Abstract Musings

Documenting the random thoughts of a cluttered mind

Peggy Noonan vs. Hillary Clinton

In a question and answer format, Peggy Noonan shares her thoughts about Hillary Clinton.

So how will she spend her time the next two years or so?

She will continue as the peerless fund-raiser of her party. She very much believes in money and its power to ensure success. She will continue to reach out to conservative opinion makers. She likes to surprise them by asking them to come by or go to lunch. This is bold and shrewd; it leaves them “surprised” and “curious,” the first step toward “more impressed than I wanted to be.” It won’t change their minds, but to some small degree she hopes it will declaw them. She will continue to quietly pork-barrel the left and push base-friendly issues while speaking more and more about improving the military and national security.

But wait a second, she can’t win her party’s nomination that way. The primary voting base of the Democratic Party is leftist.

Yes, but in her case it doesn’t matter. The base of the party will be with her, for two reasons. First, they know her history and know her. They believe she sees the world as they do but does certain things to survive. She was woven into the left and knew everyone on the left for 25 years.

Second and just as important, after the trauma of the Kerry loss, after the morass of doubt and depression in which the party now finds itself, she will seem to be one thing they really want: the person who can win. Because she is a winner. She always has been. The base will make a calculation not unlike the one she has made: We can play moderate to win, no problem.

You make it sound like a Hillary candidacy is inevitable.

She is inevitable as a candidate, but not as a president. There will be serious drawbacks and problems with her candidacy. When she speaks in a large hall she shouts and it is shrill; she sounds like some boomer wife from hell who’s unpacking the grocery bags and telling you that you forgot not just the mayo but the mustard.

That’s fixable, to some degree. What may not be fixable is that many voters associate her with a time of scandal and bad behavior. I mean not Monica, which the Clintons always pretend is The Scandal, but every other scandal of the Clinton era: FBI files, illegal fund-raising, sleazy pardons, the whole ugly mess. There will be some who associate her with the cultural disaster that was the Clinton presidency. There will be those who remember she and he led the country down a path both dark and merry while Osama tapped out his plans on a laptop in a cave.

Old media will attempt to insulate a Clinton campaign from these criticisms and her other negatives, just as it tried to shield John Kerry in this year’s election. This time around, the blogosphere stayed on the stories the media tried to spike and kept the pressure on until the MSM covered them. Next election could be different, however. Old media has four years to plan for Hillary’s campaign, and four years to plan for how to combat the blogosphere and its citizen journalists. To a certain degree, I think this has already started with MSM attack pieces coming after the election criticizing the entire blogosphere for the actions of a few. Also, throughout the election, old media constantly referred to bloggers as “right-wing” and “unprofessional”. Look for more attempts like these to occur and the frequency increase, as the MSM seeks to save itself and its chosen candidates.