Monday, April 13, 2015

Hillary's Launch

Last Friday the Hillary Clinton campaign announced that Hillary would be announcing her candidacy on Sunday with a tween and a video. I'm not quite sure why that wasn't considered the official launch. The fact that she is running is likely to be the smallest surprise in the campaign. We've know that she wants to be President for the last 16 years and this is the second time she has run.

Where other candidates have given speeches, Hillary released a video. It was a very slick video and minimized Hillary's biggest weakness - herself. She didn't appear until after the half-way mark and she said almost nothing except that she is running and that the deck is stacked against the middle class. This was probably a preemptive strike against Elizabeth Warren who uses the exact same words.

While HIllary seems to have the nomination wrapped up months before the first primaries, her chances of actually winning the election are much smaller. In 2008 she was running against an unpopular president and an unpopular war (that was back when Afghanistan was still "the good war" and Iraq was a distraction). She was the heavy favorite to win that election, too, but she made some important mistakes. She assumed that she would have the nomination wrapped up by Super Tuesday and spent her campaign fund accordingly. In contrast, Obama ran a 50 state campaign and was able to come from behind to take the nomination.

This time around, Hillary is from the same party as an unpopular president and is saddled with a foreign policy that has been a disaster on most fronts. Eight years ago McCain was able to run as a maverick because he has opposed his president on some policies. Hillary has never publicly broken with Obama on anything.

Hillary's resume is worse than before. In 2008 she was a prominent senator, if only because of her husband and he expectation that she would run for president. Her stint as Secretary of State was unimpressive and she will have to spend a lot of time defending things that happened during her tenure.

Hillary is trying to put all of that behind her and run as the candidate who will break the glass ceiling. She is a poor role model for that since she only rose to prominence because of her husband. She has not been the first woman to do anything important. Even as Secretary of State, she was the third woman to hold the job.

Hillary running as a champion of the working class is laughable. She is part of the system that stacks the deck. She claims to have been broke when Bill left office but they already had multimillion dollar book deals and speaking tours in their future.

Her past finances are dirty going back to Bill's time as governor. She managed to make a huge sum in the commodities market during her single day of investing. Most people forget that the investigation that led to Bill's impeachment started with a housing project called Whitewater where a number of regulators turned a blind eye to irregularities.

More recently, the Clinton Foundation has accepted hundreds of millions of dollars from questionable governments.

Regardless of all of this, the truism is that Hillary's worse opponent is herself. She is a poor public speaker and a poor decision maker. Time and again, her popularity goes up when she keeps a low profile and drops when people actually see her. That is why she had such a small part in her announcement video and why she is going to small gatherings instead of making speeches before large crowds. Her campaign is trying to sell the idea of Hillary rather than the candidate herself. That may be enough to get her the nomination but it is unlikely to save her from a skilled Republican opponent.

The Republicans are already running anti-Hillary ads. This may be a mistake. If she stumbles at this point then her replacement will have "that new car smell" as President Obama put it and will be harder to beat.