Special guest post by M. Joseph Sheppard.
The Punditocracy has Hillary Clinton as not only the odds on favorite for the 2016 Democratic party nomination but as the certain winner against whichever hapless Republic is thrown to the wolves as a sacrificial lamb.
That scenario is of course highly possible, especially the nomination part, under current circumstances. The qualifier is of course “current circumstances” as who knows what the political, social and perhaps most importantly, economic picture will look like in six months much less two years from now.
In early 2008 I recall seeing an “Electoral college map” which illustrated what states, in what was obviously a cynical portrayal of a hopeless case, then Senator Barack Obama would win if he were the Democrat’s nominee. The entire country, except Illinois, was a mass of gleaming red-such are the vagaries of auguries.
But to even get to that Mondalian position Obama would have to win the nomination by breaking down the walls and crossing the moat of the seemingly impenetrable fortress of Senator Clinton-all of which came to pass against nearly all expectations.
What might cause a similar collapse of Clinton’s hopes, if such they are, for 2016? Again, in opposition to the pundits certainties, they are legion.
Nobody of goodwill wishes Secretary Clinton ill health but health, especially for in elder who has had problems, perhaps serious ones, and who is, by her own admission not in the best shape may be a deciding factor especially where a long and grueling campaign may be on offer. Thus for that, significant factor alone she may choose not to run and who could blame her.
The social picture as a defining factor is a bit harder to quantify or pin down. America will have had eight years of liberal, progressive, social policies including same-sex marriage imposed by judicial fiat. It may be the social pendulum will cause a desire to see the pendulum swing to a more conservative, states rights based attitude.
Such social attitudes can play a significant role as they most certainly did during the 2004 campaign. Whether they are of such a significant factor by themselves as to give Mrs. Clinton pause is moot but, taken with other factors they may provide a tipping point.
“The “other factor” of major significance could well be the economy. If, after 7-8 years of economic stagnation which has produced a surly mood in the public, (63% feeling the country is on “the wrong track” at present
) there is a significant stock market crash then it would be a brave person, Clinton or any other, who would wish to campaign with the albatross of having to defend the Obama administration around their neck.
There need be no further example of what such a scenario can do than the abrupt end of John McCain’s 2008 campaign after he, with the obvious assistance of Governor Palin, jumped into the lead after the GOP convention only to fall permanently behind two week later as the share market collapsed.
And of course the political environment may be so toxic for the Dem’s that the nomination would appear quixotic at best. A clearer picture of this will emerge after the November mid-terms and if there is anything like the 2010 swing to the GOP with an increase in House seats, governorship’s and most especially capture of the senate with up to 54 seats then that too may dissuade Clinton from running.
The thought of having to defend a seriously out of favor Obama administration without the ability to cast herself as a new broom not associated with it, as McCain was able to do with the Bush administration would be a serious handicap.
If any of the preceding scenario’s eventuate and persuaded or handicapped Mrs.Clinton from running then the stage would be set for a similar run by the only Democrat who could do “a McCain” and that would be Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Warren has indicated, time and again, that she would not run, regardless of the fact that “Ready for Warren” groups have been set up around the country, if Hillary Clinton ran This is sensible as the chances of Clinton being outflanked on the left for a second time would appear to be negligible.
But if Clinton does not run Warren would be assured of the “progressive” grass roots activist support which was a mainstay of Obama’s insurgency. A financial downturn or continuation of the sub-optimal economic environment would actually be a strong point for her as she is seen as the enemy of the banking class and a battler for the economically disadvantaged in the traditional state-ist leftist manner.
It would be a campaign of appeal to the traditional Democratic party roots whilst showing a clean pair of heels to the, by then, debunked, dispirited and condemned Beltway establishment wing. That Warren can, with credibility, distance herself from President Obama has been made strikingly clear with her Salon interview
“Elizabeth Warren on Barack Obama: “They protected Wall Street. Not families who were losing their homes. Not people who lost their jobs. And it happened over and over and over”
As with McCain, only a “rogue” campaign could be run with any credibility and Warren, also having the “it’s time for a woman” theme to hand, would be the only Democrat who could, with any credibility, mount such a campaign. It would be farcical to envisage Joe Biden running and winning under such circumstances, and a complete unknown such as Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley
making any headway.
The Republicans might well take note of how successful the “rogue” effort was for John McCain. That he could take a significant lead in the polls whilst running as the nominee of a party whose president was at rock bottom in his approval rating was a tribute to the power of the idea.
That a female nominee might be important to counter not only the Democrat of that gender but also the certain to be used “war on women” meme is a matter of serious consideration. That a nominee is needed that can appeal to the conservative grass roots who have voted in sufferance for establishment candidates or stayed at home in their millions is obvious.
There is only one high profile, tested, scrutinized to the nth degree female potential GOP presidential candidate who has not only an appeal to the grass roots but their admiration and love, and that is of course Sarah Palin.
A Palin candidacy would negate the “war on women” meme, the radical reformer against the special interest meme (Palin basically invented the “crony capitalism” attack concept) and there is nothing Warren could say in that respect which would make her superior to Palin in that populist messaging.
But above all Palin versus Warren would be a campaign of ideas and America would, finally, be given a stark choice between a states rights, small government, low taxes, individualism, pro-business, anti-amnesty, emphasis on right to life candidacy of the conservatives choice and its diametric opposite on the progressive left.
The Goldwater versus Johnson election had such a clear choice but the waters were muddied in that Johnson ran as the substitute for the martyred Kennedy and no Republican could have won. 2016 could see the choice starkly clear and epoch making for the body politic.
It would also be a joy to behold for psephologists, commentators and give political scientists years of analytically work post election. It would in the final analysis determine what sort of America would be in place for perhaps generations as did the Roosevelt election of 1932.
In what may turn out to be a highly significant event the Palin Vs.Warren campaign has had a preview of what it might look like already. The two prospective candidates positions could not be more stark in there opposition and a campaign of two such ideological heavyweights might stand America on its ear in a campaign the likes which have not been seen since Kennedy versus Nixon.
Race, gender, mudslinging ‘family values”and all the other ephemera, nonsense, distractions, red meat throwing, baiting and special interest patting would have to be tossed overboard in a genuine and absorbing campaign of ideas and ideals.
Governor Palin presented a rebuttal
to Senator Warren’s “11 Progressive Commandments” delivered to the progressive “Netroots”
convent ion in July on her new “Palin TV” channel.
These were set out in a step by step reply to Senator Warren’s points. Of course they are not the totality of Palin’s core positions
as they are limited to the responses to a “progressives” positions, but they are extremely significant as an indication of strongly held conservative thinking and, of course, as examples of Governor Palin’s main beliefs.
It is important, I believe, to set these out as if or when Governor Palin runs for high office they will serve as a touchstone for supporters and a rebuttal to opponents-most significantly of course if that opponent was Senator Warren.