From the Tuesday Morning Jolt:
The Hillary 2016 Campaign, Focusing on Climate Change. Can’t Wait.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Hillary Rodham Clinton said here Saturday night that she is weighing another presidential campaign and is “very much concerned” about the direction of the country, citing climate change as a particular focus.
Mmm-hmm. Remember this Gallup poll on Americans’ priorities from earlier this month?
Right down at the bottom on the list of priorities — “the quality of the environment” and “climate change.”
You know who cares about climate change? Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer. Of course, he’s proving that his $100 million effort this year is more about partisanship than principles, since his team has announced they won’t run ads or criticize Democrats who support building the Keystone pipeline.
Perhaps Tom Steyer — er, his fortune and his network of like-minded wealthy folks who prioritize climate-change rhetoric coming from Democrats — is enough of a constituency to court at this early stage of the nascent campaign. But the Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign is going to have to be about something, besides the fact that she would be the first woman president and her own inevitability. That’s more or less what she ran on in 2007 and 2008, and we remember where that left her. And remember, early 2008 was comparable peace and prosperity compared to now, and in all likelihood, the political environment of 2015 and 2016.
Remember, the first draft was that Hillary was going to run as an outsider who would reform Washington. I’m serious:
National Journal’s Ron Fournier talks to Hillary Clinton’s friends and supporters and writes a “memo” of advice to her, based upon their thoughts. His conclusion:
Pope Francis has reminded us of the power of small gestures. Without changing the Vatican’s ideology one iota, he has transformed the way people think about the Catholic Church, one symbolic act at a time. And consider the parallels between your job and that of the pope — an old man running an ancient institution marred by scandal and incompetence. You can be just as transformative. Actually, if you run for president, you must be. That’s what a few of us think.
Stop. Just stop.
Hillary Clinton is more inside-Washington than the District of Columbia Sewer and Water Authority. She’s lived and worked there since January 1993 — please, no more implausible spin that her heart is really in Chappaqua and that she’s always been a Yankee fan. As first lady, then senator, then secretary of state, Hillary Clinton has probably ranked among the five most influential figures in Washington every year for the past two decades. Even during the Bush years, there were few figures in D.C. or the world that she couldn’t get a meeting with and offer her views. She’s never been shut out of the policy-making process. During most of her Senate years, particularly post-9/11, most Republicans respected her. Since then, she and her husband have turned the Clinton Foundation into an unparalleled institution for hobnobbing with the world’s elites and the Davos set, with more than a few serious allegations of influence-peddling and favor-trading. This Town and its methods and culture have her fingerprints all over them. Since the moment her husband was sworn in, she has been at the top of Washington’s food chain, with everyone beneath her flattering her, sucking up, hoping to win her favor and have a future friend in the Oval Office. (“Clinton has racked up at least 15 awards in the nine months since she left the State Department.”)
Nothing in Hillary Clinton’s past suggests she’s ever been that dissatisfied with the way Washington and/or the country works. For pete’s sake, while secretary of state, she had Huma Abedin under a “special contract” that allowed her to be a consultant for private clients while keeping her $135,000-per-year State Department job.
The status quo has been very, very, very good for the Clintons. They have a net worth estimated at $55 million; Hillary Clinton’s speaking fee begins at $200,000, with Wall Street banks and private-equity firms most frequently picking up the tab: Goldman Sachs, KKR, the Carlyle Group. Far from an impassioned reformer, eager to overhaul a system of crony capitalism and back-scratching, Hillary Clinton is our political and economic status quo in human form.
Expecting Hillary Clinton to be a transformative reformer of Washington is like expecting Donald Trump to become a Bolshevik, Kim Jong Un to renounce power and become a monk, or the New York Yankees to push for the end of free agency in baseball. Powerful people rarely if ever decide to completely overhaul the system that made them powerful.
So they need a Plan B, a different theme to match the historical moment, but . . . climate change? Really? Look at that chart up there. Just about everybody is worried about the economy. Just about everybody is telling Gallup that they care about the debt, although it’s fair to question how much those folks really mean it. Healthcare — right up there. Unemployment — right up there. “The size and power of the federal government” . . .
Hillary Rodham Clinton cast doubt on the interim nuclear agreement with Iran, saying in a muscular policy speech here Wednesday night that she is “personally skeptical” that Iran’s leaders will follow through on a comprehensive agreement to end their march toward nuclear weapons.
Clinton said the United States should “give space for diplomacy to work” and avoid imposing new unilateral sanctions or any other actions that might lead any allies to back out of existing international sanctions against Iran.
“The odds of reaching that comprehensive agreement are not good,” Clinton said. “I am also personally skeptical that the Iranians would follow through and deliver. I have seen their behavior over the years. But this is a development that is worth testing.”
She’s going to have to run against Washington after living and working in Washington for 20 years, and perhaps run against the Obama administration after serving in it. It’s rather surprising that more Democrats aren’t thinking of running in 2016 and attempting to be the Barack Obama of this cycle . . .