Aaand, She's Off!
Monday April 13, 2015
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Well. I'm glad that's behind us.
Sometime around Three O'clock Eastern Time someone flipped a switch and sent out a Tweet saying:
I'm running for president. Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion. -H
The "-H" we were later told, means that particular Tweet was sent by Hillary her own self, not some staffer sitting in a cube in Brooklyn.
Alright. Hillary Clinton is an official candidate for President and nothing much changed.
The Hillary campaign put the announcement video up on YouTube, thus proving to the world that a woman who, by her own admission, struggled sending and receiving emails on a Blackberry while Secretary of State has become fully conversant with the social media lexicon.
Every political organization from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to the Jeb Bush political operation owes her a fee because they all went to the mattresses and opened new fund-raising appeals.
The DCCC's was that the U.S. needs to give President Hillary a Democratic Congress to work with. Jeb's video said:
"We must do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged relationships with our allies and emboldened our enemies."
Will Hillary Clinton be the Democratic nominee? Probably. As Damon Runyon has often been quoted:
"The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet."
Will she be President of the United States? Tougher call. There will be a lot going on between now and November 8, 2016, and it will not always be easy for the Clinton campaign to swat the bad news aside and coat her path with rose petals.
As I've said many times, in 2007 Clinton was in the same place: "If Hillary runs (we were assured with knowing looks) she'll be the nominee and the President. But, a funny thing happened between Grand Avenue in Des Moines and the West Front of the Capitol Building."
Money will be a big issue in her campaign. Not whether she will have enough. Clinton will have enough money to fund a good sized assault on Mars. Problem is, nothing is free.
Money raised by the family foundation before, during and after her service as Secretary of State will continue to be an issue. And political fundraising has been a problem for the Clintons forever. Remember them "leaving a light on" in the Lincoln Bedroom for their biggest donors?
Her campaigning skills will be an issue as well. Those "everyday Americans" of whom she Tweeted, can only get as close a the Secret Service (she still has Secret Service protection) will let them get.
Everyday Americans who also happen to be reporters will not have any easier time getting close enough to ask questions.
Age is another issue. Clinton will be 68 years old this October. That's how old I am now. I cannot do the same things at 68 that I could do at 60 - her age when she ran in 2008.
Fred Thompson once said during his 2008 campaign
"When I write the '10 Rules for Running for President,' rule #1 will be: Don't let a 23-year-old be the scheduler for a 66-year-old."
Let me tell you: 68 is not the new 58. 68 is the new 67 and 8 months.
The Internet and all of its connectivity has not made campaigning any less strenuous. Clinton knows what it's like trudging around rural Iowa to be at a small town coffee shop oh-dark-thirty and still be able to generate enthusiasm at the Red Oak Elementary School's annual Dinner and Book Sale 12 hours later.
She will not have a free ride on the Democratic side. Iowa is Iowa because anyone can hop in their car with enough gas money and enough pre-paid minutes on their cell phone to drive from town to town meeting with anyone who will stand still long enough for a selfie.
Hillary Clinton won't do that. Hers will likely be a campaign that is at once designed to show how committed she is to voters; while simultaneously showing potential primary opponents the folly of trying to beat her.
Pundits, political scientists, and reporters of every stripe will weigh in on what she needs to do, what she needs to avoid doing, what everyone else has to do and so on.
Here's mine: This has to be a campaign of bigger ideas than a whine-o-thon for those who are not at the top of the economic and social scales.
Like every other candidate for President she has to provide a believable blueprint for the United States and its place in the world as we enter the third decade of the 21st Century.
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to the Clinton announcement video, and a Mullfoto of this month's "Town & Country" magazine.
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