HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT?….So Hillary’s in. John Podhoretz must be breaking out in a cold sweat right about now. Her decision to make the announcement on her website on a Saturday, rather than at a traditional press event on a weekday, was interesting, wasn’t it? In a way, it goes to show just how much clout she has: she doesn’t need the extra fillip of attention that a news conference would get her.
Now, keeping in mind that back in 2003 I thought John Kerry was the weakest of the major candidates — an almost Shrum-like prognosticating ability — I think Podhoretz’s nightmares are well founded. I’ve always figured she’d run, and that if she ran she’d probably win. Here’s why:
She has a lot of strength in the black community. This isn’t exactly a secret or anything, but I think it gets underestimated sometimes.
She will raise insane amounts of money.
She has nowhere to go but up. Seriously. Every nasty thing that can possibly be said about her has already been said. Her negatives may be high, but that’s mostly among Republicans who won’t influence her primary chances and wouldn’t vote for a Democrat in the general election anyway. Rush Limbaugh will spew his usual swill to the dittoheads, but for the most part all the old attacks will seem, well, old. (And this is one area where the iron laws of the press corps will work in her favor. Old scandals are almost never deemed worthy of revival in a presidential campaign. You have to dig up fresh dirt to get their attention.)
A lot of people outside of New York will soon be getting their first real look at Hillary since 2000. I think they’re going to be surprised. Many of them probably have vague, Limbaugh-fueled recollections of her as a dragon lady of some kind, but when they actually see her for the first time on Larry King or Oprah or whatever, she’s going to seem much more engaging than they remember.
Oh, and Barack Obama will be her vice president. Or, who knows? Maybe Wes Clark.
For more pro and con, check out our July 2005 issue. Carl Cannon made the case for why Hillary can win while Amy Sullivan made the case against her. Ryan Lizza’s TNR piece from last year, “Welcome to Hillaryland,” is also worth a read.