Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hillary’s Best :Frenemies"

On the GOP side of the isle, the would be GOP presidential candidates comprise a virtual clown car of lunacy with some like Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee having little chance of winning in the general elections.  On the Democrat side, we have undeclared Hillary Clinton, the draft Elizabeth Warren crowd -  personally I like Warren, but question her ability to win in the general election at this point in time - and folks like Jim Webb who seem to have no real base of support.  Add to that the fact that none of Hillary Clinton's "friends" will speak ill of her and some believe Hillary is "inevitable."  Here are highlights from a piece in Politico that looks at the current situation:

What makes Jim Webb a better presidential candidate than Hillary Clinton? “I really don’t have an answer for you on that,” the former Virginia senator told NPR late last month. Where does Martin O’Malley differ from Clinton as a leader? “My mind is not even in the compare-contrast mode,” O’Malley told the New York Times. How does the bombastic Bernie Sanders feel about the candidate he’s planning to challenge for the Democratic nomination? “This is a woman I respect, clearly a very intelligent person,” Sanders said Monday. 

With enemies like these, who needs friends?

Time and time again, when invited to criticize Clinton, her potential Democratic primary rivals have ducked, deflected and dodged. They’re trying to present themselves as viable alternatives to the daunting frontrunner without addressing the obvious question of how they stack up against her.

“At the end of [interviews], somebody has to ask me a question about Hillary, and I try not to attack her. Usually, no matter what I say, it becomes ‘Hillary Clinton,’” said Sanders, raising his arms in a sweeping gesture as if to indicate that Clinton’s name becomes the banner headline. “What I’m running on are the issues … Her name recognition is about 10 times greater than mine, so if I run, it would take a lot of work getting around the country introducing myself to people.”

With Elizabeth Warren continuing to resist entreaties to enter the race, liberals are still waiting for a serious challenger to Clinton to emerge — if only to ensure the party’s progressive wing gets the attention and respect it believes its views deserve. 

The repeated questions and dodges underscore the unusual nature of the Democratic race. Though Clinton is a private citizen who has not declared she is running, she has cultivated an aura of inevitability so strong that, “She’s tantamount to an incumbent,” in the words of Democratic consultant Tad Devine.

Naturally, voters will want to know how lesser-known candidates compare to Clinton, but advisers to those candidates argue that talking about the former secretary of state would be a mistake.

“It makes no sense, whether it’s Webb, Sanders, or O’Malley, to start a campaign by going on the attack,” said an adviser to one Democrat considering a 2016 run who was not authorized to speak on the record about messaging strategy. “It would be putting the cart before the horse a little bit to start lobbing bombs at Hillary Clinton before you even enter the race.”

“You need to make an affirmative case before you get to the contrast,” said the adviser, who added that Mitt Romney erred in 2012 by focusing on Obama before he had articulated a positive vision of his own candidacy.

[T]he Democratic field faces something of a Catch-22. Because no challenger has gained traction, Clinton feels little pressure to campaign and is reportedly considering postponing an announcement until July. But the longer Clinton stays out of the race, the longer she can avoid taking positions that opponents can attack to gain traction.

Webb, Sanders and O’Malley are all planning to travel to early primary states in the coming weeks and months, and the pressure to define themselves in contrast to Clinton will only intensify.  For now, though, they’re content to play nice.
I like many of the views of Sanders and Warren.,  My concern again is who can win in November, 2016.  Right now, I think Hillary may be the Democrats' best bet.  Readers thoughts?

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