Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Why Is Hillary Clinton Even Running?

Hillary has no resume to run on. Is America ready for her to dial up the culture war to 11? 

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media

Photo via PJ

Photo via PJ

That is not as stupid a question as it first sounds. Ostensibly we know her four ready answers.

I. Who Else?

One, there is no other credible Democrat who could run for presidency. The senior party leadership — Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Dianne Feinstein — is shrill and buffoonish. They all have either tried before and failed, or are ossified has-beens — or both. There are no up-and-coming governors with distinguished records of executive success. There are no young charismatic Democratic senators — other than the well-preserved, 65-year-old Harvard populist Elizabeth Warren — out to make a name, who can speak well and mirror image a Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or Mario Rubio. Congressional-district gerrymandering that encourages ethnic chauvinism and hard-left polarization has almost ensured that there will not be another minority star, like Barack Obama, who can win crossover votes and statewide office as a springboard to the White House.

II. Her Turn

Two, Hillary Clinton, like a Walter Mondale, Bob Dole or John McCain, believes that it is finally her turn. In her case she lost in 2008 and loyally served the man who defeated and often humiliated her (“you’re likable enough, Hillary” Obama condescendingly remarked [1] during a debate of Democratic presidential candidates in January of 2008).

She feels that she was robbed of a sure nomination by the upstart Obama, who cut in front of the line with his inane “hope and change” banalities and subtle race carding, as if racial chauvinism must always trump gender pandering. She blew a huge lead in the primaries, licked her wounds, and now it is time for the party to unite loyally behind her the way she did with Obama.

III. First Woman

Three, she thinks she can win largely on the issue of being the first woman president in the manner that Barack Obama milked his racially iconic status in lieu of a record. Her supporters believe that they can reignite the old wars: the Republican war on women, war on minorities, war on immigrants, war on the environment, war on the poor, war on everybody — and thereby galvanize the supposedly oppressed, as in 2008-2012, to register, turn out, and vote in lockstep in record numbers. Thereby they will more than make up for the millions of independents and white, blue-collar so-called Reagan Democrats that she will lose by such racial and gender histrionics.

IV. Money, Money, Money…

Four, Hillary Clinton assumes that she can buy her way to the White House and trump even the Obama shakedowns of the one-percent elite. No one grubs money better than the Clintons, who have turned a so-so presidential foundation into a money-laundering machine for their global jetting and politicking.

Both Bill and Hillary have an uncanny insight [2] into the very wealthy of Hollywood, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, the Upper West Side, and the Florida coast. They understand the formula: when many of the rich become very rich they no longer worry about high tax rates, either on the assurance that they have the capital and know-how to avoid them, or in the belief that that a 50% federal and state rate could hardly eat away much of their enormous pile. Huge federal redistributionist policies may fail and hurt the minorities and poor, but for now they are felt to be about the only insurance that the gates of the rich will not be stormed or their private schools and neighborhoods flooded.

The Clintons rightly sense that the one-percenters in certain fleeting moments feel awfully bad about their privilege. Thus they will feel much better about indulging their endless material appetites, if they give large tax-deductible contributions to the spread-the-wealth, help-the-helpless shtick of elite Democrats. The lifestyles of Hill and Bill over the last two decades reassure wealthy liberals that it is OK to wallow in the material good life [3] as long as you pay occasional penance for such indulgence — and there is no better atonement than helping Hillary Clinton out in 2016 to speak truth to power. After all, with students facing $1 trillion in aggregate debt, Clinton marched into UCLA, check-listed some liberal nostrums for 30 minutes and walked away with $300,000 without a complaint — or about $165 in scarce university dollars for each second of her pieties. In other words, Hillary is running because she has invested enough in the past that the money will be harvested as never before in a presidential race.

The Obama Tenure Was Good, Bad, or Nothing at All?

Otherwise, why is Mrs. Clinton running at all? She has no agenda. She is not a former vice president like Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, George H.W. Bush, or Al Gore who ostensibly promises to continue and amplify, for another four to eight years, the party visions of a popular and successful president.

Obama is neither successful nor especially popular. The Democratic Party is calcified. We still do not know to what degree the party supports the Obama deal with Iran, the Cuba outreach, or the executive-order mass amnesties. Hillary will not yell out at stadium crowds, “If you liked the last eight years, I promise eight more years just like them!”

Will she amplify or ignore her own Obama administration tenure as secretary of State? Will Americans hear that the plastic reset button with Vladimir Putin was a good or bad thing?

Will Clinton replay in her campaign commercials her boast over the deposed and murdered Khadafy (“We came, we saw, he died”) or her statement about the dead at Benghazi (“What difference does it make?”)? Or will she fear that the Republicans will use her own words against her [4]?

Will reneging on missile defense with the Poles and Czechs and ending George W. Bush’s mild ostracisms of Russia for snatching Ossetia [5] become a neat campaign talking point? Will she brag that we got all U.S. troops out of Iraq in 2011 [6], or that she helped set the foundations for the current Iranian negotiations? Were her Arab Spring policies smart diplomacy as evidenced by the current state of affairs in Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen? Will she say she had a hand in Obama’s “special relationship” with the Ottomanist Recep Erdogan of Turkey?

Perhaps she can point to her continual jawboning of Israel as the font for our current distancing from the Jewish state. Will she remind us that “al Qaeda is on the run”? Will she dare say radical Islam or will she stick to “overseas contingency operations,” “workplace violence,” and “man-caused disasters”?

A Domestic Record to Be Proud Of?

Of course, Mrs. Clinton will not run on her own foreign policy initiatives, such as they were, or her boss’s. Perhaps, then, she will turn to the generic Obama domestic record of 2009-16. But then will she praise or promise to reform the IRS, VA, NSA and Secret Service? Was the massive borrowing of the last administration — greater than all previous administrations’ red ink combined — a good or bad thing?

Maybe someone will object that Hillary Clinton is her own person and has no need either to support or distance herself from the administration that she so loyally served and aided.

What, then, is her agenda, in terms of economic and foreign policy? More borrowing, more social spending, more defense cuts, higher taxes still, more restrictions on fracking on public land, more promises to table the Keystone pipeline? Will she go full bore to promote cap and trade?

The point is that Mrs. Clinton has neither a past record that she is proud to run on nor support for an Obama administration tenure that she will promise to continue. She is not a good speaker and has a disturbing habit of switching accents [7] in amateurish attempts to mimic regional or racial authenticity. She accentuates her points by screaming in shrill outbursts, and dismisses serious questions by chortling for far too long. She is deaf to human cordiality, has a bad temper, and treats subordinates with haughty disdain. In that sense she is more authentic than her equally callous and narcissistic, but charismatic husband.

What Then?

What is then left? Actually one motif.

Hillary is both a victim and trailblazer. Her disastrous record of unethical and illegal activities — shaking down foreigners for donations to her foundation while secretary of State, creating her exclusive server for a private email account, destroying all her emails after admitting that she was judge and jury of what were and were not government records — is instead proof of right-wing McCarthyism.

Those who attack her are afraid of a woman president and what she represents — an inclusive social agenda that protects gays, women, and minorities from right-wing hooliganism and religious bigotry,  fire-and-brimstone anti-abortionists who want entrance into our bedrooms and to erect glass ceilings to thwart feminists, reincarnations of Bull Connors and Lester Maddoxes who would put blacks back in chains, nativists and restrictionists who hide their racism by faux calls for border enforcement, and greedy speculators and stock manipulators who care little for the 99%.

That is Hillary Clinton’s past, present, and future. There is nothing more [8]. No record — ever — of success, no innate charm, eloquence, brilliance,  or campaign savviness. And given her iconic female candidacy, her turn, her money — and the lack of an alternative — Hillary Clinton needs no agenda, whether a past one to defend or a future one to rally to.

The agenda is simply that Americans are not doing well because of all sorts of illiberal enemies who conspire to thwart them due to their class, race, and gender — and the nation’s first woman president will make it all nice.

Don’t laugh. It may well be a winning formula in the present-day United States.


Article printed from Works and Days: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson

URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/victordavishanson/why-is-hillary-clinton-even-running/

URLs in this post:

[1] Obama condescendingly remarked: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3DeCLPwxXI

[2] have an uncanny insight: https://www.commentarymagazine.com/2015/04/12/the-announcement-isnt-the-real-hillary-news/?utm_campaign=twitter&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitter

[3] to wallow in the material good life: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/the-road-to-elle-clintonworlds-plutographic-presidential-rollout/article/2562882

[4] will use her own words against her: http://hotair.com/archives/2015/04/10/hillary-clinton-2007-the-iran-threat-is-too-important-for-the-president-to-act-without-congress/

[5] for snatching Ossetia: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bush-condemns-russias-attack-on-georgia/

[6] out of Iraq in 2011: http://pjmedia.com/eddriscoll/2014/05/01/no-white-house-guidance/

[7] has a disturbing habit of switching accents: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xk7hFnB4JnA

[8] There is nothing more: https://twitter.com/IAMMGraham/status/587227474741764096

Copyright © 2015 Works and Days. All rights reserved.

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

16 Thoughts on “Why Is Hillary Clinton Even Running?

  1. Amazing how far she has ridden us so far and long with, ‘How dare you not let me enslave you?”

  2. Hoi Polloi Boy on April 14, 2015 at 7:53 am said:

    “The senior party leadership — Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Dianne Feinstein — is shrill and buffoonish.”
    The most shrill and bufoonish is the Hildebeast, with moronic statements like she used only the personal email account “for convenience,” because she “thought it would be easier to carry one device.” Don’t forget the 15 second hysterical rant (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NJxmpTMGhU0) where she screeched “I am sick and tired…”
    I am so ready for Hillary.

  3. Rick Bonsteel on April 14, 2015 at 8:18 am said:

    Don’t ever underestimate point number 3. As Romney correctly said — and got vilified for saying so* — there are 47 percent who will never vote Republican. All she has to do is get those east- and west-coast “post-sexist” hipsters on board.

    * his comment being so much more insulting and newsworthy than minor slips like “tell Vlad I’ll have more room after the election” or “Netanyahu is a chickensh!t.”

  4. Lance Benner on April 14, 2015 at 8:33 am said:

    Mr. Hanson, your last statement is spot on! She just may win the election and a whole new Hell will begin!
    Perhaps, she, along with the other liberal Democrats, have taken this country so far off the rails that it will probably never get back on them!
    We, the Constitution loving, moral, upright, God fearing, Conservatives sit back and watch a great nation collapse due the Liberal’s amoral policies and our (and our elected representatives) weakness to confront them.

  5. Karl Horst (Germany) on April 14, 2015 at 9:23 am said:

    We here in Germany have watched the Clintons for years and have been utterly amazed. The corruption and scandals seen to never end, even up to the most recent issue with her personal server being used for official government business. Even our most liberal minded elites are impressed with the audacity of what Hillary is able to do and get away with. The lack of accountability for so high an office is like nothing we have ever witnessed.

    While she may feel she is deserving because “it’s time for a woman to be in the While House”, the question people must honestly ask is simply “What accomplishments in your past positions, do you believe qualifies you for the job?” It’s the same question anyone hiring a person would ask; It’s not a racist or sexist question, but it makes a point few who wish to be in power can answer in a way that strikes confidence in their potential.

    If political and personal scandals, back-room politics, poor leadership and lack of good decision making skill have become the cornerstone of leadership in America, then based on the precedents set by Bill Clinton, G. W. Bush and your current president Obama, she’s probably over qualified and should be an easy win.

    Years ago in our own history, Germans rallied behind a chancellor who we thought was taking our country in the right direction. There was a lot of change, but we were ultimately left with little hope.

  6. Tyrone Washington on April 14, 2015 at 9:46 am said:

    Hillarious is running purely out of arrogance. She thinks that her long-suffering on the sidelines as Bubba screwed everybody should be rewarded, at long last.

    Look, *experience* as a senator, and a *secretary of state*. What more could you ask? She almost doesn’t look as stupid as Nancy Pelosi, or Maxine Waters.

    But seriously, the overwhelming majority of Democrats would never think of voting any other way, such is the brainwashing they have been through for the past 40 years. To do otherwise would be to admit they are “racist” and “sexist” and ‘homophobic” and “hate the poor” and on and on. Unbearable.

  7. You mean dial the Culture War to 12, right? Electing a black president had the effect of dialing it to 11.

    [sarcasm] It’d be awful to lose as useful a resource such as White Guilt just because we have evidence in front of us that yes indeed anybody can grow up to e president. [/sarcasm]

  8. zygote314 on April 14, 2015 at 9:55 am said:

    Hillary’s strategey to get to the White House is simple: she will hide behind her chromosomes every step of the way. Like a Kevlar pants suit, her status as the ‘first’ female president will protect her from the slings and arrows that should naturally fall on someone with such a failed record as hers. The ground work is already being laid out as evidenced by her campaign’s recent warning to any prospective critic that calling Hillary, Hillary, a brand name she has carefully pimped and cashed in on, is now a sexist landmine.

    Will there be enough American voters able to pierce the body armor of this dangerously inept and deeply flawed candidate? Can a Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio or Scott Walker expose the shallowness of her naked ambition to be president? Will substance and integrity prevail in the next presidential election?

    Let’s hope so.

  9. sir:

    “nothing succeeds like success, nothing fails like success.” isaac asimov. it all turns around so quickly.

    john jay

  10. Johan Berger on April 14, 2015 at 10:42 am said:

    …and Quin Hillyer of Natl review fame gave a thorough run-down of her previous and current scandals – as if a going over wasn’t necessary..

    The ‘dame’ and her sometime flame are a modern version of Bonnie and Clyde!!

  11. Geppetto on April 14, 2015 at 12:02 pm said:

    I’m not laughing. Haven’t been since “The One” was elected in 08 and became increasingly concerned for the future of America when he won again in 2012. With this as concrete evidence of the political obtuseness of the American electorate responsible for this current debacle, being a woman coupled with a constant barrage of accusations of the “virulent misogyny” of whoever is chosen as the republican nominee, may just be all Ms. Clinton needs in 2016 and, if I was a religious person, I’d say, “God help America.”

  12. Doctor French on April 14, 2015 at 3:08 pm said:

    The only problem is the republican party which is the stupid party.
    It is a full possiblity that they loose against Hillary…..

    Hillary next president of the US?

    Que dieux nous en préserve………..

  13. David Park on April 16, 2015 at 9:37 am said:

    Sometimes U.S. elections seem more like voting for a popular actor in some Academy Award process. After seeing how terrible some of the winning actors have been, it seems wise in the next election to vote for a leader and manager of the country instead. Let the bad actors run other countries.

  14. Rufus T Firefly on April 18, 2015 at 12:42 pm said:

    Hillary is so evil that she could easily be the Republican nominee.

  15. Daniel Roll on April 18, 2015 at 3:41 pm said:

    If elected, Mrs. Clinton will abuse the power of her office in a manner that will make Barak Obama look like James Madison.

  16. WRFREE on April 21, 2015 at 4:43 am said:

    Re: ‘…abuse of power….’

    Hey and where are those ’emails’?? Sad to say but I do not believe her invisible skill set is minimally sufficient to be a greeting lady at the Capitol . From the looks of it she looks happy to play with magic by simply hitting the delete key and doing a ‘poof!’ And the ‘yellow-brick’ road is open once again to the White House.

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