Hillary’s Qualifications

Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen argue that President Obama should awaken to His unsuitability for further leadership, decline to run for re-election, and the Secretary of State should step in:

He should step aside for the one candidate who would become, by acclamation, the nominee of the Democratic Party: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Never before has there been such an obvious potential successor–one who has been a loyal and effective member of the president’s administration, who has the stature to take on the office, and who is the only leader capable of uniting the country around a bipartisan economic and foreign policy.
Even though Mrs. Clinton has expressed no interest in running, and we have no information to suggest that she is running any sort of stealth campaign, it is clear that she commands majority support throughout the country. A CNN/ORC poll released in late September had Mrs. Clinton’s approval rating at an all-time high of 69%–even better than when she was the nation’s first lady. Meanwhile, a Time Magazine poll shows that Mrs. Clinton is favored over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by 17 points (55%-38%), and Texas Gov. Rick Perry by 26 points (58%-32%).

But this is about more than electoral politics. Not only is Mrs. Clinton better positioned to win in 2012 than Mr. Obama, but she is better positioned to govern if she does. Given her strong public support, she has the ability to step above partisan politics, reach out to Republicans, change the dialogue, and break the gridlock in Washington.
Having unique experience in government as first lady, senator and now as Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton is more qualified than any presidential candidate in recent memory, including her husband. Her election would arguably be as historic an event as the election of President Obama in 2008.

I’m gonna tear this one up. Not because I dislike Hillary Clinton and think she’s vastly overrated. Although I do and I do. But because to the best I can see, the excerpt above exhaustively captures everything the column has to say about why Clinton would make a good candidate/president.

I’m seeing something about loyalty and experience. I’m seeing an almost delusional bandying-about of that word “would,” as in “would become”; classic left-wing insanity. It makes me feel good to think such-and-such a thing is going to happen, therefore, I have fooled myself into thinking it is likely to happen. Gonna put all my chips on red, and your chips too.

Hillary’s loyal, because she hasn’t back-stabbed her boss, and since her decision right now is not to run, that suggests strongly that she’d have nothing to gain by doing so. Another classic left-wing mistake. This person didn’t go on the attack during this window of time, therefore this person can be trusted. Sometimes the tiger doesn’t eat you because he isn’t hungry.

And the experience. When she was running for Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s seat, it was great fun asking Hillary fans what she’s actually managed to accomplish. Uh der, der, she tried, uh, it’s for the children, homina homina homina. The situation’s unchanged, now, a decade later. Is Hillary just a wonderful Secretary of State, one of our best ever? How so, exactly?

I’m not criticizing to dissuade the proposed solution. Frankly, I think the whole question is a waste of attention cycles. If it became completely obvious to everyone, everywhere, that Obama needed to step down, that would be an everyone-but-Obama epiphany because Obama Himself never would agree to it. And as they approached Him to bow out for His re-election bid, I think the last word on it would have to be His, and He’d never agree to it. As far as whether that’s good or bad for the democrats’ prospects in terms of hanging on to the White House, I don’t think it matters very much.

Their policies have been given a fair shake, and they reek.

But none of this has to do with what I really want to scrutinize here, which is everything else within her qualifications stated here. I’ve saved the best for last. I want to go on the attack against this: The “how someone else will react” aspect of it. This practice of pundits speaking out, with great fanfare and bumptious glory, on behalf of other people they don’t know, will never meet, and certainly do not have the same priorities that the pundits have. This creepy vicarious-confidence thing.

“Has the stature.” “Ability to step above partisan politics.” “Capable of uniting.” “Commands majority support.” Polls say, better positioned, blah, blah, blah, oh would you please for crying out loud stuff a sock in it. I’m completely fed up with seeing this happen with Mitt Romney, I’m not the least bit enthused about watching it happen with someone else. The willful denial of the plain fact that mediocre is mediocre, the hallucination that mediocrity is some sophisticated form of excellence.

For years and years, now, I’ve been confronted by people broadcasting to everyone within earshot and line-of-sight what they’re all about, by announcing their frenzied, jubilant support of Hillary Clinton. The problem isn’t that I disagree. The problem is that they’re trying to tell me what their values and priorities are by doing this, and they’re failing, because there isn’t much being communicated. If there is a Hillary Doctrine, then what is it exactly? What would Hillary do differently about her health care plan? She’d almost certainly have one, and it certainly wouldn’t be “bipartisan” in any way, shape or form. How about stimulus spending? What would Hillary do there that any other democrat wouldn’t do? Drill-baby-drill? Iran? North Korea? Crony capitalism? I’m sure she can make statements about all these things, but can she make any that are uniquely hers? Stray off the beaten path in any way?

I referred to Romney above. This predilection for pretending there’s something superior, extraordinary and unique about candidates who bring nothing of the kind — arguably, because they bring nothing of the kind — is not a trait exclusive to democrats. But it certainly is something we still see, this late in the game, in great abundance. If we had need for it, it would lose value because of this abundance. But we never had any need for it in the first place.

Excellent is excellent. Mediocre is mediocre. When you’re reduced to arguing that something is the very best just because you’ve got some polls, and a gut feel, that it would be popular even though there isn’t anything really different about it…well, what you’re doing there, is proposing a sandy foundation for your mighty fortress. You’re arguing for a fad. That’ll work great — today. Tomorrow’s a new day, and that’s the problem; that’s pretty much what we did last time, isn’t it?

Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.


Cross-posted at House of Eratosthenes.

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