I like that Clinton is drawing distinctions between herself and Obama, and I think she is generally right on policy. She is admirably forthright in her defense of Israel and in her condemnation of Hamas’s tactics of both targeting Israeli civilians and hiding behind Palestinian civilians.
The bad news is that a substantial body of Democratic opinion is actually to the left of President Obama on foreign policy. That means it is dangerous to be to Obama’s right.
I think Ezra Klein is right that Clinton is playing a politically dangerous game with her party’s leftists — who are both more numerous and more self-confident than they were when she was in the White House. History has promised the party’s activist liberals that the future is theirs, and it will take a series of consecutive electoral losses to beat the hubris out of them. That won’t happen by 2016.
It gets even worse when Clinton criticizes Obama from the right. Obama’s approval ratings are pretty lousy, but the plurality of Democrats who are likely to vote in the 2016 primaries are almost certainly going to be heavily invested in believing Obama was a good president. The only conditions under which a majority of 2016 Democratic primary voters might repudiate Obama are conditions under which no Democrat could hope to win the general election.
Clinton’s moves to the right provide an opening for Biden. Clinton’s moves allow Biden to present himself as both the relatively less interventionist candidate (without being a left-isolationist) and the true heir of President Obama. This could given Biden access to a much wider anti-Clinton constituency than could be won by an Elizabeth Warren) whose support would likely come from white upper-middle-class liberals).