longer post.

  5. Lucas Acosta says:

    Professor,

    I know Biden has officially said he’s running on the 2012 ticket, but what do you think of Obama asking him to resign and instead giving Clinton the job to bolster his political capital, likability in swing states and set her up for an easy 2016?

  6. Adam says:

    There’s an unstated message if HRC runs:

    “Established white person to do job that black man couldn’t handle”

    This “pie in the sky” thinking is in stark contrast to your “These are the facts, like’em or not” posts about the debt debate.

  7. I agree with the risk in waiting. I strongly preferred Hillary but when she pulled out of the race I threw my support to Obama. I am disappointed in him for various reasons and think his chances of re election are slim…the Republicans just might come up with a stronger candidate.

    I am afraid Hillary would not want to do this to Obama, (news from my pals) but I believe she should think of what is best for the country and go ahead.

    If Bush could be re elected anything could happen so while I am unhappy with Obama I also fear the Republicans will win in 2012 and we will lose our chance for the woman I believe would be a teriffic president. Always did and always will.

    There is also talk that she might face anger from the blacks. Jeez will we ever grow up. This isn´t about being black it´s about who would be better for the country.

    Just my 2 cents

  8. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Rather than resign, the easier play may be to pull a V.P-State Department switch. If Jill Biden is to be believed, Obama initially offered State to Joe, but he turned it down. So, assuming the two agree, how does one sell the switch without it looking like a sign of political weakness? I do this: say now that the debt negotiations are over, and the election campaign is on, Biden’s strengths – negotiating with Congress, advising Obama on legislative bargaining – are less important, and his foreign policy background (member of the Foreign Relations Committee) can now be utilized as Secretary of State. Clinton’s move, meanwhile, is explicitly sold as demonstrating party unity in the 2012 election.

    The question is: what’s in it for Clinton? Sure, it positions her for 2016. But there’s still that nagging possibility that the fundamentals doom Obama’s reelection bid. Only now, Clinton’s luster is tarnished by being on the losing ticket.

  9. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Adam – Evidently you don’t like these facts. As for “unstated messages”, see Sally’s comments. Besides, there are any number of cultural stereotypes one can recklessly toss about. How about: “a woman should wait her turn?” And are you implying that Obama couldn’t do the job because he’s black? Of course you aren’t. But you feel confident in attributing that belief to others. Why is that?

  10. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Sally – For a different perspective, see Adam’s comments.

  11. Peter Rothschild says:

    Matt,

    Wow! A very active blog on a subject that appears over due. The likelihood of the economy improving by the election is diminishing, and while that is hardly Obama’s fault, he will pay for it. So as you have noted, the metrics and history are against him. I personally find a disconnect between the Candidate Obama’s rhetorical appeal and that of President Obama. If that sentiment is echoed by a significant portion of his supporters in 2008, then his campaign brilliance may not reap the same rewards in 2012. Without that asset, he will be hammered by Republicans who hate him for few good reasons and be deserted by Democrats who may have become less enthusiastic about him. Ergo he will lose.

    Hillary posseses the advantages you have noted, and she holds out the hope for a Democrat with cojones. My guess is that while she may do no better than Obama in the race for the Presidency, she will energize the base to a higher degree this time around. Essentially trading places. Which leads to a different swap; how about Obama as Secretary of State and Clinton as President?

  12. Adam says:

    Why do I attribute attitudes to other people? Because they hold them. People were swayed by HRC’s tears. Why? Because she was a woman, not a man. Not because people all-of-a-sudden thought she was more qualified to be POTUS. Right or wrong, we don’t completely ignore race or sex or religion. Romney will have his own hurdle with the later.

    I’m trying to think *realistically* about the possibility of her running. When I do so, I see race dynamics as a barrier. After the election, all sides talked about how inspiring it was for this country (given its history) to elect a black POTUS. I think a primary challenge would rub Obama supporters (white or black or any color) the wrong way. Especially since their politics are practically the same.

  13. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Adam,

    You can do better. Of course people have attitudes. That tells my readers little that they don’t already know. The question is what attitudes, and in what proportions? How do you know (and the survey data suggest this is the case) that older, white and predominantly women voters didn’t shift to Hillary at the last moment in the NH primary because they saw her falling prey to the same gender stereotypes and discrimination that many of them endured – stereotypes, I might add, which some would see implicit in your comment about the impact of tears?

    I’m all for realism, and I don’t doubt that race, sex or religion matters. But you are claiming that in a Hillary-Obama primary battle, race trumps all – I want to know why you think so.

  14. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Peter – I can’t fault your analysis regarding Obama’s electoral chances. But the Obama-Clinton swap may be too audacious and imaginative for conventional politicians to accept. Let me ponder this for a bit….

  15. Bob Johnson says:

    It seems to me that blacks, who tend to vote heavily Democratic, would be likely to see a Hillary challenge to Obama in racial terms, whatever the motive for the challenge might be. If Hillary then became the Democratic nominee could she and Bill (and perhaps Obama himself) convince black voters to turn out for her as they turned out for Obama? If not, since blacks are a vital element of the Democratic base, couldn’t this be the fatal flaw in a close election?

    Quite apart from the racial angle, I also see a successful primary challenge to a first term president seeking renomination as likely to be a particularly bruising and costly process that would leave the party badly wounded for the general election.

    Bob

  16. Chad says:

    I don’t think race trumps all but I don’t see how having an established Democratic insider try to unseat the first Black President helps with African Americans, one of their core constituencies. Especially since there is little daylight between their domestic policy preferences. You yourself appealed to gender in your argument so you’re not above identity politics and recognize that they play a key role. Secretary Clinton has every right to run but it would alienate many African American voters considering that her policies wouldn’t be too far from Obama’s leading to the question of why would she feel as if she’d do a better job under the same set of circumstances while working for the same goals. She’d have to answer that question with a reply implying that President Obama’s out of his depth etc. once again alienating a large bloc of voters she’s need in order to win the general election.

  17. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Bob – Both valid criticisms. Here’ s how I would respond. Historically, blacks have supported the Democratic nominee at about a 90% clip. They supported Obama at an even higher percentage (without the numbers in front of me) I think it was closer to 95%. So assume you lose 5%, and have lower turnout, with a Hillary nominee. What do you gain in independents and, possibly, older women? It would be something to work out. My guess is most blacks would support Hillary, in the end. But maybe she should take Peter’s advice and appoint Obama as Secretary of State!

    I’ve no doubt you are right that it would be a bruising primary fight. But so was 2008, and Obama rebounded nicely. Why should it be different this time around?

  18. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Chad,

    You are right, of course, as Bob is – a Hillary challenge will alienate many black voters. As I told Bob, one would have to do the electoral calculus very carefully here, weighing the gains among independents, older women and blue collars workers against the loss of blacks, the youth vote and upper-income progressives.

    I am perplexed a bit about the implicit logic that several of you have utilized: that running against Obama would suggest he’s out of his depth, etc. What are you saying – that a black president needs to be treated more gently than a white one? The fact is his approval ratings are at 40%, unemployment is at 9.2% (real unemployment is higher), progressives are screaming that he sold out the Left in the debt deal (not to mention military commissions, Guantanamo, eavesdropping, and Afghanistan) – doesn’t this justify a primary challenge? It certainly did for white presidents!

  19. Chad says:

    Because he’s a sitting President and she’s a part of his Administration. It would be taken as a form of disresepect. I think you’re overly optimistic if you believe that after unseating Obama, African Americans would feel compelled to rush to the polls to vote for her. While she’d just may well get 90% of the vote it’d be a very very low turnout. There is already a sentiment in the African American community that Government, and both political parties aren’t concerned with their interests but unseating President Obama would exacerbate that feeling to heretofore unforeseen levels. President Obama losing a Democratic primary to Secretary Clinton would mark the beginning of the end of the marriage between the African American community to the Democratic Party. While women voters would have to choose between President Clinton and a ticket which could well include Bachmann the gains from nominating Clinton would be split along partisan lines. Especially considering that Clinton is somewhat to the right of Obama. If she was a progressive paragon I could see the logic but they are both centrist so I don’t see why this is a “smart” move.

  20. Chad says:

    @Matthew that only makes sense if she’d be offering different policy. She wouldn’t. It’d be a campaign against his personality. It’s not a kid gloves approach to see how that would split the Democratic Party irrevocably. What would be the point if she isn’t offering Progressive policy prescriptions?

  21. Matthew Dickinson says:

    But that’s a big part of the argument – it is about personality, or temperament. The progressive complaint heard loud and clear after the debt debate is that Obama is, at heart, a process-oriented pragmatist who won’t fight for progressive policies. Clinton may have similar policy views, but she’s a pit bull who will fight aggressively to achieve them. Or at least that’s the way to frame her campaign.

  22. Chad says:

    but a campaign must be formed on facts and the first Democratic President to be attacked from the left for being too conciliatory was President Clinton and given that many of Obama appointees are Clinton veterans Secretary Clinton would have to plausibly put forward a vision that runs counter to her whole past. Why would progressives be inclined to buy that line of argument?

  23. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Two reasons. One, her voting record in the Senate, and her time in the White House, place her to the Left of her husband. The ADA rankings, as of late 2008 (and I realize they aren’t ideal) rated her slightly more liberal than even Obama, based on her aggregate Senate voting record. If I get the time, I’ll pull up other, better measures of her ideology. And while in the White House, she consistently pushed more progressive policies, like the health care overhaul. In short, she can make the case that domestically she’s a liberal. The final reason: progressives know what they are going to get with Obama – there’s at least hope Clinton will prove more aggressive in pursuing the progressive agenda. That’s the argument she needs to make.

  24. Well my point of view is this country is a mess. Look at the markets today and lately. In my personal opinion Obama bent over, and has time and again. I don´t think of myself as being too far left but I am terribly disappointed in his performance. Had I wanted a republican I would have voted for one. So, rather than just sit around and re elect him (unless you believe he deserves it) I think we should think of alternatives. Hillary was thw first person who came to my mind. I supported her til she withdrew. I think she can surround herself with smart people and dig in and try, repeat, TRY to get this country back on track. I have no reason to believe she would even want to do this, I just want heer to. And I would hope the African Americans would not take this as a slam to Obama, are we suppossing they are thrilled with his performance. I DO think he is out of his depth!

  25. Chad says:

    I’ll grant you her voting record but in her campaign when she ran as the front runner and could conceivably steer the discourse of the primaries she positioned herself to the right of then Candidate Obama. Those sound clips don’t disappear. Frankly I’d think that her running would merely tear open the divisions in the Democratic Party exposed by the last primary fight again. Only without her having the “I’m the more electable establishment candidate” card again. Which was her main line of attack against Obama. Leaving the “Obama is a bad President” alternative if she isn’t running as the Progressive champion which I strongly doubt progressives would buy. Given Obama’s track record in the face of his opposition it’d be a tough sell to Democrats without moving out of the sphere of policy outcomes which she’d have to do given she’s a part of the administration. Leaving a very ugly primary fight which would alienate Obama supporters of which contrary to popular belief is still the majority among Democrats.

  26. sorry for the typos….I must calm down :-)

  27. Peter Rothschild says:

    From a number of the comments I see, there is an assumption that African Americans would be insulted and leave the Democratic party should Clinton mount a challenge to Obama. I do not agree at all, since the premise is based on a belief that African Americans only care about race and couldn’t less about competence or their economic situation.

    There is no doubt in my mind that racism has increased in the country since Obama’s election, and I am equally positive that a majority of African Americans are offended by that. However one can’t assume that a challenge from Clinton would be seen in racial terms. I doubt it would. What is a surer bet is that the majority of African Americans are not going to turn to the Republican party, which by and large has ignored Black America and is perceived as harboring plenty of racists under its tent.

  28. Chad says:

    @Peter It’s not an implication that African Americans are motivated solely by race but the fact that many in the African American community in my anecdotal experience feels that the modern Democratic Party isn’t much better than the Republican Party. Given that, the fact that Clinton wouldn’t be offering different policy goals than Obama then why would they switch intra-party allegiance to Clinton? the question would be why would she run against him with a similar agenda? I think the conclusion would be blind ambition with little regard for their concern. It’s simply out of step with reality that African Americans don’t feel a sort of personal stake in President Obama succeeding as the President seeing as how he’s the only Black President the United States has ever had. Whoever endeavors to insure that he isn’t successful will not be automatically embraced with open arms by the black community. It’s baffling to me that the author of the piece makes an appeal to identity politics in regards to Hillary being the first woman president and the same appeal should be denied among African Americans.

  29. Chad says:

    Sally, how is saying he’s out of his depth not a slam? Also once again, many of the smart people that Secretary Clinton would surround herself with are the same people that Obama already has. I fail to see how the policy outcomes would be drastically different. Democratic compromise isn’t confined to President Obama polls have shown that Democratic voters prefer compromise to intransigence. Putting another centrist in the White House won’t all of a sudden change the current political climate.

  30. It was a slam, isn´t that allowed? If not then I apologize. But that´s what I believe and I won´t change my mind. Maybe you are right about Hillary, but pick another candidate unless you think Obama is doing a good job and deserves to be re elected. I think you have to earn the right to keep your presidency by your performance. Here´s another slam…I don´t think his performance has been what we who elected him expected. And I know, and I voiced…he inherited it¨¨, but you can´t use that old saw forever. I think he has been to compromising with the Republicans from January of 2009.

  31. Chad says:

    Sally you’re the one who said you hoped it wouldn’t be perceived as a slam. I was merely responding to what you wrote. Also if you feel like he’s been doing a bad job since his first day in office why would I feel like you are looking at his presidency objectively. It is attitudes similar to yours that ignore the stimulus, Health Care Reform, the Lilly Ledbetter Act, The ending of DADT, and other accomplishments that would precisely alienate Obama supporters. I personally do think Obama has done a good job given his policy preferences and the level of opposition he’s faced. Unless Secretary Clinton could offer a counter-factual world where she would have pushed for single-payer or a public option and somehow gotten better numbers on the recession than anyone else did including herself seeing as how she is a part of the Obama Administration when arguing for the stimulus I once again fail to see how she could say she would do anything significantly different than President Obama has. No one is saying that Obama should automatically keep his job what I’m arguing is that a Clinton Presidency wouldn’t have been much different so her running for President under the argument that it would is implausible.

  32. Peter Rothschild says:

    Chad, my experience would suggest that while African Americans may not think the Democratic Party has done much for them, they surely feel more welcome in that party than in the alternative, so your anectodal evidence doesn’t mean much in this context.

  33. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Chad – Jon Bernstein makes a similar argument to yours on his website: that had Clinton been elected in 2008, her presidency would not have been much different than what we got under Obama. However, many progressives seem to be arguing that there’s only one way to find out: elect her in 2012. They already know what they got in Obama, and they are disappointed. Hillary may be no better – but there’s at least the possibility that she will fight harder for progressive values. That seems to me to be their strongest argument.

  34. David Tomlin says:

    Bob Johnson:

    ‘Have there been any successful challenges to the renomination of a first-term President?’

    I don’t think so, if ‘renomination’ is taken literally. Millard Filmore and Chester Arthur were passed over, but both were former VPs who inherited the presidency.

  35. Chad says:

    Peter basically you’re arguing that no matter how disenchanted African Americans become with the Democratic Party they’d never go anywhere else thus rendering their sentiment inconsequential. Which is the exact sentiment that leads to mass party defection or general voter apathy. Democrats would do well to remember that no party allegiance is permanent but rather a sphere of mutual interest.

  36. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Chad – Where would they go – unless you are suggesting they would stay home? The reality is that African-Americans have backed the Democratic presidential candidate at a rate of about 90% in recent elections (I’ll try to get the exact rate). That makes it difficult to take the threat of partisan defection very seriously.

  37. Chad says:

    Matthew that’s a fair sentiment to have. My only argument is that it’s a misguided, short-sighted sentiment that would do more to damage the Democratic Party than help it. It depends upon a short memory, a leap of faith, an American Progressive majority and an assumption that party affiliations are somehow permanent regardless of party action.

  38. Matthew Dickinson says:

    Chad – I think you are right. At some point, if African-Americans perceive that their vote is taken for granted by Democrats, they will begin to defect. The question is when, and in what numbers. To date, they seem solidly committed to the Democratic Party. Peter’s point is that, given the current alternative, there’s not a lot of reason to believe that the threat of defection is real. African-Americans may not come out in huge numbers for Hillary relative to their support for Obama, but those that do will almost certainly vote for her in overwhelming numbers.

  39. Chad says:

    It would be a depressed voter turnout with those that do come out voting for Secretary Clinton but I think it would be the beginning of the end of the permanent marriage between Democrats and the African American community especially in their current neo-liberal form with the Democrats being seen as Republican Lite in the African American community considering that the current political mood simply wouldn’t allow Secretary Clinton to govern as a Progressive that specifically targets any of the common concerns with the African American community even if she was inclined to do so. Either Republicans would take advantage of the rift by downplaying some of the holdover rhetoric from the Southern Strategy or a third party would arise which isn’t without question given the current mood of the country.

  40. FranSC says:

    Interesting that you skim over the 2008 primary caucus issue, blaming HRC for not mounting challenges to 0bama in those states. Apparently you are not aware of the indepth analysis Dr. Lynette Long has done entitled “Caucus Irregularities.” A math teacher who has written 11 math books, Doctor Long says 4 out of the 14 caucuses held had both a primary and caucuses. For one to not be reflective of the other is a mathmatical impossibility. 0bama won every single caucus by very wide margins – between 12 and 40 percentage points – even when he lost the more reliable, state run primary election in the same state. Some were stacked with out-of-state and out-of-county voters (particularly Iowa – buses were seen even by Joe Biden from bordering state ILL (Chicago). It was a disgrace! In TX alone (remember TX had a primary election and also caucuses – “The TX Two Step” where voters could vote in both.) There were 2,000 complaints sent to the DNC just from the caucus chaos and fraud in TX. The DNC turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the complaints because their selected candidate was winning with this dirty game first devised by a Howard Dean geek. Hopefully Dean did not intend for it to be fraudulent, but 0bama’s over-enthusiastic/zealous supporters at MoveOn.org (George Soros’ group)and Soros’ $40M as well as the SEIU (Service Employees’ union – $120M) pulled it off. Their job was to organize the caucuses online and have their people take them over. Their job also was to pack 0bama’s rallies. 0bama’s multi-faceted campaign then was able to use those fraudulent delegate votes (207 of them) that supposedly put him over the top to win this illegitimate nomination – in addition to the DNC’s Rule’s committee meeting on May 30, 2008 in which that group of AA women and white men agreed to *give* 0bama delegates won by Hillary disenfranchising over 500,000 voters in FL alone.

    Having been an activist dem my entire adult life until this 2008 primary debacle I am amazed at the comments of the democrats commenting here. It makes me sick to my stomach to keep hearing about the race issue. Nothing could be more insulting to a left-of-center liberal dem like myself whose interest in politics stems from my concerns about civil rights for minorities and women. It is like dems are stuck on “stupid” as well as drunk from drinking the koolaid. Also, their eyes need to be opened as to what we need in this country to get us out of this dooms-day scenario we are facing. None of the commenters seem to have a clue about stopping the bleeding/spending. They are seemingly just as enthusiastic as ever about electing someone who still believes our economic troubles should not get in the way of entitlement programs until there is no money left. I would love to see Hillary run in 2012, but I hope her centerist stance would lead her NOT to continue the madness of this administration.

  41. Adam says:

    I agree with Chad. I *personally* think that mounting a challenge to the first black POTUS would be incendiary.You people are stating plainly that blacks won’t vote Republican yet it was invidious of me to suggest that they would be put off by an HRC challenge?

    And forgetting race, the favorite player on any football team is the backup QB. Because the current QB takes all the blame while the backup has never made a mistake all season. If HRC were POTUS, don’t you think we’d have the same economic problems and the same gripes about lack of leadership or solutions? Bill Clinton is revered because he was lucky enough to ride a dot-com and housing bubble to reelection. Obama has had the misfortune of being POTUS while bubbles are bursting everywhere.

  42. David Tomlin says:

    I was wrong. Franklin Pierce was nominated, elected, and failed to be re-nominated.

  43. Are we back in the 60´s with Martin Luther King? Blacks are Americans, I think they vote with their minds and not with a view toward öh, the dems are attacking a BLACK MAN. They want the adequate person for the job. Perhaps the Demcrats could look to 2012 with a PLAN in mind on how to handle what you all consider to be a huge challenge.

    Although Obama called for Change and Healthcare, perhaps if he had started on jobs and the economy we might not be in this mess.

    My whole point, is that although I feel Hillary should be the candidate in 2012, we certainly need a new candidate in 2012 or we will lose the White House. Now we have to have a new fist fight over
    the AA+ rating. Great! Great for the economy. If Obama had held harder and fought sooner I think he SHOULD have been able to get a deal with revenues. If he couldn´t we need someone a bit smarter. I know you all think he is a genius…but I think he is a nearly novice politician.

    He got on tv 10 days into the spil only to assure us that he had been on top of it…how abut geting on tv on day three to tell us that?

    Yes Chad, I´m happy abput DADT, it´s time has been past due, I´m unsure how much the stimulus helped us but I am sure I will learn in this forum. I feel the Healthcare is rather puny. Great about Lily Ledbetter….I´ve managed to get equal pay for equal job for 40 some years so I admit I didn´t pay too much attention to that.

    I think BO has basically caved to the Republicans almost everywhere…public option anyone?

    my 2 cents

  44. Mieke says:

    Very interesting post. I’m glad I found your blog. I would love to see Hillary Clinton in a primary against President Obama. What I haven’t seen anyone here respond to is that after the first primary, Hillary Clinton made a full out effort to get Obama elected. She did it out of love for country and the Democratic party. If she were to win the primary, shouldn’t we expect the same from Obama? Shouldn’t Obama be able to pull the black vote in for Hillary? We sure expected Hillary to pull the female vote in for Obama, and she did. As a Democrat I would vote for cajones over color or gender and I think Hillary has a bigger pair.

  45. Donna says:

    Mieke, I agree with you, President Obama needs to do what is best for our Country.
    There is absolutely no question who the most popular person in President Obama’s administration is. Our SOS Hillary Clinton’s numbers are soaring, and President Obama’s are
    on a downward spiral. We long for the days of a debt-free America, jobs, and American financial statements in the black. We need a President that will take the Bull (Congress) by
    the horns, and do what is right for our country. Enough, it’s time for President Obama and Hillary to have a heart-to-heart talk on what is best for the country. Run Hillary Run!!

  46. DickeyFuller says:

    ~

    It would not be a bruising fight IF the President announced that he would NOT seek a second term.

    Obama stated early on that he wanted to get big things done and that he would rather be a one-term President to do those big things.

    Well, he is not up to the task. And, at this point, he is officially a lame duck.

    I don’t think that he enjoys the job and he should step aside. I did not vote for him or for McCain, believing that neither was the right person for the job.

    ~

  47. ed bardell says:

    Obama may be a weak president, but he is a man on our side,
    so rather than take him to task for failing to be stronger,
    let us instead take to task those who are standing in his
    way, and in the way of Congressional Democrats.

    Let us focus our attention at defeating Republicans at the
    ballot box. Lets back-stop our weak president, not attack
    him.

  48. Oh Dear God……¨let´s back stop our weak president¨are you kidding…oh, probably you are!
    My Naive dream about the 14th amendment was Obama would invoke it…everyone would get in a tizzy, he would RESIGN and Biden could finish out the term and Hillary could resign and start her run.
    That´s no worse then what Ed just said!

    I am so enamored of the idea of Hillary running (or ANYONE running instead of Obama..let him be a one term president..that I sent Matt´s blogs to the Clinton Foundation Press Office. I am sure I am not the only person who will have sent missives to him. I started more than a year ago.

    Matt, I think you are a closet Democrat!

  49. NoOneYouKnow says:

    Hillary’s a corporatist. Obama’s a corporatist. Neither of them hesitate to sell out progressives when it really matters. The national Dem party on most of the issues is indistinguishable from the Republicans. We now have a single Corporate Party waging class war on most Americans, and for people on the left who aren’t deluded that the Dem party works for them, the only answers are a third party, emigration, or getting into the streets.
    Of course, if you still believe the Democratic Party actually represents its voters, rearranging the succession makes perfect sense.

  50. Beth C. Taylor says:

    So far I have only read one comment that has taken issue with the statement that Hillary Clinton is not infavor of progressive policies. During the nominating process in 2006 I attended her rallies, listened to her speeches and paid attention to the concrete policies she proposed. Included in her articulated policies were things like getting rid of NAFTA, which she opposed when her husband was president, promoting green jobs through government action. In short her programs reflected the New Deal programs of the Roosevelt administration. She talked about jobs to improve the country’s crumbling infrastructure. Does this sound like the CCD perhaps?

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