Hillary in 2016

What a great idea!

I have no idea whether John Heilemann and Mark Halperin know what they’re talking about in predicting a Clinton-for-President campaign four years from now.


But one thing I’m sure of:   I’m for it.  And so is every other early Obama fan I’ve talked to.  None of the baggage she would have had to carry in 2008 will be nearly as heavy then, and her record as Secretary of State is both a huge political asset and reassurance about her managerial ability.  And Bill Clinton would also be a big asset in four years from now, which he wouldn’t have been four years ago.

There was a rumor running around that Clinton was tired of being Secretary of State and Biden equally tired of being VP, and that they would switch jobs. That rumor seems to have died, but it seemed like a great idea to me. Clinton as the incumbent VP would probably walk to the nomination, greatly improving the Democrats’ chances of holding the White House. Otherwise, there’s no obvious front-runner. And for this year, an Obama-Clinton ticket would create more energy on our side than an Obama-Biden ticket, without especially stirring up the Republican base any more than it already is.

It all works: if only HRC has the stomach for a Presidential campaign at age 68.




Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

34 thoughts on “Hillary in 2016”

  1. I don’t know. OTOneH, the Obama administration’s foreign policy has been at-least-relatively-uncrazy, and I suppose HRC gets some credit for that. OTOtherH, she comes across to non-Americans as hectoring, self-righteous and extraordinarily undiplomatic. Non-Americans tend to dislike that stuff in superpowers, although of course the Bush administration was so awful that its successor gets any number of breaks. I regard her 2008 campaign as essentially race-baiting. I don’t recall any legislative accomplishments in the previous 8 years, and of course she completely screwed up healthcare reform.

    1. “hard-working Americans, white Americans” was the thing that resolved my indecision in favor of Obama in 2008. At this point, I could summarize almost all of my disappointment with Obama by saying that he is too much like the Clintons.

  2. I think Biden should take State, and Hilary runs as VP in 2012. Double plus good….then you have a natural springboard for Hilary to go for Pres in 2016.

  3. Biden hasn’t ruled out running, although he’d be even older, I think 73.

    I was never much impressed with him before the election, but he sure called Afghanistan right. I guess I’d still prefer Clinton over him, but not as much as I would’ve 4 years ago.

  4. Coorect me if I’m wrong, but as a Senator didn’t Hillary vote like a war-hawk; and didn’t she vote to immunize warrantless wuiretapping and torture? Also, as Secretary of State hasn’t she been stalwart in the efforts to cover up the Bush torture machine, doing her utmost to suppress investigation and prosecution of torture in direct contravention of the treaties to which we are signatories? In other words, isn’t she basically just as much of a a-moral hack as the Republicans she pretends to oppose?

    Hillary for President? What a nauseating notion.

    1. O yes, just the same: because trying to avoid war with Iran is precisely the same thing as pounding the drums for war with Iran.

      1. Yes, Sen. Clinton, like most Democrats in the early oughts, was part of a “loyal opposition” — a quaint concept, now outdated. When the Commander in Chief wants to do something and says it’s necessary AND he has a fig leaf of intelligence to back him up, the loyal opposition doesn’t reflexively suspect his motives & start bleating against him; the LO tries hard to find reasons to believe that the President is telling the truth, & has the best interests of the nation at heart.

        I was opposed to the war because I was “in the business” and knew how bogus most of the intelligence was, and gosh, didn’t we have the recent example of Yugoslavia to inform us about the centrifugal tendency of a multi-ethnic state once the iron hand of dictatorship was removed? But I’m a wonk, not a politician. I think Hillary et. al. learned their lesson. Too bad it cost so many lives.

    1. Her peak in what way? There’s no major reason to think she’d be losing her acuity by age 68 (or, at the end of the term, age 72 – though maybe you start to worry then, or in eighr years; see Reagan, Ronald), but at 68 is she fully up to the rigors of the campaign itself? All those fundraising calls, all those hands shaken and babies dandled, all that bad coffee and junk food, six or twelve talks a day across Iowa and New Hampshire, etcetera. Unless she could count on her universal name recognition and a reputation for competence to avoid all those hassles, her age does remain a factor.

      1. And it doesn’t for other people who run for President at age 68 or beyond? I don’t get your point at all.

        1. Of course it applies for other people considering Campaigning and Presidenting approaching and into their 70s. You may have noticed the citation of Reagan in my comment, and you may have noticed the responses ranging from mockery to concern to the 2008 campaigns of Fred Thompson and John McCain, when neither was seen as being a sufficiently vigorous campaigner (especially the former) and the latter was seen as being relatively more likely to succumb to the strains of office and leave our country in the hands of his highly dubious Veep nominee. You may haven noticed how much more fragile Bill Clinton looked doing some limited campaigning on his wife’s behalf in 2008, compared to his boundlessly energetic campaign sixteen years earlier, and sixteen years younger.

          You were the one making the case that some special group of people (“women like Hillary”) are “at their peak” when nearing 70, in some way. I merely said that, especially in terms of politicking, I find this assertion dubious, precisely because of what’s been the case for other politicians nearing 70 (all of them male, but that’s because we’ve had so many more prominent male politicians than female ones). so I am the one accused of singling out someone for special consideration?

          1. I agree,

            because all humans have identical life spans, all humans enjoy the same physical/mental capacities, all humans are blessed with equivalent, and honest, awareness of their respective goals, all humans share equal levels of ego, and, most importantly, all humans lack the ability to determine for themselves what are realistic paths to follow for a productive, beneficial, and fulfilling life.

            Thank goodness we have pundits and commentators who, obviously, know everything.

          2. I never claimed to “know everything”. I was not the one who identified Sec. Clinton as belonging to a special class of women (or was it intended to be all women?) who at age 68 are “at their peak”, whatever that means. I was reacting to a claim of special knowledge.

          3. Warren, you may be disappointed to notice that this thread is about Hillary Clinton, not Warren Terra.

          4. I was speaking of a woman like Hillary. Yes, I think at 68, she’ll be at her peak.

            That was all I said. Everything else in your lengthy replies was imputed/projected/ etc.

    2. You betcha! Golda Meir was 70 when she was elected Prime Minister. She was the real “Iron Lady.”

  5. I would prefer that the Democrats not look forward to the past for their Presidential candidates. I’m going to be checking out the 2012 Democratic convention for future possibilities myself.

    1. Ditto. It would be beyond depressing for 2016 to be yet another re-litigation of the 1960s. That’s about the only strategy the Republicans have left, and nominating Hilary would give them yet another excuse to do it.

      In 2016 (assuming they lose in 2012), Republicans are likely to be even more marginalised to their old, white, male, Southern base, and are likely to nominate yet another Fox news talking head. Democrats would do well to heighten the contrast by nominating a fresh, relatively young face that’s not tied to the old red/blue, Nixon/McGovern axes. Mark Warner, say, or Maria Cantwell, or Kirsten Gilibrand, or one of the Udalls.

      1. “In 2016 (assuming they lose in 2012), Republicans are likely to be even more marginalised to their old, white, male, Southern base, and are likely to nominate yet another Fox news talking head.”

        Good one, you can slur and stereotype with the best of them.

  6. Hillary (“RFK was assassinated in June”) Clinton for Vice-president? Why would President Obama want the continued beating of his heart to be the only thing keeping Lady MacBeth out of the Oval Office?

    1. The quote you cite wasn’t Clinton’s finest hour, but it’s insulting to everyone involved – Clinton herself, the readers of this blog, your own self-respect – to baselessly imply Clinton would contemplate murder for personal advantage.

  7. Four more years of Obama and eight more years of Hillary?
    Good god. In 12 years Limbaugh (massive heart failure) and both Kochs (really old age) will probably all be dead.
    Is there a finer way to send them off of stage right than shuffling dejectedly down a shaggy blue carpet?
    Why for all their money they’d have died angry and politically rejected.

    In other words:
    This is a living, breathing, dreaming sort of schadenfreude.
    I am almost tempted to lay up a vintage of bubbly….

  8. Folks, being an evil Vizier doesn’t really qualify one to be Sultan. The skill set isn’t the same.

    1. 1) “evil”?
      2) What do you mean by “vizier”? Apparently, per Wikipedia, it can simply mean “government minister”, but surely that’s not what you meant – given that Sec. Clinton is a Cabinet Secretary (our version of a government minister), using that word to simply mean “minister” would be silly. So you must mean the comic-opera trope of the evil grand vizier, the malign and manipulating power behind the throne. But there’s no reason to believe that, either: first of all, Sec. Clinton is relegated to a single area of government, foreign policy; and second of all, where’s the evidence she has undue influence over the administration, let alone some secret control over it?

      Look, I know you Wingers spent a solid decade getting it pounded into your head that Hillary Clinton is evil incarnate, the manipulating power animating the affable Bill Clinton. That she’s plotting some underhanded scheme to effect World Domination, with Black Helicopters aplenty. That she is, as mentioned upthread, Lady MacBeth. But there’s never been any good reason for all this slanderous nonsense – it’s the sort of slime you can expect those sort of people to coat on any successful Democratic woman – and when you and John Herbison make sly insinuations taking these character assassinations as givens you just make yourselves look like the sort of hicks to whom Limbaugh targets his show.

      1. Hillary Clinton on her worst day would be a better president than anyone the Republicans have to offer on his best day. Her conduct during her run the Democratic nomination, however, was less than honorable. Any Democrat who suggests that John McCain “passe[d] the commander in-chief threshold” while then-Senator Obama did not is a damn quisling. She did pander to racial resentments during the primaries. She flat out lied about dodging gunfire in Bosnia. As for invoking the assassination of Senator Kennedy, she may as well have exclaimed, a la Henry II, “Who will rid me of this troublesome mulatto?”

        As for Rush Limbaugh, why did Rush encourage Republicans to vote in Democratic primaries for Hillary? And why did she not repudiate that scheme?

        Overweening ambition is the most charitable explanation.

        1. I agree with your characterization of her behavior in 2008 (though I don’t know whether she repudiated Rush’s “Operation Chaos” – if she was asked, she’d have been fairly well obligated to say something nasty about him). But the conclusion you draw – literally, that as Vice President she might murder the President to seize the office – goes so very far beyond these, and plays so far into Republican tropes about Clinton, in a way that should not be allowed to pass uncontested.

          1. I trust that the readers of this blog are sophisticated enough to recognize hyperbole as sarcasm.

        2. Overweening ambition is the most charitable explanation.

          Yes well…

          No one becomes President of the US (or head of the Politburo) by being a shrinking violet.
          I find your list of Hillary’s cutthroatisms, in happy retrospect, one of her most redeeming political qualities.
          She fights like a pitbull without make-up and would have bled McCain gray.
          And she’ll play hardball with any Republican in 2012.
          Hell if Murdoch is still alive in 2013 (doubtful) he might wake up next to a severed horse head.

          Hillary has scores to settle.
          I’m in.

          1. You know, she used to really rub me the wrong way, but somehow in the last few years it stopped. I think her persistence and solid performance must be why she’s grown on me. She is tough, like you said, and it makes up for a lot. Also she reminds me of this kid I went to school with. He would always do more than whatever the teacher asked. Like if she said, do a standard paper size map, he’d make a legal size map, which was both annoying and funny. She’ll always do a good job on her work even if it kills her.

            I’m glad I don’t have as good a memory as many here, too. Anyone in the spotlight that long is going to make serious mistakes here and there. Who do you-all have that’s better?

            And as for campaigns, we could try rationalizing them. There’s not really a good reason to put people through all that. Four or five months of pressure would probably test/crack most anyone. After that it’s overkill!

  9. Although Secretary Clinton is doing a good job, is it really absolutely necessary that the proposed successor of the incumbent should be the wife of the previous Democratic President? Surely amongst the thousands of Democratic office holders an equally potent candidate can be found who is not the spouse or child of a president or other extremely senior official? Although I may admire individuals like Al Gore, Hillary Clinton and (somewhat) GWH Bush I loathe aristocracies in general. The best part of the result of the 2008 election was that of the 4 leading candidates, the half-black child of a single mother won ahead of the son/grandson of four-star admirals, the wife of a president and the son of a governor of Michigan, taking the place of the son of a President. The American dream lived that day. It’s sad that some Democrats think that we should follow the the example of Indonesia, the Phillipines and other oligarchy-dominted places where they also feel that the only way to recapture a successful incumbent’s magic is to elect his wife.

    1. John, I am one of the Dems who would prefer to vote for Hillary over anybody else I can think of, but I totally reject the oligarchy model you’ve hypothesized on the basis of such a small sample.

      I don’t care who was George Bush’s father or John McCain’s either. I would vote for Hillary because she’s smarter AND has more balls than any other (as yet unspecified) candidates (who haven’t even appeared on the horizon yet). And the fact that her husband was a brilliant campaigner who happened also to be a pretty effective President isn’t totally a coincidence — even at a tender college age, personalities and talents so many standard deviations away from average tend to attract each other.

      1. Re the sample size: other utterly class- ridden democracies where wives/widows of former heads of state have been elected in recent decades include India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Argentina. I can’t think of anything similar in more egalitarian countries.

        1. I’m sorry, I wasn’t clear. The sample size I referred to was our USA history. Your sample represents a small fraction of a small number of Presidential elections I can remenber. Small times small equals very small.

          In my lifetime we have two legacy/aristocrat Presidents–the Bushes. Then there were:

          Truman — As non-aristocratic non-legacy as you could imagine.
          Eisenhower — Ditto
          Kennedy — “Aristocrat” for sure, but not a legacy in politics
          LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bill Clinton, and of course O’Bama — my goodness, nobody ever thought of saying “legacy” or “aristocrat” about any of them.

          Among the losing major-party candidates in my lifetime:

          Thos E Dewey
          Adlai Stevenson — yes, he was a legacy.
          Richard Nixon
          Barry Goldwater
          Hubert Humphrey
          etc. etc. etc.

          Gore was the other legacy politician running for President I can think of in my lifetime. That’s two legacy Presidents and two legacy losing candidates in sixty-four years of Presidential elections I can remember.

    2. I don’t think we’d be following that example. Hillary has earned her place. There are very few people of any origin here who have the experience to credibly run for president. I say we can’t afford to be throwing people out all willy-nilly.

Comments are closed.