Although Hillary Clinton has offered no hint as to her future plans and is not stoking rampant speculation about another Presidential run, reporters cannot stop talking about it. Put simply, when you love the one you’re with, you are not busy obsessing over where you are going to be, and who you are going to be with, four years from now. If big media, and by that I mean the President’s erstwhile fan club, had something great to talk about with President Obama, they’d be talking about it. No one is commenting on the fact that it is rather disrespectful to him to be so preoccupied with an event that is years away, indicating an unspoken desire to dwell more on what will happen after he has left office.
One could argue that the President’s defenders in the press are trying to shield him from one bad news cycle after another. But this is about more than just selling copy by using Hillary’s name, or the press distracting us from current governing missteps, scandals or demi-scandals plaguing this administration. More likely that President Obama’s advocates are distracting themselves from their disappointment with him. Via revelations about the IRS and AP scandals, his predilection for use of predator drones, preventive rendition, the NSA spying on average Americans, Gitmo remaining open and much more, the President has been crowned “George W. Obama.” Believe it or not, The Huffington Post came up with that moniker. He is also rendering himself largely irrelevant by focusing on an issue few are talking about — i.e., climate change – while we are still plagued with troubling joblessness. When is the umpty-umpth “pivot to jobs” speech coming, I wonder?
When MSNBC’s Chris Matthews blames the sun for “ruining” the President’s recent speech at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, since it stopped him from reading his TelePrompTer to effectively “close,” and Mick Jagger is mocking Obama for NSA wiretapping, things are looking sad for the home team.
The New York Times just reported on a breakfast with major Hillary donors, both Democrats and Republicans, who are anxious for a Clinton candidacy. She was just quoted on her take on the Snowden/NSA leak matter. CBS reported that “supporters came out in droves” to see Hillary speak in Los Angeles. MSNBC is reporting on her “pre-game” strategy. Progressives at Salon.com are already saying their vote is hers to lose “but please, no Lanny Davis” or Mark Penn. The UK Telegraph thinks Hillary is paving the way for a future Chelsea presidential run. Point being, everyone is already telling her how to win and commenting on her appearance – not to mention her new hairdo.
The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, no friend to Hillary if his past reporting is any indication, is also commenting about the “presidential sweepstakes” and her need to manage her early message carefully. But she is not offering a message. I am not naïve enough to think that means there isn’t one. Otherwise, we would not have close Clinton ally and former campaign surrogate General Wesley Clark, and 2008 Obama champion, Senator Claire McCaskill, along with former Clinton advisors James Carville and Harold Ickes urging us to donate to her unofficial super-PAC, Ready for Hillary.
As much as all this Hillary foreplay and super-PAC brouhaha could be about cowing all comers (like Cuomo, O’Malley or Biden), it is also a way of looking forward, indicating a yearning in certain circles for a stiff-spined leadership we do not currently enjoy.
For a woman trying not to be in the spotlight, Hillary’s every move is getting a ridiculous amount of press. Ironic that during the first three years of her tenure as Secretary of State, there was a media blackout on her. Important policy speeches she gave, awards she won or her work on behalf of women and children around the world received scant to no coverage. The press was careful not to allow her words or deeds to outshine those of President Obama. We only, and finally, got positive press coverage of Clinton in 2012 when it was hoped that the reflected glow of her popularity would positively impact the President’s re-election hopes. It worked.
Even the name of the Hillary SuperPAC telegraphs the reality of the current culture: Ready for Hillary. That super-PAC was formed two minutes after Obama’s re-election. It would be more accurate to call it “Dear God we are SO Ready for Hillary, could 2016 hurry up and get here already!”
Even the distasteful Marko Moulitsas of Daily Kos has at last, seemingly, warmed to her. The comments below from Netroots Nation, the largest gathering of liberal activists in the country, are telling and get to the heart of why these Presidential Sweepstakes are starting so early:
Many here also cited Clinton’s toughness. In an era when many progressives have been frustrated by Republicans who obstruct anything Obama, they would welcome some of Clinton’s fire, as opposed to Obama’s always-cool approach.
“Hillary’s always been fantastic at fighting Republicans,” said Jim Dean, chairman of the advocacy group Democracy For America, and brother of ex-Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. “She’s a fighter, she’s tough as nails.”
Only a few brave souls on the left have gone on the record admitting it looked less like Obama lost the fight with Republicans, but rather, that he never waged one. Hillary was a fighter six years ago, but those who now tout her were too shortsighted to see it. Clearly, they have tired of much of the hope and change talk offered by President Obama.
The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald and author Jeremy Scahill, true believers both, have made note of how President Obama has exacerbated George Bush’s policies and continued the corrupt connection between corporations and government. When the best the press can do is to partner with both Democrats and Republicans in Congress is to demonize Greenwald as someone who has “aided and abetted” in the commission of a crime in re breaking the NSA wiretapping story via Edward Snowden, we are at a bad pass.
The whole point of living in a constitutional Republic is that we have a voice and a vote on what is happening to us and how we live as Americans. That the “most transparent administration ever” has sought on a number of occasions to deny us that right by keeping us in the dark flies in the face of not only their biggest campaign mantra, but the basic fiber of who we are.
The bulk of mainstream media has championed and run interference for our president since his candidacy. His supporters may have been less excited to get him re-elected but stepped up anyway since the Conservative alternative was too awful for them to contemplate. They have since made it clear that the enthusiasm for his message is all but gone. His current approval rating is underwater. While there will never be an admission of a mistake in putting a man with so little experience and too cozy a relationship to corporatists and lobbyists in the White House, the forward looking Hillary-obsession is the best indicator that these various factions are anxious to move on.
I do not for a moment believe there is a new found love for Hillary from Progressives, who have always found her too hawkish. But The Hill’s A.B. Stoddard sums up the current situation best in her piece The Hillary Bandwagon. Ms. Stoddard points out the Democrats realize she is not only their best, but their only hope to retain the White House in 2016. That is in part due to President Obama himself, who has spent no time cultivating the Democrats’ own farm team.
Someone should have told him he is not the only one on it.