The PJ Tatler

Liberals Regret Supporting Obama, Pine for Hillary

This article would be funny, but for the fact that the liberals’ regret is three years too late. And there’s no sign that they have learned the fundamental lessons of Obama’s failures.

The son of a longtime Democratic congressman from Texas, a 73-year-old lawyer, is so enraged with Obama that he’s threatening not to vote for the 2012 Democratic ticket—the first time in his entire life that he’s contemplated such apostasy.

Among many of the 18 million Americans who supported Hillary Clinton in 2008, the reaction is simple and bitter: “We told you so.”

In his New York Times Sunday Review essay “What Happened to Obama?” Emory University psychology professor Drew Westen summed up the president’s lack of experience with devastating succinctness.

“Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he occasionally, as a state senator in Illinois, voted ‘present’ on difficult issues,” wrote Westen, author of The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation.

The presidential scholar Matthew Dickinson went even further with a post under the headline “Run, Hillary, Run!” on the blog Presidential Power. “She did warn you,” Dickinson reminded his readers.

“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?” wrote Dickinson, a political-science professor at Middlebury College. “If I heard it once this last 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.’”

While liberals vent, Obama has done nearly everything they wanted him to do. Despite his high profile capitulations, he has busily worked the regulatory state to push for permanent Big Labor and hard left policy changes. His failures are liberalism’s failures, but in their haste to distance themselves from a failed president they supported, they’re failing to recognize that their own policies are the problem.

And with all due respect, where is the evidence that Hillary Clinton would have been a better president than Obama? Her reputation for toughness is overblown. She is famously prickly and thin-skinned. Every inch the Alinskyite that Obama is, Hillary is also famously Clintonian when it comes to dealing with facts and truth. She coined the “vast right-wing conspiracy” trope to explain away her husband’s affair with Monica Lewinsky in the Oval Office. Prior to becoming a senator, Clinton’s most notable policy initiative was HillaryCare, a spectacular failure that probably would have done sufficient damage to the economy to prevent the 90’s economic boom. Her own secretive leadership of that initiative contributed to its failure. Her vaunted foreign policy experience led the United States to get involved in the debacle in Libya, which has sapped NATO’s prestige during the months, not days, of that operation.

Liberals, having not learned the lessons of Obama at all, are pining for yet another messiah. Republicans often complain about the depth of our bench, but the fact that Hillary Clinton seems to be the only savior the Democrats can turn to says volumes about the bench on their side: It doesn’t exist.