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Friday, May 28, 2010

Hillary Clinton for President, 2016

Chris Bowers, on OpenLeft earlier today:
[S]ince she became Secretary of State, her favorables have soared into the mid-60's, putting her well clear of any other statewide officeholder in the country. Hillary Clinton will turn 69 in the final week of the 2016 campaign, which makes her slightly younger than Ronald Reagan when he first was elected in 1980. Also, as Secretary of State, a major presidential candidate, a U.S. Senator, and First Lady, she is also probably more credentialed than any other potential Presidential candidate, too….Because Barack Obama made her Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton remains remarkably well-positioned to run for President in 2016, even more so than she was in 2008.

For shits and giggles, here's what I wrote November 15, 2008, when I first heard the rumor that Obama was pitching State to Clinton.


RadicalCoolDude said...

Carrico: In a reasonably successful and hence spectacularly popular 8 year Obama Administration, SOS is a higher profile and more Presidential position than Clinton is likely to wangle otherwise as Junior Senator from NY, a position from which to launch her own bid for 2016 as at once a continuation of a successful and popular Administration with which she is strongly associated while at once recapturing the energy of an historic Presidential election (no doubt calling to mind the joy of our moment).

Reasonably successful and hence spectacularly popular? Riiight...

Dale Carrico said...

Your sarcasm provides little sense of the criteria on the basis of which you yourself would define "success" in terms of actual legislative possibilities, nor any sense of the relation of your own notion of "popularity" to actual election results or Party ID numbers. As usual.

My own politics hover somewhere between what most informed people would describe as social democracy and democratic socialism, and hence I am well to Obama's left, and so I'm sure you will believe me when I agree with you about how easy it is to sigh histrionically about all the manifold failures of actual governance to pass muster measured against my ideals.

If you just want to vent about your frustration at the lack of single payer, the failure to enshrine the principle that too big to fail is too big to exist, the ongoing refusal to care about unemployment that hurts almost everyone more than about deficits that hurt mostly a few rich assholes, the ongoing insanity in Afghanistan, the heartbreaking amplification of Bush epoch secret detentions and terror tactics, the flogging of clean coal bullshit and nuclear madness and offshore drilling crap, the genuflections to right wing "social security crisis" and "charter school" BS, the absurd slowness of the repeal of DADT, the retreating horizon for ENDA, the vanishing hope for repeal of DOMA, the breadcrumbs offered to organized labor, and on and on and on, well, go ahead, vent. You're not saying anything I don't know already, don't vent about myself.

And yet I stand cheerfully behind every word quoted in the passage to which you have appended your content-free eye-roll. If you can't walk and chew gum at the same time, if you can't hold on to animating ideals while at once assessing pragmatic possibilities realistically, if you can't grasp the force of painfully inadequate piecemeal reform in history, if you can't see just how dangerous the Republican Right is in this historical moment and how every diversion of energy from actually-possible Democratic victories to Republican victories is a catastrophe, well, I can only say that you are simply of no use to me at all, you're just an enervating demoralizing bore, however bright or well-meaning you undoubtedly are in the abstract.

Given your rather all-embracing sarcastic repudiation of the passage quoted above, inquiring minds want to know: Is it your view that a McCain Presidency would have been more successful by your lights? Is it your view that a candidate whose politics were more like Bernie Sanders', say, could have won the Presidency or accomplished more successes as you adjudge them in the actually-existing setting and constraints of the current environment? Do you think that Obama's failure to meet your own standards of success will also translate to losses of Congressional majorities for Democrats in the mid-terms or to a one-term presidency for Obama? Do you disagree that even people to the left of the Democratic Party or Obama's politics can assess politics in a way that is sensitive to the differences between pragmatic possibilities in the service of reform and regulative ideals? Do you actually disagree with the argument in the post to which you are presumably "responding" that Clinton has positioned herself for a solid 2016 Presidential run via SOS? Do you actually disagree that what are widely deemed legislative accomplishments -- even if they fail to pass muster by your more exacting standards -- would likely benefit a Clinton presidential run in 2016? Do you even think questions like these are worth answering, that they connect in any way with something you think of as "politics"?

RadicalCoolDude said...

My own politics and my critique of the Obama administration is nearly identical to that of Chris Hedges who, as you probably know, has little patience for liberals bending over backwards to defend the undefendable.

But my sarcasm was more directed to your fancily notion that the Obama administration would be "spectacularly popular" in light of the fact the right is galvanized while the left is disillusioned.

The sad thing is that sober left-wingers who weren't lost in the "joy of moment" predicted that this is exactly what would happen when Obama actually started governing. So the question is: Why didn't you?

Dale Carrico said...

the right is galvanized while the left is disillusioned

I've never bought this right-wing friendly frame. It failed its first empirical test on primary day.

One of many concrete questions I asked to shift you from sanctimonious sniping from the mountaintop was whether you thought Obama's failures would translate to losses of majorities for Dems or to a one-term Obama presidency. As usual, you fail to answer, hiding behind Hedges (last time it was Klein) rather own up to concrete positions. I've read and own all Hedge's books and I teach Klein every term, but your eagerness to play dummy ventriloquizing their positions tells me nothing about what you really believe about anything.

You're a disgruntled lefty who thinks Obama's policies too corporatist and too militarist to pass muster as genuinely democratizing. I agree with that sentiment myself. That's not where our disagreements are happening. Retreating to that, hiding behind accomplished writers without saying what you think, flinging sarcastic stink bombs at others' efforts without justifying them isn't illuminating or helpful. You may think you're an engaged intellectual, but that demands actual engagement. Argue for positions you defend, be prepared for the objections of those who agree about policy limitations but want to know what practical alternatives are more realizable.

I don't deny well-documented reports of an enthusiasm gap between the Dem and Repug bases. I disagree that it will translate into another Gingrich wave or repudiation of Obama. Pundits like that storyline because it's easy, they take right-wing talking points seriously, and they tend to be rich pampered dullards. The "galvanization of the right" you trumpet is also the bald exposure of the racism that has driven Repug politics for generations. I entirely disagree with your insinuation that Obama's failure to live up to your (or my) higher standards for unambiguous legislative success has anything at all to do with the energy behind this Republican base. I also disagree that it is necessarily bad for Dems, given demographic realities in the US and attitudes among younger people about the go-to racism and panty-sniffing that drives Republican base politics.

I did predict that Obama would have to compromise given Congressional numbers and Conservadems caucusing with the Dems. I hated the appointments of Summers, Salazar, and Gates and expected mischief. Who on earth with any sense didn't "predict" such stuff? I think Obama had a slight shot at getting the Public Option through had he pushed at just the right time, but that was always a sometime thing. His optics on the BP spill are terrible. But compared to what is practically possible, given limited resources and events nobody controls, there are plenty of things the Admin is doing that I disapprove but understand enough not to indulge BS equivalency theses.

I try to remember the institutional realities that articulate the play of policy choices, compare disappointments not only against my ideals but against other probable outcomes, remain aware successes and failures take place within the larger context of enabling or disabling movement Republicanism as a defining force of American politics.

I don't agree that your impractical perfectionism, your demoralizing whining, your vapid generalities constitute "sober left-wing" analysis, and I don't agree that the joy I felt the day Obama was elected made me "lost" or "uncritical." Obama's election was a milestone, and if you felt no joy in it I'm glad not to be you. Actual democratization is heartbreaking, compromised, piecemeal, reformist struggle against endlessly high odds, institutional inertia, disseminated ignorance and fueled by the measure of joy we take in such accomplishments.

RadicalCoolDude said...

And, as usual, you've created an elaborate and (insulting) strawman that has nothing to do with the problem in your initial statement I was focusing on, which is that it was simply naive of you to argue that the Obama administration would be "spectacularly popular". Period.

I know you always find a way to make it seem like you are always right regardless of what you actually said but why not simply admit that you were overly optimistic?

Putting aside the fact I have never presented myself as an "engaged intellectual" nor do I think of myself as one, I obviously am not going to engage you on all the tangential points you raised since I share your position on all on them.

For the record, are you looking to only get responses from intellectuals in the Moot or can an everyday normal guy voice an opinion here, however underdeveloped it may be?

By the way, the only reason why I mention Hedges or Klein is because when I have in fact expressed my own opinion which you disagree with I often get dismissed as an "impractical perfectionist" or worse. However, when I present you with writings of Klein or Hedges which echo the same opinion, you suddenly take it more seriously even if you disagree with but you don't dismiss them as "impractical perfectionists" or worse. It just makes me snicker every time... :)

Dale Carrico said...

Despite all the negative judgments I asserting in the foregoing, I still regard Obama as the most progressive President since FDR.

Inherent in this assessment, you might consider, may be an indictment of most other Presidencies as much as praise for this one.

And, again, though Obama's accomplishments over this year and a half fail to pass muster as unambiguously democratizing measured against my ideals, and despite the fact that there is plenty I loudly disapprove for reasons I provide in disapproving them, I am still enormously encouraged by the scope of Obama's achievements in the aftermath of the Reagan-to-W epoch and in the face of this insane media-institutional environment... and also very excited what these achievements seem to me to enable for ongoing reform (for those with the stomach for real reformist social struggle rather than narcissistic performance art mistaken for politics).

I think your own pre-emptive and weirdly triumphalist declaration of failure is frankly idiotic, and also feeds practical losses and the frustration of the outcomes to which no doubt you fancy yourself actually committed. I sense that it feels marvelous to you, though, so by all means carry on.

I think the chances remain quite good that the Obama Administration will be regarded retrospectively as an historical presidency and a progressive milestone. Can we agree to disagree on that, or must I hear more joyless ritual variations on how this assessment makes me a naive tool and how your contrary prediction makes you the awesomest radical evah?

I must say, I am also beginning to think you are simply incapable of responding concretely to questions and criticisms.

Yes, I do indeed think I am right in my views, which is why I actually offer them up in public places and then try to explain myself when I feel that I may have been misunderstood. Sorry to hear that you find it insulting to be expected to make sense or defend your positions.

I am glad to hear you think of yourself as an everyday normal guy, and believe me when I say that I hope that works out for you, especially the part that seems to imply everyday normal guys don't have to explain what they actually mean in any kind of substantial way. Presumably I am supposed to keep "normal guys" like you coming to my blog by telling you how bright and good-hearted you are even when I disagree with what you say or disapprove of your insinuations, otherwise I'm being an elite intellectual or something. You'll forgive me if I leave that thankless task to your Mommy or whatever romantic partner is auditioning for the rewarding role of being your Mommy-surrogate of the moment. (Oh dear, I've insulted you again, haven't I?)

As it happens, I have read enough Klein and Hedges to have a context against which to judge assertions that otherwise might seem dismissable as impractical perfectionism -- but you on the other hand can never be coaxed into anything like comparable substance.

Needless to say, I'm glad to hear that if nothing else I can provide you occasions for mirth, even when their enabling condition seems to be your inability to grasp what is being said. Do feel free not to read or comment on what I write whenever you like.