This post was first published a couple of weeks ago on www.economicmemos.com. Since then Senator Warren has announced that she will not run for President, an announced that is good for the party. I admire Senator Warren and believe that there is a need for a liberal challenger but I believe that Senator Warren can do more good in the Senate than in a very difficult race for the White House.
2008 was Hillary's year. Sadly she lost.
She has the right to choose to run again but it is my fear that the theme song for such a run would be the Beetles classic "Yesterday" rather than the 1992 Fleetwood Mac song "Thinking about Tomorrow." If she does run there is a real need for a strong viable alternative and a lot of debates in a non-rigged contest.
Next week I hope to write several posts for www.dailymathproblem.blogspot.com.
Here is the reprint.
Anointing Hillary is a disaster
The Democratic party is waiting for Hillary Clinton to decide whether she is running in 2016. It is possible that there will be no serious challenge to Hillary Clinton. This is a potential disaster for the Democrats.
I admire Hillary Clinton. I voted for her in 2008 and was very sad when she lost. She has greatly contributed to the nation. But her resume is not unique. There are many qualified people (both male and female) in the Democratic party who could lay claim to this nomination. The party and the nation deserve a discussion of the issues and the ability to assess alternatives.
There is almost always a vigorous competition for a nomination except when a sitting president is running for reelection. Think about 1972 when Humphrey, Muskie, McGovern, and Jackson — all people with longer resumes than Clinton — competed for the top job. Even in 1932, FDR was challenged. At that time it took 2/3 of the delegates to secure the nomination. It took FDR thee ballots.
There is a thirst in the Democratic party for a female president and this is long overdue. But candidates are not or should not be elected because of their gender. Neither Thatcher not Merkel won because they were female and males did not step aside because it was time for a woman. Thatcher and Merkel won because they beat their competition on the merits.
In 2008, many people elated in the victory of the first black president. This was an important moment for America, given our history. Obama won the campaign and deserved the job because he won. I don’t believe race either race or gender should be a determinative factor in selecting a President.
Young women are doing well. In many measures better than young males. It would be wrong to assume that the need for a woman President will resonate with younger female voters.
Campaigns improve candidate performance. Both Clinton and Obama improved in 2008. If no one challenges Hillary she will be out of shape in the general election.
Campaigns are important because they let voters know where candidates stand on the issues. Where does Mrs. Clinton stand on cap and trade versus a carbon tax? How does Mrs. Clinton plan to fix the problems with the ACA? How would Mrs. Clinton improve our education system? The Republicans will be discussing their choices from Iowa to their convention. The Democrats have an obligation to put forward their ideas.
Let’s face it, Mrs. Clinton is old. Ronald Reagan was also old while President and his age may have affected his performance in the second term. She deserves consideration because of her considerable experience but her age is a factor. Also, her health may be an issue as demonstrated by an event at the end of her tenure as Secretary of State. I would be more convinced that she was up to the job if she survived a vigorous fight for the nomination. (Reagan survived a vigorous nomination battle in 1980.)
The Clintons have dominated the Democratic party for a long time. There are a lot of really smart people in the nation and in the Democratic party. In my view, Obama over relied on the Clinton rolodex when choosing his team. I want to see new blood in government. This would be facilitated by a nomination battle, even if Hillary ends up as the eventual winner.
This is not a left versus right issue, nor is it about Elizabeth Warren. There are a lot of smart people out there with diverse views. Hillary does deserve consideration but she should not be anointed. She needs to beat the competition, just as FDR, Reagan, Thatcher and Merkel did.