Hey, America, have you heard of Hillary Clinton? She might run for office some day, so the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal and Politico and The Hill all have new stories about her. We can never get enough of Hillary Clinton.
Granted, with the shutdown over and the House kicking off its shoes, the world of American politics has slowed down dramatically over the past few weeks, and you have to write about something. So why not write about Hillary and 2016 and Hillary? (It's an enticing trap; we're writing about Hillary right now.)
Not that it's only these outlets writing about Hillary Clinton, potential presidential candidate. The graph at right shows mentions of Hillary Clinton on social media over time, via Topsy.com. The big spike is in January, when she left the administration — maybe because she wants to run for president did you hear. But since, there's been a steady torrent of Hillary chatter. Mountains of Hillary discussion and speculation and what-ifs whirling around the nucleus question: Will she run? At this point, if she doesn't, it's a work of comedic genius that even Andy Kaufman couldn't touch.
Fine. So let's see what is being written these days about Hillary Clinton, former and maybe future presidential candidate.
She can win the presidency if she runs. Politico, which officially kicked off its 2016 beat within six months of Obama's second inauguration, is already well ahead of the game in Hillary 2016 speculation. So on Monday, the site ran Maggie Haberman's look at which strategy Hillary should employ to win the race if she decides to run the race. Haberman's tip? Echo 2000. For example:
Clinton barely engaged with Iowa voters in a meaningful way in 2007, a fact that came back to bite her when the better-organized Obama vaulted ahead. Voters complained throughout the race about a lack of access to the candidate.
In 2000, by contrast, Clinton made a point of visiting towns that had rarely, if ever, seen a Democratic statewide political candidate before.
Haberman does note that the conditions of Clinton's 2000 race were a bit different: it pitted a well-known First Lady who'd recently been admired for enduring her husband's infidelity against a Republican no one had ever heard of in a state that is heavily Democratic. But still: advice to take to heart!
She's lining up endorsements, sort of, just in case, inadvertently. In an interview with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, The Hill asked the question on everyone's mind: Would Pelosi endorse Clinton if Clinton ran for president? And it got its answer!
The Hill broke that out from the rest of its Pelosi interview, under the headline, "Pelosi hints she might endorse Clinton."
She is giving speeches. The Wall Street Journal points out that Clinton is giving speeches and maybe those speeches are her outlining her policy priorities before a 2016 presidential campaign which she might undertake. "In a series of speeches around the country," the Journal's Peter Nicholas writes, "Mrs. Clinton has been laying down policy markers of sorts in overtures to crucial blocs within the party: African-Americans, liberals, Hispanics and gays and lesbians." It also notes that she would be the "instant Democratic front-runner" if she ran, somewhat undermining the premise that she's trying to build a strong base of support among obvious Democratic constituencies.
The story also doesn't note that Clinton gets a reported $200,000 per speech, which may provide an incentive for speech-giving besides establishing her 2016 bona fides.
She is helping other Democrats win elections. The Washington Post's Philip Rucker notes that the Clintons, Hillary and Bill, have been in Virginia helping gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. McAuliffe is stomping all over Republican Ken Cuccinelli, so let's talk Hillary.
The relationship carries political rewards and risks for both families. If McAuliffe wins the Nov. 5 election, the Clintons will have a trusted ally controlling one of the most important presidential swing states. But McAuliffe’s actions as governor would also reflect upon the Clintons, positively or negatively, far more than the actions of any other officeholder. McAuliffe’s history of using his deep political connections to benefit his private business portfolio would be put under a microscope again if Hillary Clinton runs for the White House.
This is not bad analysis, we'll point out; in fact, we noted that Hillary was probably doing the same thing in Arkansas.
She had a birthday. In a story about Saudi women challenging a law prohibiting them from driving, The New York Times' Ben Hubbard mentions one rumored reason for the protest: "Some opponents pointed out that Oct. 26 was the birthday of Hillary Rodham Clinton, implying a foreign hand in the planning."
Whether or not those Saudi opponents are aware that Clinton might also be running for president isn't clear.
Oh God, what if she doesn't run? This is the other favorite Hillary-related topic. What if she doesn't run? Then what? The Post's Chris Cillizza tackles this unpleasant option, outlining the tiers of other possible contenders. (Top tier: Vice President Joe Biden, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.) (Ha ha ha ha.) (Ted Cruz claps his hands appreciatively.)
But this represents the best thing about a possible Hillary 2016 bid. Even if she doesn't run, there is still a lot of stuff to talk about. What if she'd run? What would Hillary do if she were Elizabeth Warren? Why isn't Martin O'Malley driving around small towns in Iowa? And so on.
If and when Hillary Clinton announces a bid for the presidency — an event which, historically, is at least 18 months away — we will have a post about it, probably. So stay tuned until then.