Is Hillary Already Running?

Maggie Haberman reports on Clinton’s 2016 “shadow campaign”:

Publicly, Clinton insists she’s many months away from a decision about her political future. But a shadow campaign on her behalf has nevertheless been steadily building for the better part of a year — a quiet, intensifying, improvisational effort to lay the groundwork for another White House bid. … Several sources said in interviews that her team is discussing how she will weigh in on policy debates over the course of the next year. She is working closely with clusters of aides on different policy initiatives — one involves child development, and Clinton is also being advised to address income inequality. Her memoir about her time at the State Department, initially expected for June, is likely to be out later in the summer, putting a book tour closer to the time when she would campaign for candidates in the midterms. That’s also closer to when she’s likely to announce her plans, after the November election.

Morrissey yawns:

The first signs of primary campaigns will begin to pop up in about 12 months, if the pattern from the last two cycles holds. People who want to run for the presidency are expected to start doing some preliminary due diligence at this stage in the cycle, regardless. The best that Politico has on Hillary Clinton is that she took one consultant meeting a few months ago?

… Maggie Haberman does a good job of running down some of the insiders and outsiders that would form the campaign, if it launches, but there’s nothing in the piece that suggests that anything has changed at all since that one outside consultation last summer. It will make a useful touchstone for later when Hillary finally decides to enter the race or retire for good, but it gives no insight into where that decision is, nor any surprises on preparation for the campaign as a contingency.

Philip Bump isn’t surprised at the strategists clamoring to campaign for Hillary, given the money involved:

As The New Yorker‘s Ryan Lizza put it, Clinton’s not having yet announced her own campaign left “every Dem consultant hustling for a buck.” That’s meant at least one conflict as those hustlers compete for space. In early 2013, Haberman reports, Clinton aide Huma Abedin (wife of Anthony Weiner) was asked to resolve a dispute between Ready For Hillary and Priorities USA. The former was soliciting money from donors the latter considered its domain. Clinton’s team resolved the dispute by creating a very campaign-like divide: Ready For Hillary would become the field staff, in essence, doing voter contact and data. Priorities USA would continue vacuuming up money from big donors. That split makes obvious why Clinton hasn’t had to announce any actual plans to run. Her decision to postpone any official announcement until later this year — Haberman figures it will come after midterms in November — makes perfect sense. Why go through the legal headache of formulating an official campaign infrastructure when there exist staffers and organizations that can raise money and reach out to voters and serve as an echo chamber without doing so? It gives the Clinton team semi-plausible deniability, distance from seeming as though it’s stepping on Obama’s second term.