Who's Afraid of Hillary?

Posted: Jun 30, 2013 2:32 PM
Who's Afraid of Hillary?

A steady groundswell of support has been coalescing in recent months around Hillary Clinton's potential 2016 presidential campaign. President Obama just isn't that exciting any more - Democrats feel the need to try to pump some excitement into the long-rumored Clinton's run for office. A Super PAC named "Ready For Hillary" has already formed to raise money.

House Democrats' resident excite-o-meter, Nancy Pelosi, told USA Today that though she's not making any endorsements, there's "a great deal of excitement around the prospect that [Clinton] would run."

"I don't know why she wouldn't run," Pelosi said. "She's prepared. She's well-known. She's highly respected. She knows she could do the job very, very well."

"If Secretary Clinton were to run — and we think if she ran, she would win — I believe that she would be the best-prepared person to enter the White House in decades, in decades," Pelosi said, "with all due respect to her husband, present company and other presidents."

Republicans, meanwhile, have already started sowing the seeds of an anti-Clinton narrative. Jonathan Martin of the New York Times detailed Republicans who have recently begun to pre-empt the Clinton onslaught:

Stuart Stevens, the top strategist for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, declared to an audience of reporters at a breakfast last month that electing Hillary Rodham Clinton would be like going back in time. “She’s been around since the ’70s,” he said.

At a conservative conference earlier in the year, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, ridiculed the 2016 Democratic field as “a rerun of ‘The Golden Girls,’ ” referring to Mrs. Clinton and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is 70.

And Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, seizing on the Fleetwood Mac song that became a Clinton family anthem, quipped to an audience in Washington, “If you want to keep thinking about tomorrow, maybe it’s time to put somebody new in.”

Pelosi noted that Republicans' critiques of Clinton sound a lot like age-based criticisms and nothing more. But when Clinton and current Vice President Joe Biden seem to be the current 2016 front-runners for the Democrats, it does indeed look like youth is something the Democrats may be short on come 2016. And if politics in the Obama era has taught us anything, it's that youth and style are easy substitutes for substance when it comes to political success. In Clinton and Biden, youth and style are noticably absent.