July 11, 2013

Thursday Hillary Bash - National Journal Edition

Ed Morrissey ar Hot Air beat me to this story, but let's face it, he is full time, better funded, and let's face it, more talented than me.

Hillary Clinton may have missed her window thanks to Obama's tenure.  That seems to be the case the liberal National Journal is making, or at least hinting at now. The question asked - is she peaking too soon?
Crack organizers from President Obama's campaigns are the latest political honchos to join the Clinton-for-president movement and, like others involved, they say they are just trying to make things "Ready for Hillary" if she decides to run. But the bandwagon effect is fueling an "inevitability" narrative that damaged Clinton in 2008, and is allowing her no reprieve from politics.

The Ready for Hillary super PAC announcement of a partnership with 270 Strategies, coming on top of earlier testimonials from prominent Democrats, feeds the impression that the non-existent Clinton campaign is a runaway train about to reach top speed (albeit without an engineer at the controls). Former Clinton campaign aide Mo Elleithee says the actual significance of the new partnership is merely that "there are a lot of people that want her to run. That's all it means. She is not in this race yet, and there's no guarantee that she ever will be."

The early and intense focus on Clinton recalls 2008, when she was wrongly assumed to be the prohibitive front-runner for the Democratic nomination. The constant spotlight now means Clinton remains a political target even as friends and associates say she is trying to focus on advocacy, speeches, and writing a book about her tenure as secretary of State. "What they're doing is fantastic," Elleithee says of Ready for Hillary, but "I do think it is adding to the hyper-politicization of every move she makes." He says her advocacy for women, children, and families, a lifelong crusade, is more important to her right now than politics.
As Morrissey points out, Clinton may look even more like yesterdays news by 2016, even as nostalgia for her may grow as the Obama presidency plays out. But there's another possible dynamic at work. There is no evidence being proffered that she has indeed reached a peak. She may still be ascending.

A better question might be is her trajectory one guaranteed to supersede other potential contenders? If the economy stays tepid at best, might a popular Democrat governor like (now Senator) Mark Warner be most appealing to Democrats?  If the hope and change isn't complete yet, might someone like Andrew Cuomo or more likely a Deval Patrick have a better shot?

Clinton is by no means inevitable, but as conservatives have been surprised by expected weak opposition in the recent past (both Bill Clinton, and Obama), who the candidate becomes, is probably less important than the connectivity of the message they craft versus the message of their Republican opponent composes.

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