Now that Hillary has dropped the coy pretense of indecision that she used to justify her reelection to a Senate seat she no longer wants and has told friends that she plans to run for president, two questions present themselves: Can she win? And what kind of a president would she be?
She definitely can win … and probably will. She is uniquely able to expand the electorate to bring in millions of women, mostly single, who will vote overwhelmingly for a female Democrat. The feminization of poverty, long decried by the left, will finally lead unmarried women to show up at the polling place and vote their short-term economic interest and vindicate their gender bias. In 2000, only 19 million single women voted. By 2004, their turnout rose to 27 million. With Hillary in the race, the single-female vote will probably go up to its proper ratio of the adult population — 33 million votes.
Can white men outvote single women? Despite the intensity with which white men tend to oppose Hillary, they can’t vote twice.
The enthusiasm that will grip many Americans — women in particular — at the cultural implications of a woman president will probably sweep through the primaries and cause many to overlook Hillary’s flaws and dismiss her defects. The generic of a woman candidate will prove so attractive that millions of voters will overcome their objections to the specific person who is running.
Her mastery of the establishment of the Democratic Party, her vast lead among ex-officio delegates — many of whom have received campaign contributions from her coffers — and the celebrity draw of her ex-president husband will prove hard for a mere mortal to overcome.
But should she win? No way!
Those who know both Hillary and Bill well and are willing to speak frankly in public realize the fundamental differences between the two and grasp how his abilities are the counterpoints to her defects.
He is intensely creative, constantly turning issues over in his mind seeking new solutions. She rarely has a new idea but specializes in advocacy — the rote recitation of talking points.
He has an instinctual feel for people and an uncanny ability to read a room and know what everyone in it is thinking. She is obtuse in her understanding of people and ham-handed in her approach.
He cares deeply about being loved. She seeks popularity as a means to the goal of getting elected but otherwise marches to the beat of her inner, liberal drummer.
He distrusts ideology, and his innate perfectionism finds all belief systems flawed. She swallows the ideological line of the guru du jour hook, line and sinker. During the healthcare years, it was Ira Magaziner who pushed her buttons. When she decided to back the Iraq War, it was the generals who paraded before her committee. She is vulnerable to a cultish adoration of the guys with all the answers.
He lets the give and take of politics wash off his back. A critic is a potential convert whom he hopes to charm over to his side. She has a rigidly dichotomized view of friends and enemies, demanding total loyalty and public silence from the former and maintaining a ruthless determination to destroy the latter. She is a Democratic Nixon to those whom she perceives as her enemies.
He is a moderate by instinct, seeking incremental change. She devotedly and deeply believes in a European-style socialism in which government takes much more of our national income and offers a far wider array of services and benefits.
He’ll raise taxes when he has to. She’ll increase them just to redistribute income.
He’s most like Eisenhower, Kennedy and Bush Sr. — feeling his way, acting with caution, and skeptical of all advice. She is more like LBJ, Nixon or Bush Jr. — determined to charge ahead and do what she thinks needs to be done, the torpedoes be damned.
And finally, he knows who he is and, except for his private shortcomings, is not ashamed to let it show. She constantly seeks to reinvent herself and rigidly maintains an almost totally inaccurate image in public of what she is really like in private. He has little discipline. Hers is iron. His caution is innate. Hers is a learned response to what happens when people see who she really is.
He made a very good domestic-policy president. She would be a disaster at home and abroad.