It is unfathomable why Democrats feel as though they have no choice. Surely, there are fans of Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others who would recognize that the Democratic Party badly needs not merely a sparring partner in the primaries but an alternative to Clinton who is not perceived as personally corrupt or secretive and is not burdened by an increasingly problematic Obama foreign policy record. Surely, even a candidate who will have to work harder to raise money and create name identification but who is capable and not burdened by scandal would be preferable to a 67-year old woman of immense wealth, low ethical standards and nonexistent candor. Or perhaps the Democratic Party is so devoid of talent that it simply has no choice but to take Clinton with all her obvious and serious defects.
That’s a question that the Democrats chose to answer in 2008, when it picked tyro rookie senator Barack Obama over tyro (almost) rookie senator and former first lady Hillary Clinton in 2008. Might have had a lot more options open today if Obama had been Hillary’s veep for eight years. And if Hillary didn’t have that new president smell in 2007, her brand’s freshness date has long since expired, no matter what sort of new packaging her marketing department mocks up in Photoshop.
Meanwhile, to keep the Apollo 13 metaphors going — to paraphrase Kevin D. Williamson at NRO, with Hillary, failure is always an option:
Here’s my theory: She was preparing for failure.
Mrs. Clinton knows—she must know, at some level—that she has been grossly unprepared for every position she has held in public life other than that of first lady. She was a New York senator who knew the parts of the state more than 40 miles from a park-view room at the Plaza about as well as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. knows Muleshoe, Texas. She was a presidential candidate whose only recommendations were ovaries and a surname beloved—but not quite enough—by Democratic primary voters. And then she became a secretary of state appointed to the position mainly to appease the bruised feelings of Clintonites and to keep her from making mischief in case of a first-term Obama administration meltdown.
But she was a grossly incompetent secretary of state who knew that she was going to run for president again, and thus took positive steps in advance to put in place protocols that would help her to mask her inadequacy. It is difficult even for her admirers to make a credible argument that her time in that office was anything other than disastrous. She knows this.
The news media and the Democrats know this, too. Mrs. Clinton’s career in public office has been nothing more than a tribute to her husband, a fact that you would think would rankle the feminists who are so enthused about the former first lady’s presidential ambitions. Maybe it’s time to take off the presidential kneepads and admit what everybody knows: She isn’t very good at this sort of thing, and promoting her to her next level of incompetence is an invitation to disaster.
Though to be fair, Mr. Obama has set that bar so low that Hillary’s administration would be seen as an improvement by both parties.