Tuesday Reads: Hillary in 2016?Posted: September 24, 2013
For the past few weeks, I’ve been suffering from a bad case of what JJ calls “PAD” or “Political Affective Disorder.” I’ve been finding myself escaping into a haze of detective stories, Criminal Minds reruns, and video games. I’ve still kept up with the news–barely–but I haven’t felt much like writing about it. I feel discouraged about the fate of our nation and I’m paralyzed about my own personal future too.
Beginning in 1993, I focused most of my attention of getting the education I missed out on as a young woman after I left college after only two years. From 1993 to 2010, I lived the life of a full-time student–and I loved it! After I finally achieved my goal–a doctorate in psychology–I had no idea what to do next. I was near retirement age, and faced the reality that the best “job” I might be able to get in the current economic climate was as an adjunct professor with low pay and no benefits.
I had learned after 12 years of teaching that the kinds of teaching jobs I might be able to get wouldn’t allow me to experience the aspects of teaching that I truly enjoyed–working directly with students and leading class discussions–wouldn’t be available to me. Instead I’d be lecturing to classes of 150-200 students with little opportunity for class discussion or personal interaction. In addition, I had serious problems with grade inflation and the “customers are always right” attitude of the universities I had taught at.
I had fantasies of focusing on writing and research, and I thought that might be a realistic goal, but then my mentor died suddenly and shockingly, and I no longer had anyone in academia to turn to for advice or to help me negotiate the publishing process. I was already so exhausted by the effort to complete my dissertation and my father’s death in March of 2010, that I really felt the need to just do nothing for awhile.
I threw myself into blogging, because it gave me opportunities to write and express myself on a daily basis. I’ve always loved following politics and it has been great to connect with so many other people who have the same interests and obsessions. But lately the world of politics seems as paralyzed as I am in my own life. The Republican Party has managed to largely control the agenda despite the fact that they only control the House.
Right now, I have the ability to live on a very low income and still have a decent lifestyle. But the day is eventually going to come when I won’t have a free place to live. I’m also finding myself less satisfied with just recovering from the effort to finish my Ph.D. and the major losses of my father and my academic father figure–my mentor. What will my future look like? I seems wrong not to use the skills and knowledge I’ve gained over the years to give back in some way, no matter how small.
Well, I can’t solve all those problems today. But I can keep on keepin’ on and imagine ways things might change. You might call it, “The Audacity of Hope.” And that’s where Hillary comes in. More and more I see her as a model for survival, for achievement late in life, for looking at problems in new and productive ways. Could she really become the first woman president at approximately the same age I am? Could she be a better, more innovative leader than Barrack Obama has been? I want to take that leap of faith and believe in her ability to win the nomination and general election and succeed as president. I also want to believe that she and we can survive the Clinton hate that we’ll all have to go through to make it happen.
Suddenly Hillary is all over the news! Yesterday Dakinikat posted a link to the first major interview (at New York Magazine) Hillary has done since leaving the State Department. Yesterday I was feeling so apathetic that I didn’t even manage to read the whole thing. But I’ve promised myself I’m going to do that today. In the meantime, here are some crib sheets and reactions to the New York article:
From NBC News’ First Thoughts:
*** Clinton news — everywhere! If you wanted an idea of what the media landscape would look like the moment we get a clear indication if Hillary Clinton is running for president, we got a taste of it over the past 48 hours. Hillary Clinton gave her first private-citizen interview to a news organization; Bill Clinton is making news ahead of his Clinton Global Initiative meeting; and the New Republic runs a tough piece on Bill Clinton aide Doug Band. It’s a reminder of what comes with the Clintons — excitement, news and attention, and baggage. Now on to these individual stories…
*** “She’s running,” Hillary confidante tells New York magazine: In her first interview with a news organization since leaving her secretary of state post, Hillary Clinton certainly didn’t seem like someone who was shutting the door to a 2016 presidential bid. In fact, it was the opposite. When New York magazineasked if she wrestles with running, Clinton responded, “‘I do,’ she says, ‘but I’m both pragmatic and realistic. I think I have a pretty good idea of the political and governmental challenges that are facing our leaders, and I’ll do whatever I can from whatever position I find myself in to advocate for the values and the policies I think are right for the country. I will just continue to weigh what the factors are that would influence me making a decision one way or the other.’” It’s a significant step that she’s decided to acknowledge publicly that she’s thinking about it. We may all think we know this and treat it as a given inside the Acela Corridor, but it’s still significant to read her SAYING it. But the article adds, “Some of her close confidants, including many people with whom her own staff put me in touch, are far less circumspect than she is. ‘She’s running, but she doesn’t know it yet,’ one such person put it to me. ‘It’s just like a force of history. It’s inexorable, it’s gravitational. I think she actually believes she has more say in it than she actually does.’” Other than sending signals that she’s running, the other unmistakable take away from the Hillary interview: She won’t be surrounding herself with a lot of the Bill alum, a la 2008. More Team Hillary, less Team Bill in 2016. Translation to nervous donors/supporters about a repeat of 2008: Mark Penn and other Bill veterans aren’t running this thing.
From The Daily Beast: Seven Juiciest Bits from Hillary Clinton’s New York Profile. Go read the whole thing, but I’ll excerpt the part I found most intriguing:
7. The future of Clintonworld now lies with Chelsea.
Of course, there’s a third person in the Clinton family: Chelsea, whose name has been added to the name of the foundation, making it the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Chelsea had tried out a number of careers before turning to the family business, first as a consultant at McKinsey & Co., then a hedge fund and a stint NBC. But not everyone at the foundation was happy about Chelsea’s sudden appearance and her decision to bring in an old McKinsey associate as CEO—and Bill eventually stepped out and defended his comrades, a move that hinted there might have been conflict between the three Clintons. “This is an operation that runs on its proximity to people,” one staffer said. “Now it’s three people. How does that work?”
But Hillary says Chelsea’s entrance is simply in her daughter’s DNA (a move that seemed especially true after Chelsea’s Daily Show appearance on Thursday night). Hillary said Chelsea, the family’s now-gatekeeper, “comes by it” at the foundation “naturally.” Ever the proud parents, Hillary said Chelsea is “an incredibly able—obviously I’m biased—but extremely well-organized, results-oriented person, so rather than joining a lot of other groups, on which she could pursue her interests, she thought, I want to be part of continuing to build something I have worked on off and on over the years, and I really believe in it. I was thrilled to hear that.”
A negative note from The Atlantic: Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign Is Already Haunted
Clinton-watchers have an abundance of bedtime reading options this Sunday with not one, but two long profiles aimed at a possible 2016 run for Hillary Clinton. In New York magazine, Clinton herself breaks a mini “press hiatus” to spend some time with Joe Hagan, who then digs into the extensive support system for the family dynasty. But it’s The New Republic’s profile of Doug Band, longtime advisor to Bill Clinton, that hints at one of the challenges Hillary will face in a 2016 campaign: the ghosts waiting in the wings from the Clintons’ long public life.
Band, writer Alec MacGillis explains, is “rarely written about, almost never quoted, and many Clinton associates are loath to discuss him on the record.” But lately, he’s emerged from under the Clinton umbrella to strike out on his own, leaving him more vulnerable to scrutiny. In the past few months, his name has popped up as something of an antagonist in stories of troubles at the family foundation. Even though Band declined to speak to MacGillis for his expansive profile, the piece connects some dots that could be unwelcome for Team Clinton: “the unease with Band reflects an unease with the phenomenon of post-presidential Clintonism itself,” he writes. That Clintonism angst, TNR’s piece posits, could extend to Hillary, albeit with few to no direct ties. Band’s role in the Clinton administration was as the body man, a presidential version of a personal assistant.
Taylor Marsh points out that Hillary is not Bill just because she’s married to him: Bill Clinton, Hillary, and a Bone Picking Exposé on Doug Band.
The fact is Hillary Clinton doesn’t have a trail to give us an idea what she’d do, let alone if she thinks similarly to her husband on economics. What we know about Hillary in matters commander in chief is that unlike where Bill started, she’s respected at the Pentagon, which is one reason a contingent of progressives will oppose her candidacy. People tried to hook NAFTA to her back during the 2008 season, which I debunked, because not even Carl Bernstein, someone who wrote a fairly tough book on Hillary, would allow that to go unremarked upon, throwing ice cold water on any notion she supported NAFTA, a free trade agreement that exemplifies neoliberalism.
Just because she’s Bill Clinton’s wife doesn’t mean her views are identical to him. You’d think Democratic activists and progressives would understand the insult of assuming Hillary would be just like Bill. Opposing NAFTA also doesn’t mean she won’t approve of other free trade deals. Of course, for many Iraq, then her role in Libya, now Syria, is enough to make her unsupportable.
The other issue is that to people inside the power structure who want to be in charge, pretending corporations aren’t part of politics is to lose your foothold on the ladder taking you upward. You can choose not to participate as a voter and activist, but anyone in the political food chain who wants to rise cannot. This is one of the immovable, unsolvable, implacable truths that create the catch-22 of American politics.
Anyone who wants to change the system can’t get access to power without using the system and by the time they rise within the system they’ve lost credibility with the voters who put them in office to fight the system. Once in the political stream that gives you access to the power as a politician, the corporations who run the world also control the political apparatus you need to get anything done. Thus instead of Barack Obama changing Washington it changed him, as it will anyone governing in the era of international globalization. It gets to the question of whether a person is strong enough to also exact their own pound of economic flesh so that the stacked deck for the wealthy against the middle class at some points starts evening out.
So we don’t talk about neoliberalism when it comes to Democrats, Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, and a scorching investigation of Doug Band won’t change that fact, or that Hillary being married to Bill doesn’t tell us anything definitive about what she’d do if she ran for president and won.
John Dickerson at Slate via CBS News: Hillary Clinton: The long game.
Hillary Clinton, in her first interview after leaving the State Department, offered a wise metaphor about the current state of presidential election madness. “This election is more than three years away, and I just don’t think it’s good for the country,” she told New York magazine, referring to the fevered speculation about her possible candidacy. “It’s like when you meet somebody at a party and they look over your shoulder to see who else is there, and you want to talk to them about something that’s really important; in fact, maybe you came to the party to talk to that particular person, and they just want to know what’s next,” she says. “I feel like that’s our political process right now. I just don’t think it is good.”
Clinton knows what it’s like to be on both ends of that exchange. She was a political spouse; the shortsighted looked over her shoulder for many years, seeing her as merely an adjunct to her accomplished husband. Now, she is the person who draws every eye in the room–away from even her husband. (When someone says “Clinton”, it may not be long before a majority of people think of the former secretary of state and not the former president).
Read more at the link.
And finally articles on two important members of the Clinton orbit: