So Democrats want an easy 2016 nomination cycle for Hillary Clinton?

As my dear, departed father used to say – and, hopefully, still does – it’s good to want.

Many Democrats would no doubt dearly love an uncontested primary amounting to the stately coronation of [Hillary] Clinton. It would spare them a spectacle akin to, say, the 2012 GOP primaries, in which another prohibitive front-runner came out on top, but only after a grueling process of fending off a seemingly endless procession of challengers. It may never get that bad for Clinton…

Yeah, it would get that bad for Hillary Clinton, and for a reason that Tod Lindberg doesn’t bring up until the last paragraph: Vice President Joe Biden.  You see: I may think that it’d be dumb for Joe Biden to run for President.  You may think that it’d be dumb for Joe Biden to run for President.  The Democratic party’s base may think that it’d be dumb for Joe Biden to run for President.  But Joe Biden doesn’t think that it’d be dumb for Joe Biden to run for President, and he’s the guy with access to the state party organizations and leadership cadres and Rules Committees.

Here’s the bottom line: Hillary Clinton, as we saw in 2008, is not a good campaigner.  She will be likely facing:

  • VP Joe Biden, who is a pretty good campaigner. Not good enough, as an examination of pre-2008 American political history will reveal; but he’s better than Clinton.  He’s also starting to show signs of… well, let’s just say that it’s no secret that Biden’s family history shows a increased risk for strokes.
  • NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, assuming that he survives the next three years.  Presumably he’ll actually marry his live-in girlfriend before that.
  • MD Governor Martin O’Malley, who will survive the next three years. If you’re ever in DC/MD and actually dealing with Lefties/Democrats in a flag of truce situation, here’s a fun party game: ask ’em off the record what they think of O’Malley personally.  The response is invariably a rolling of the eyes; O’Malley has got zero personal charisma – and is almost blissfully unaware of this.  He got the job because the numbers favored a Democrat that year, and kept it because the numbers favor an incumbent pretty much every year.
  • Various Flavors Of The Month, First-Timers, Dark Horses, and Get Y0ur Partisan Freak Ons**.  We won’t know the exact identities until after the midterms.

If this does not look like a stellar lineup, it’s not: Cuomo and O’Malley represent the best of a bad lot of Democratic governors* (whose numbers have taken a beating in the states recently***).  It is, however, just good enough to ensure a lively “spectacle akin to, say, the 2012 GOP primaries” (to quote the original article).  Which would be normally not that big a deal, except that the party that’s having the spectacle is also the party that’s presiding over what promises to still be an epically bad economic recovery in 2016****…

Moe Lane



*If you’re wondering why Deval Patrick isn’t on this list, given that he’s a governor who has some rhetorical similarities to the current President, it’s for this reason: while I do not expect that the American people are ready just yet to admit how much of a mistake they made in electing Barack Obama President, I do expect that they will quietly ensure that they do not make it again.

**”Where have you gone, Den-nis Kuch-i-nich? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you, woo woo woo…” …OK, not really: but it scanned.

***This assessment will not change, even if the ’14 midterms result in a crop of new Democratic governors.  It takes a couple of terms to grow proper Presidential fodder.

****This is the point where most Democratic optimists and certain Republican pessimists will start muttering the same message: It just doesn’t matter; the Republicans will lose anyway.  Which is entertaining of the former and tragic of the latter, but after a certain point you have to stop enabling bad behaviors.

16 thoughts on “So Democrats want an easy 2016 nomination cycle for Hillary Clinton?”

  1. Cuomo doesn’t have a chance outside of any place but New York, California, Hawaii, and Illinois.

    1. .. A big war chest can buy a decent early showing, and .. you’re leaving out a number of small, purple States where a semi-competent well-spoken governor will appeal.
      B’sides, if you sum up the electoral votes of the States you named, which roughly parallel DemCon delegate votes*, carrying those four is a pretty damn good showing.
      I find that I’m hoping for a repeat of Hillary’s last time at the ball .. she couldn’t close the deal then, and it’s not like she’s gotten more attractive to anyone who didn’t already love her.
      * yes, I’m leaving out “superdelegates”

  2. Who will have the backing of OFA? Is Obama going to suck up a bunch of money and not formally back a primary candidate? Will the eventual noninee even have the benifit of that financing? or will OFA dry up and blow away like The Rainbow Coalition? My guess is that Obama would like to see himself as the new powerbroker and sort of America’s Putin and will back Biden in the hope of having a puppet President. He certainly doesn’t see himself leaving politics behind to back to acedamia or go chop wood on a ranch somewhere..

    1. That, of course, assumes Obama doesn’t try to pull a Chavez “dear-presidente-for-life” thing. I still give it a 50-50 chance that he’ll try. That war chest can buy a lot of thugs and long knives.

        1. I don’t doubt that he might have the desire.
          That said, I don’t think he’s stupid enough to believe he could pull it off.
          And no, thugs and long knives aren’t NEARLY enough to pull it off. At very least, you’d need widespread societal breakdown caused by clearly external forces and the military firmly behind you.

          1. No, Luke, it doesn’t need external forces.
            The societal breakdown is underway, it’s pretty clear that we are transitioning from a high-trust society to a medium-trust one.
            I agree that thugs and long knives aren’t enough to *hold* power, but .. the societal changes will last well beyond Obama’s leaving office…

          2. I don’t think there’s any chance of a change to the 22nd amendment currently. I can see it getting talked up if he was way more popluar, but I don’t see it happening. Like I said, I think he wants to set himself up of the primary powerbroker on the left, continuing his polocies through someone beholden to him. I picture something like Roosevelt/Taft, although that didn’t work out to TR’s satisfaction (and TR’s corpse has more political skill than Obama).

          3. The forces need to be clearly external. The reason for this, if he attempts to use an emergency he had a hand in creating, a high enough percentage of the populace will object with open defiance. Media cheerleading or not.
            Successful insurrections traditionally comprise between 2-3% of the general population. Any president in the probable future will be unable to claim the title of El Comandante for Life without that life becoming very short.

          4. Please explain, Luke, why an external force, an attack by China or Russia or something, would *not* have the effect of galvanizing enough of a majority to allow an FDR-type long reign for Obama.
            Also note, Luke, that a majority *of voters* supported Obama last year. Most of them may be urban-dwelling welfare-receiving low-information leeches, but they’re also citizens. The *internal* force of reducing welfare payments – either by de-indexing them from inflation or by actually *cutting* – will be quite sufficient to tear this country apart.. and there is *no way* to avoid doing one or the other.
            In short, galvanizing the country behind an *external* force may be the only way to save it from coming apart due to *internal* forces.

          5. The forces don’t need to be external if the right kind of internal crisis is handy.
            If I were Joe Biden, I’d watch my back as 2016 approaches. Biden is worth far more to President Obama as a martyr than as a potential successor, and if anything unfortunate were to happen to Mr. Biden the White House and the Accomplice Media would lose no time in pinning the blame on reich-wing, gun-toting, Tea Party extremists. All sorts of pesky Constitutional bugaboos tend to be suspended during National Emergencies.

            1. Ladies and gentlemen, we are not going to have a coup, National Emergency, or other form of involuntary change of government. If for no other reason than, if Barack Obama was the sort of person who was interested in becoming President-for-Life, based on his policy track record he’s also the sort of person who would screw up the drop-down box and try to take over the United Arab Emirates instead.

  3. Dem Dark Horses:
    Susan Rice
    Hinklelooper (see if gun control has legs in dem primary)

  4. I don’t think Warren would run, but as long as we’re dreaming, how about DWS or Al Franken. Many Jerry Brown (he’s tried it before, after all). The Democratic bench is full of comedy gold

    1. I’d like to see Franken run, actually.
      He’d play very well in NY and CA, and well enough in IL … and, because carrying the big blue three is not sufficient to win 1600, Franken would force purple-state Dems to look at more .. balanced .. candidates.

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