Anyone who reads my column regularly, or even occasionally, knows full well that I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton. It should come as no surprise, then, that I have written this column, explaining why she should not run for President in 2016.
But even though if she doesn’t run I’d be happy, I will make the case here why her becoming President would not be good for the country – and it is for different reasons than one might expect.
First of all, Clinton is more critical to her party’s Presidential prospects than any candidate in recent memory. If she runs, her party (the Democrats) most likely will win the White House. And if she doesn’t run, the Democrats will lose.
She would probably beat the typical Republican nominee – such as Jeb Bush or – if he can survive Bridgegate – Chris Christie. In turn, either Bush or Christie would probably beat any non-Clinton Democratic opponent.
When was the last time we could say that a party’s chances directly depend on a specific candidate? Unquestionably, Hillary Clinton is a political force, and Republican Party Chairman Reince Preibus is either delusional or deceptive when he says – as he recently did on Meet the Press – that he doesn’t think that much of her as a candidate.
Seriously, can Republican, with a straight face, utter the name of a Democratic Presidential candidate they think would be more formidable than Clinton?
Unlike the delusional and the deceptive, I can separate logic from emotion: even though I don’t want to see Clinton as President, I have little doubt – at least from this early vantage point – that if she runs, she wins.
The reason her Presidency wouldn’t be good for the country, however, goes beyond ideology. Of course, if I don’t agree with her platform I wouldn’t think she’d be good for the country – just as someone who supports her positions would think she’d be great. But that’s not what I’m talking about.
The reason a Hillary Clinton Presidency would not be good for America has nothing to do with her. (Take note: in a rare moment, I’m about to defend her!) Political discourse in America, like everywhere else, has its ebbs and flows.
Right now, we are going through an ugly period. A divisive, torturous, utterly unproductive era where cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face is the general rule, bipartisanship based on practicality makes a rare appearance, and dignity is extinct.
If the next President is a Republican, the Democrats will take their best – and cheapest shots. But their method of sabotage is death by a thousand cuts. A few irrational well-placed suggestions that the person is dumb, or compassionless. And lots of help from the still-mostly left-leaning mainstream media.
And if the next President is a Democrat, he or she will have an even tougher time of it. For the Republicans will not draw a little blood at a time, with ice picks.
No, they will charge full force, firing cannonball after cannonball. When it comes to shameful dirty politics, Republicans are more effective than Democrats. Not because Democrats are nicer – but because Republicans are more successful at what they attempt, including nastiness.
NEEDING A HONEYMOON
For a President these days to have any sort of success, he or she must have a honeymoon period. A time when even the losing party takes a breather and gives the new chief executive a chance.
And those who think: “the Republicans are just plain ol’ meaner than the Democrats,” you’ve made my point for me. Because if Hillary wins, she will have no honeymoon at all – not even for a second.
“Well, Barack Obama didn’t have a honeymoon for a second, either.” Exactly. And how’s that working out? His detractors think he’s “the worst president ever,” and even his supporters have soured on him to a certain extent.
Can we all agree, at the very least, that if there wasn’t a contingent of politicians and media pundits who woke up every day trying to figure out new ways of making him look bad, that he’d have a better chance to do more things right?
And Obama was elected at age 47 – Clinton would turn 69 in her first year of office; like Ronald Reagan, older than any other President in history. Sure, Reagan did just fine, but we had yet to enter the phase of miserable, ugly political war in which we are currently embroiled.
Besides, there are always exceptions to the rule. George Burns drank a few martinis a day, along with smoking several cigars, well into his eighties and nineties, and lived to be 100. That doesn’t mean martinis and cigars are a recipe for longevity.
Through no fault of her own, as a President in her seventies, Clinton would be subject to the most lethal attacks any White House occupant has had to endure in over a century. It would make the talk show radio crowd’s attack on Obama seem like a pillow fight at a slumber party by comparison.
And under that constant barrage, on a daily basis at that advanced age, there’s a good chance that Clinton, like President Richard Nixon (who was quite younger), would come apart at the seams.
That’s not good for the country. And that’s why Hillary shouldn’t run.