Gird your loins, my fellow Americans. We now know what another Hillary run will be like, if there was doubt.
As she prepares to roll out her campaign apparatus, possibly next month, the potential excitement of the first woman U.S. president is dimmed by the rolling thunder of the opposition.
It’s going to be brutal. It’s going to be nasty. And we, dear voters, are caught in the middle.
On the left is seriously smart Hillary Clinton, who has punched her ticket so thoroughly that no other heavyweight Democrat has yet emerged to take her on for the nomination battle. But time after time, she displays a disdainful arrogance that smacks of entitlement. The private Hillary is as warm and charming a woman as anyone could conjure up. The public Hillary sometimes seems brittle, with the judgment of a raging rhinoceros.
On the left are the usual suspects, the Hillary haters and political social climbers who see a smackdown with her as the ultimate badge of having arrived. No matter what she does, no matter what she says, some people will always dislike her, never trust her and wouldn’t dream of voting for her.
The real question remains: Why is she running? She had a chance to make a difference in the world as secretary of state but it’s hard to see that the world is a better place. She toted up a lot of mileage but to what end?
Will her domestic priorities be different from those of her husband or President Obama? It’s hard to see how. Jousting with domestic economic inequality, fighting racial injustice, advocating rights for women, tighter relations with allies, restoring the middle class, refusing to let terrorists win: The list is predictable — and daunting.
Just as Obama was stymied repeatedly by an unruly Republican-dominated Congress that couldn’t get its act together, so Hillary would face the same challenge. Any budget proposal, major legislative initiative, trade deal, treaty she sent to Capitol Hill would be dead on arrival. The White House as fishbowl is a perfect metaphor; her every action, reaction or non-action would be scathingly denounced by her often pathetically predictable enemies. Plus all eyes would be on the ex-president again.
Of course, we have not heard a visionary, realistic, progressive agenda from a Republican candidate yet. Most of the plethora of Republicans lining up to run seem to want to go back in time. Many of those shouting the loudest just want to ensure that the rich get even richer, that women don’t have equal workplace rights or personal choices, that big businesses be permitted to run rampant over start-ups, that government doesn’t work to make the air and water cleaner or the Earth safer.
Hillary’s answer would be that someone has to lead the Democrats espousing her principles so why shouldn’t she do it?
Running for president is a nightmare. Candidates have to appease their bases but also have to fight for the affection of the middle-of-the-road voter, often disgusted by the discordant noise at both extremes.
Will Hillary running for president against a throng of people who hate her bring rational debate to the process and a sense that we’re adults sorting through our differences? No.
On the other hand, we may be beyond political civility. Perhaps we are entrenched in an era of negativity that can’t be cured with another political election, whether or not reasonable people are at the table. Perhaps we need an invasion of space aliens determined to kill us all and take over our planet for its water before we learn to put aside our differences and work together.
We are more jaded than we were in 2008 when Hillary ran against Obama and we bought his promise of hope, change and common purpose, his dream of one United States.
Americans, passionate in love of country despite its failures, want to be idealistic. But we are tired of being fooled, toyed with, lied to and manipulated. Hope is a commodity we’re not sure we believe in any more.
Before you run, think it through, Hillary. But, please, no emails.
Email Ms. McFeatters at firstname.lastname@example.org.