Lizza takes a close look at the Dems’ presidential field. Why it might not be a cake-walk for Clinton:
The 2016 Presidential primaries will be the first fought by Democrats since the Supreme Court opened the door for individuals to spend unlimited sums of money on an election. In 2012, those new rules almost cost Romney the Republican nomination, when nuisance candidates like Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who in previous years would have never survived their early losses, were propped up by rich allies. Before 2012, it would have been difficult to find interest groups that might help fund someone like O’Malley, Webb, or Sanders. Now all it takes is a billionaire who cares about gun control, climate change, war, or inequality.
“What if you decided to have a really strong antiwar person run?” one Democratic strategist told me. “Don’t you think four or five crazy rich people from the Democracy Alliance”—a network of wealthy Democratic donors—“would be funding that?”
I would imagine that the Clintons have thoroughly weeded the donor class of such wild cards by now – and the obloquy and ostracism that would greet any non-Clinton moneybags would be formidable. But I do think that the mid-terms have hurt Clinton somewhat. Why? Because they were run on classic Clinton lines: don’t really stand for anything controversial, deploy demographic-style campaigning without giving those demographics any positive thing to support, assume a get-out-the-base over a new-agenda strategy will be enough, and, er, hope for the best. The election was a classic Democratic defensive crouch – at which the Clintons are experts. And it didn’t work. It turns out you need real issues and sometimes divisive causes to win an election – and yet those are exactly the kind of themes the Clintons have always been uncomfortable with.
Matt Latimer takes another view:
No longer will she have to worry so much about gaining distance from President Obama—though that’s certainly on her agenda. No longer will she have to defend or explain her position on issues pushed by a Democratic Senate.
No longer will she have to subtly run against her husband and his scandals. Instead, she can run squarely against the circus that will preoccupy Congress and the media with every passing day. The calm voice of wearied experience. The wizened wife and mother—now grandmother—who can keep those rambunctious boys in line.
She’s probably just about the only person in Washington today who’s even happier than Mitch McConnell.
But that kinda makes my point. If all Clinton really offers is opposition to the GOP (and support for their wars) I fail to see how she’ll bring many voters to the polls. Waldman thinks the Republican Congress puts Clinton in a tricky position:
Clinton can argue that a Republican president and a Republican Congress would be a terrifying combination, and some of us might believe she’s right. But if the only alternative is four more years of bitterness and gridlock, lots of voters could chose to give the GOP the chance to do its worst. If Clinton doesn’t already have a persuasive description of how she will govern if faced with a legislature controlled by Tea Partiers and Republicans afraid of Tea Partiers, who will fight her on every single thing she wants to do, Clinton sure ought to come up with one soon.
But that would mean taking a political risk. And that is something Clinton has taught herself never to do.
(Photo: Democrats buy Clinton buttons and t-shirts following the Arkansas Democrats’ campaign rally featuring former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., in Texarkana, Ark. on Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014. By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)