September 18, 2003

Senator Clinton Announces Her Intention to Not Reveal Her Intentions Concerning Her Presidential Candidacy

Like Beetlejuice, I've seen this exorcism of the Democratic hopefuls now about 167 times, and it just keeps getting funnier every time I see it. What a farce.

Now, I'll admit that I haven't a clue whether or not General Clark will be a good candidate or not, or whether he can beat the Bushes (George and Jeb) to be the next President. But, I will say the effusive gushing over his announced candidacy seems like another triumph of style over substance. The vocal Democrats seem to believe that since he wore a uniform, that's all that matters to offset the self-inflicted untouchable status they seem to have when it comes to national security issues during a time of war. What General Clark actually seems to think and believe aren't at all clear, so they must be irrelevant. To the extent we know much of anything about General Clark from his time in Kosovo and his talking head appearances during the liberation of Iraq, his track record is something less than sterling. But as I have already written, I believe he is running for VP, not P. He hopes to be able to help a candidate from the Northeast illiberal establishment with some votes in the South, and let's face it, it probably won't take a lot of votes to pull it off. Hasn't everyone else noticed that all the "serious" candidates except for Gephardt (who has no chance in my opinion) are from New England -- again. New England and California do not an electoral majority make, and without some help, it will be a worse electoral result for the Democrats than in 2000.

So who's going to lead the ticket? Well, Maple-powered Howard is out in front and still seems to be the likely candidate, but Howard screwed up when he made it clear that he was not going to pay homage at the alter of Clinton. I think Hillary would have been willing to wait until 2008, or even 2012 assuming Howard could pull it off, but when Howard indicated he was going to clean house at the DNC, well, he's talking about eroding their power base and removing the complete control that the Clinton's currently have over the Democrat Party, and that cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

So now, we have the rumors starting that Hillary may run after all. Now, I cannot see Hillary sublimating her imperial ambitions (she is the junior Senator from the Empire State, after all) and offering to take a step backward from co-President to Vice President (it is strange to think that she was probably more powerful than the Vice President during the Clinton administrations), so I expect to see Hillary step forward sometime in the next month or so to take the top of the ticket. General Clark will clearly help her more in the general election than any of the other nine declared Democratic candidates. It is also amusing to watch news reports of the good citizens of New York offering to release Hillary from her promise to serve out her term in the Senate. After all, like Bill, I'm sure Hillary has always planned to keep all the promises she meant to keep.

Hillary can bide her time, because the moment she enters the race she'll be the Democratic frontrunner -- no doubt about it. I wonder if she and Bill are waiting to see if perhaps no one will accumulate enough delegates so that she could be offered up as a compromise candidate at the Democratic National Convention. This would allow her to save her campaign money and avoid another 6-8 months of bad publicity concerning her strong negatives. It's a risky strategy, but then again, if Howard starts off too strong all she has to do is declare she's a candidate and it's all over but the balloon drop anyway.

So there you have it, its Bush-Cheney against Clinton-Clark in 2004. You may not have heard it here first, but who knows. Personally, I look forward to Dick Cheney eating General Clark alive in a debate if he gets the chance.

Posted by Charles Austin at September 18, 2003 07:28 PM