Finally at last, as my English major mother used to say with a wink in parody of those less grammatical. What has been certain all along now has become actual. Hillary Clinton has made her move to become the first woman president … for the second time.
Why not? She has been everything else … first lady, senator, secretary of state and royal pain in the neck to Republicans who are lining up by the dozens to run against her.
This time around, the pundits tell us, she will be championing the wage earners of America. The underdogs; those of the stagnant incomes who are slaving to make ends meet while the top one tenth of one percent of Americans who own most of the wealth have become steadily richer.
However, while she may be looking to capture the sympathy of the income underclass, she will necessarily not shun those who can help her raise the $2 billion plus she is expected to spend on her campaign. Just imagine! And since she left the State Department, she has demanded and received as much as $300,000 for a speech.
The startling amount of money she will lay out in hopes of winning back the bedroom in the White House she left 14 years ago also has to be considered in the light of the fact none of it will have to be spent to secure the nomination, at least so far. There just isn’t a Democrat who seems interested in challenging her although there are several who would like a candidate more traditionally liberal like Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the state where the liberal elite meet to eat and hatch revolution.
Is there a better known candidate anywhere? Maybe one who comes close is Jeb Bush, Florida’s former governor, who is the flag bearer for the GOP’s moderate wing. You know, the guys who are more interested in winning back the presidency than maintaining ideological purity. But Bush’s fame stems mainly for his name alone and not for super achievement and just as could be expected, he has of late turned his countenance toward the right to prove his conservative credentials.
Clinton’s official entry, of course, will be assailed with all the vitriol Republicans can muster. She has been after all too long in the game not to have provided them with a mountain of ammunition from Whitewater to Benghazi and from alleged but unproven lamp throwing in her previous White House tenure to thumbing her nose at regulations requiring her to use government email.
The assault on her aloofness and every other character flaw real or imagined they can dream up already has begun.
She has nearly 24 years in the national public eye managed to withstand all the efforts to discredit her and is at this very early stage of the race for the presidency. Is she imperious? You bet. Is she demanding and long suffering? Absolutely. But she also is savvy in the ways of politics and resilient as hell.
That’s not meant to be an endorsement. She has to overcome a negative factor that stems from just too much exposure if nothing else. But there is that overriding female factor. Millions of women voters, whether they love her or not, can be expected to cast their ballots in defense of their gender, which they believe has been denied the highest office in the land for far too long. The fact that her bid for the nomination in 2008 was thwarted by a male late in the game still rankles many of her sisters.
Perhaps her edge comes from the overcrowded GOP field, which seems to grow larger every day. The infighting among themselves is predictably going to get more extensive, turning attention away from the ultimate target.
Clinton obviously won’t remain untrammeled until the nominations are settled next summer. She has to determine how much help she wants from her former boss, Obama, whose ratings are low and for that matter her charismatic husband from whom she needs to display independence.
Still she is much better equipped to run the race than she was eight years ago and she is far more her own woman. She most likely will start off slowly building her ground organization in states like Iowa where her stock was low eight years ago.
Is it time for a woman? It certainly is. Is she the right one? We'll find out. At this embryonic stage of the race, one would have to bet on her.
Dan Thomasson is an op-ed columnist for Tribune News Service and a former vice president of Scripps Howard Newspapers. Readers may send him email at: : firstname.lastname@example.org .
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