The Edmond Sun

Opinion

September 25, 2013

If she wants to win in 2016, Hillary Clinton needs to disappear

Hillary Clinton, in her first interview after leaving the State Department, offered a wise metaphor about the current state of presidential election madness. "This election is more than three years away, and I just don't think it's good for the country," she told New York magazine, referring to the fevered speculation about her possible candidacy. "It's like when you meet somebody at a party and they look over your shoulder to see who else is there, and you want to talk to them about something that's really important; in fact, maybe you came to the party to talk to that particular person, and they just want to know what's next," she says. "I feel like that's our political process right now. I just don't think it is good."

Clinton knows what it's like to be on both ends of that exchange. She was a political spouse; the shortsighted looked over her shoulder for many years, seeing her as merely an adjunct to her accomplished husband. Now, she is the person who draws every eye in the room -- away from even her husband. (When someone says "Clinton", it may not be long before a majority of people think of the former secretary of state and not the former president).

Most presidential candidates strain for attention. They rush to Iowa, write books, or take extreme positions on controversial issues. Clinton has to do the opposite, trying to flee from the circus ready to chase her down the grocery store aisle. But she's in a bind. If she makes too much news this far ahead of the 2016 presidential election, there's a chance people will tire of her candidacy. (Update, Sept. 24: Joan Walsh of Salon says she's feeling Clinton fatigue already.) If she steps back, though, the unstoppable flow of Clinton stories will come anyway (especially the highly unflattering ones that feature people loosely associated with Clinton world, like the New Republic profile of Doug Band, who once oversaw the Clinton Global Initiative). Not all of these people leave a good impression.

Clinton is perhaps the first presidential candidate of the modern age who needs a Rip Van Winkle strategy — a disappearing act that removes her from the witless swirl of speculation and gossip that preserves her presidential options. But what is this strategy? Does she go on a kibbutz for a year? What about a prayer retreat? She is a woman of skill. Surely, she can find some way to escape from the clatter or at least turn it into a force for good. (Perhaps she should launch a website on mindless Clinton speculation and donate the ad revenue from the site to one of the worthy causes she's been promoting most of her adult life).

It's frankly hard to imagine a place she could retreat (without the aid of rocket propulsion) that would quiet the appetite of editors, gossips, and TV producers. Retreating would give voters a pause and Clinton a chance to live a normal life, but there's also a governing benefit: We get sick of our presidents pretty quickly in the age of the hyper news cycle. Who pays attention to an Obama speech these days? With candidates starting to position themselves for the presidency earlier and earlier, it's almost certain that we'll be sick of the next president by the time he or she is in office. If Hillary Clinton is that president, it will be particularly acute in her case.

Though Clinton worries about the country looking over the president's shoulder at the next candidate, she isn't exactly keeping her arms at her sides. The New York piece is full of little waves to the admirers, including an admission of the obvious: She's thinking about running for president. The former secretary of state explains how normal her life is now. She's just flopping about the house, laughing at the dogs. As America's jet-set chief diplomat, she only had time to speak to her husband by phone; now she's watching stupid movies with him.

The piece has the feel of a reset, both natural and strategic: Of course she's the competent woman in that C-17 photograph, but she's also normal, real, and grounded. (At the start of the 2008 presidential race, the Clinton team tried to convey a similar feeling with a video to voters where she sat on what looked like a living room couch. If they're going that route again, maybe this time she could appear in the garden with some mulch or a Pinterest account of DIY house projects.)

If you're into tea leaf reading, when you look into the bottom of the New York story, it spells out: Hillary 2016. Clinton positions herself as a secretary of state who was in the thick of it but independent enough to disagree with the president. "I've had a unique, close, and personal front-row seat. And I think these last four years have certainly deepened and broadened my understanding of the challenges and opportunities that we face in the world today." Most impressive is the way the others quoted in the story fall into perfect formation, shooting down each of her perceived vulnerabilities, one by one. They testify to her management skill at the State Department — the chaos of the 2008 campaign is gone. They testify that Bill Clinton is a figure in the distance — no meddling from the Big Dog. It's a masterful rendition of the form. It's the kind of story we once expected to read a year before a presidential race, not three years before. Now she just has to figure out how to manage those two long years in between.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at www.edmondsun.com show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014

  • Technology that will stimulate journalism’s future is now here

    To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious. While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time.
    I am asked frequently about the future of newspapers and, in particular, what does a successful future look like. For journalists, to be successful is to command multiple technologies and share news with readers in new and exciting ways.

    July 23, 2014

  • New Orleans features its own “Running of the Bulls”

    On July12, the streets of the Warehouse District of New Orleans were filled with thousands of young men who were seeking to avoid being hit with plastic bats wielded by women on roller skates as part of the annual “Running of the Bulls” that takes place in New Orleans.
    The event is based on the “Running of the Bulls” that occurs in Pamplona, Spain, that is  part of an annual occurrence in which a group of bulls rampage through the streets of Pamplona while men run from them to avoid being gored by their sharp horns. That event was introduced to the English-speaking world by Ernest Hemingway, who included scenes from it in his critically acclaimed 1926 novel “The Sun also Rises.”

    July 22, 2014

  • OTHER VIEW: Newsday: Lapses on deadly diseases demand explanation

    When we heard that the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had created a potentially lethal safety risk by improperly sending deadly pathogens — like anthrax — to other laboratories around the country, our first reaction was disbelief.

    July 22, 2014

Poll

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
Undecided
     View Results