Political Animal


November 27, 2012 5:16 PM The HillaryWatch Begins

By Ed Kilgore

Well, it had to start soon, given the general consensus among Democrats that even a sitting two-term vice president wouldn’t have a prayer of beating her in the primaries. So Mark Ambinder weighs in with the first serious post-election will-she-or-won’t-she piece about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential aspirations. He begins with the most pertinent issue:

People who have spoken to Clinton about her future and, importantly, who have spoken with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, are not ready to bet on odds any greater than 50:50 that she decides to run. In fact, Clinton discourages speculation within her inner circle not by swearing them to omerta but by simply laughing off the possibility that she needs to make a decision anytime soon.

Since no one—say, Martin O’Malley or Andrew Cuomo—is about to start building a campaign until they have a clue about Clinton’s intentions, her “availability,” to use an archaic phrase, will likely freeze the field for longer than has been the case in quite a few years, says Ambinder.

If I had to bet, I’d bet that she decides to run, if only because she will feel that destiny and circumstance have put her in the right place at the right time. She may feel that she owes it to young women and those who supported her to finish the marathon of American politics.

This sort of speculation is interesting right now, but it will soon get very old. So work on your HillaryWatch BS filter, because real information is likely to be scarce for a good while.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • troglodyte on November 27, 2012 5:38 PM:

    My own take is that Hillary would be a candidate of the wrong generation in 2016, and so should not run. (This is not ageism, because she will be far sharper than Reagan at the same birthday.) However, wouldnt it be nice if Hillary's indecision kept the 2016 Dem race in suspended animation until after the 2014 midterm elections, so that we could avoid a 4-year campaign?

  • Alison S on November 27, 2012 6:38 PM:

    Hilary is a very accomplished individual, but I am not sure she should run. I would not be concerned with her age as much as the dynasty thing which is not necessarily in the best interests of the country. I would love to see Al Franken with VP Elizabeth Warren. Now that would be a great progressive ticket and less hawkish to boot.

  • g on November 27, 2012 7:35 PM:

    If I were Hillary, I wouldn't want to run. What a pain in the ass that would be, after a long career of accomplishments, at her age? Who would want the raftloads of shit the Republicans would throw at her, and who would want the obstructionism that would come if she won?

    If the woman says no, she means no.

  • MuddyLee on November 27, 2012 7:40 PM:

    I think I agree with "no dynasty" if no more Bushes on the repub side is part of the deal too. Would love to see Elizabeth Warren on the ticket someday. Is Franken really that serious? I don't like Biden or Cuomo. If somebody can come up with a third party, how about Condi Rice and Susan Rice running together? Against Lindsey Graham and John McCain or maybe Meghan McCain for the Republicans....just kidding...the repubs probably want Paul Ryan or Rand Paul since America is obviously desperate for more Ayn Rand influence. But seriously, if McCain and Graham have a problem with Susan Rice, why didn't they have a huge problem with Condi Rice?

  • Mimikatz on November 27, 2012 7:46 PM:

    It is hard for me to imagine at age 70, that Hillary would want to run in 4 years and then serve 4 years as President. Time to retire! Time for all the Boomers to retire! I'd like to see many more younger people, who are the ones with he real stake in the future, take over the reins of power and try to solve some of our problems, particularly climate change. The only way I could support Hillary is if she explicitly ran for 1 term with. Strong person as VP who would run in 2020.

  • Mudge on November 27, 2012 7:55 PM:

    One can only hope that Hillary would be like Nancy Pelosi as president.

  • Hue & Cry on November 27, 2012 8:47 PM:

    I would welcome Hillary and Bill. She will rest more after leaving the SOS position, which has to be exhausting. And she would beat the Huntsman, if he ran.
    I'll take a Clinton dynasty any day! She is not old.
    Brilliant people. Savvy. I loved the 90's

  • sjw on November 27, 2012 9:01 PM:

    If Cllinton ran, she'd have an excellent chance of winning and keeping the presidency in Democratic hands. A Cuomo, Warren, etc. wouldn't be close to matching what she could do electorally, especially if the Republicans find their way back to the middle. So, for selfish reasons, I would love for Clinton to throw her hat in the ring.

  • Joe Friday on November 27, 2012 9:07 PM:

    The pressures from the party will likely be very high for Hillary to run. She garnered more total votes in the Democratic Primary than Obama did. Who else could reprise that ?

    The primary would likely be over rather quickly, which would be a big advantage, as the Republicans are sure to have yet another free-fer-all clown car circus primary even worse than the one they just had, driving the Republican brand down even further.

    I can't even imagine who the Republicans would try and run against her. Chris Christie ? Come on. And women already comprise the majority of voters.

    As to the RightWing crazies coming after her, after the last few years, we now know their lunacy in regards to her husband was not an aberration. They will be coming after whoever the Democratic party nominates.

  • Jack Lindahl on November 27, 2012 9:11 PM:

    I agree that HC would have a good chance of winning if she ran, but ... My own take is that Hillary would be a candidate of the wrong generation in 2016, and so should not run.

    We can't go back. Time to pass the torch and leave it passed.

  • Nick on November 27, 2012 9:53 PM:

    The heck with torch-passing. I want to win. Cuomo? Stone-cold loser. The base dislikes him; he's a Wall Street Democrat, he's from New York, and he's ugly. O'Malley? Zzzzzzz .... Warren? As old as HRC and nowhere near a Prez-level campaigner. Face it, gang: we laugh at the GOP and rightfully so, but 2016 isn't gonna be a repeat of the 2012 clown car. I mean, there will be clowns, but the kind of clowns who can win: Ryan, Rubio, Christie, Daniels ... this is still America and more than 60 million people thought Romney should be President.

  • James E. Powell on November 27, 2012 9:59 PM:

    I'm against it and I like Hillary Clinton.

    In 2016, we need the candidate of the next eight years, not the candidate of the last twenty.

    We need to keep beating the Republicans in the new young voters demographic. Nothing will do more to bring about real progressive change.

  • hornblower on November 27, 2012 11:24 PM:

    Please ignore any talk about 2016. Anyone who has time for this now needs to find a new hobby or profession.

  • divF on November 28, 2012 10:08 AM:

    I would like to have a replay of 2008, in the sense that we identified an extraordinary candidate because of a tough and closely fought primary process that still allowed for a (mostly) unified and energized party going into the general election. If Hilary is part of that mix, good for her - she will either win, or bring out the best in the ultimate nominee. My question is, who is in the pool of candidates that could rise to the occasion ?

  • Richard Hershberger on November 28, 2012 10:10 AM:

    "O'Malley? Zzzzzzz .... "

    I moved to Maryland when O'Malley was mayor of Baltimore. During Hurricane Isabelle I was watching an impromptu news conference on TV. There were a bunch of senior police and fire department types standing around the podium, and this rather buff guy at the mike giving bad news straight. It was, admittedly, not huge bad news: the city had been set up stations to distribute dry ice for people who had lost power, but they were out and they weren't getting more. But it was bad news nonetheless, presented with no bullshit. I was shocked when I realized that this was the mayor speaking. He did not give off any "politician" vibe. I had assumed he was a firefighter. I have liked him ever since, even before learning he was in an Irish bar band.

  • Doug on November 28, 2012 6:27 PM:

    Sorry, but rejecting the possibility of an HRC candidacy in order "to pass the torch" to a younger generation IS ageism. Nor do I see any problem with political "dynasties" as, as far as I know, noone is forced to vote for someone because of the candidate's name. Just because Republicans support unqualified family members doesn't mean we can't support qualified ones. Whether or not someone is qualified should be our only criteria.
    And, as noted, just who is the torch to be passed to? Sen. Warren is only a couple of years younger than HRC. Cuomo would be a disaster. O'Malley might be a good candidate, but he'd better start getting his name out there. There may be others, but they suffer from the same problem as O'Malley - a lack of recognition.
    If HRC has the inclination and her health in 2016, I'll happily vote for her should she receive the nomination and then cheer when she wins.