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.
Intriguing assessment and she’s got more, all the result of Robert Reich suggesting Biden and Hillary should trade places.
I, of course, would much rather see a Republican in the office but they’re floundering like a freshly netted fish and should they continue to flop around I could see Hillary drawing a wider appeal.
All of it interesting. All of it to unveil itself in the coming days and weeks.
Hang on to your hats.