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Howard Dean at Netroots Nation: Hillary Will Be Challenged

Howard Deans says Hillary Clinton will be challenged.  Republicans have launched a Stop Hillary 2016 website.

Howard Deans says Hillary Clinton will be challenged. Republicans have launched a Stop Hillary 2016 website.

“She is not going to have a pass,” Dean said. “There will be other people who will run.” [CNN]

THE “SHE” in Howard Dean’s statement above, which was made to CNN at the Netroots Nation conference, is obviously Hillary Clinton, as if you couldn’t guess. Dr. Dean is not only right, but Hillary Clinton shouldn’t “have a pass” to the Democratic nomination. I seriously doubt she expects one. Besides, primaries make politicians better candidates. But this isn’t all Howard Dean said.

The founder of Democracy for America hasn’t ruled out his own second run for the presidency. Good for him. I’ve always wondered why he hasn’t given it another go. He’s got a very independent streak that would be good to see in action again. It would pit the establishment (Hillary or someone else) against the outsiders in a Democratic primary that would be exciting.

This brings me to one of the many emails I’ve been getting lately, from a long time reader on this very subject, Hillary Clinton’s potential run in 2016. This reader who wrote in admitted to being “disillusioned about politics and don’t really even pay much attention to it anymore.” Here’s more:

I totally think it’s time for more than just two parties, but so far the news media has not given much of a chance for the other parties, so it’s hard for the general public to know much about the other candidates in the running.

I still am a huge Hillary fan and would love to see her run. But on the other hand it scares the heck out of me. With all the literal crap going down with NSA, Benghazi, and lack of movement with gun-control, I think the Obama administration and the Democratic party are sinking ships, and nobody will want to elect anyone who was connected to the Obama administration. Not that the republicans have ANYTHING to offer. Both parties are sinking ships – dinosaurs, on the road to extinction. But I think Hillary’s connection to such a lousy administration will be a strong talking point to those who oppose her. I would just hate to see a repeat for 2016.

I hope you write more about the pros and cons of a Hillary candidacy.

As we’ve talked about many times on these pages, it’s not just the media that’s fueling the two party system. The Electoral College is an even bigger issue, with Fair Vote gaining more popularity, because of the two party entrenchment and never ending gridlock. It’s also campaign financing and the Supreme Court opening up the spigot on outside groups.

If anything proved the fecklessness of voting outside the two parties it was the 2012 election. The most successful candidate was Gary Johnson, who got around 1 million votes, which wasn’t even 1% of the total votes cast. People will keep voting outside the two party system and no one can blame them, because the current system isn’t working. It’s just that they won’t be picking a winner anytime soon, so unless these people are attached to the Fair Vote movement, too, it will remain noise for now.

As for Clinton, there is clearly a move to make it hard for her to say no, which is something I expected. Her qualifications are long and deep.

Republicans don’t need a reason to attack her, because they’ve made a career out of it for 20 years, though Benghazi will be a constant negative ad across the country, should she run. In fact, Republicans have already begun their anti-Hillary campaign with StopHillary2016.org, started by an outfit called America Rising.

America Rising was formed to prevent Americans from ever having to see another Clinton in the White House. We’ve seen what a President Hillary Clinton would be like from her time as Secretary of State. We can’t afford another Clinton administration after eight years of President Obama.

To be successful in defeating Hillary we need you to contribute today. Our research efforts NOW will help us stop Hillary in 2016.

The Clintons always send Republicans to the pitch forks.

I disagree with the reader’s comment about the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton’s involvement. She hasn’t gotten near the credit she deserves from being secretary of state, because much of what she did wasn’t seen as sexy. Clinton fought for State on their budget, against an always strong Pentagon, and won some battles, pressed the public – private partnership that’s been so successful with CGI, not to mention worked to rehabilitate State after the horrific Bush-Cheney years. Read Vali Nasr’s book for more and you’ll get the picture. There’s much more, including her prodding of the Obama administration on many foreign policy fronts, as well as her stance on closing Gitmo and what is in Obama’s power. Clinton got lucky and got out before the NSA and PRISM bombshells, not to mention the investigations of journalists over what reporting is all about, none of which were in her purview anyway.

Fox News channel worked to do damage to the Administration over Benghazi, complete with Darrell Issa’s House circus, with the usual suspects like Victoria Toensing popping up again. The result was scuttling Susan Rice’s chance at top diplomat, and causing the retirement of Michael Morrell, as well as doing some short-term damage to Clinton’s approval.

Clinton has a very close relationship to the heavy hitters in the military, much more so than her husband ever was. That’s a negative for some people, but for a potential female commander in chief, the American voter will be impressed by it. Outside the activist bubble this is a real issue for voters. Her diplomatic experience, however, makes her uniquely qualified to understand the importance of soft power, including that it needs to be funded. She undoubtedly will utilize parts of the CGI model for private – public partnerships as well.

Domestically Clinton would be begin with having a real outreach towards Congress, which would include bipartisan dealmaking, which will annoy many.

Given her experience, Clinton’s other qualification is that we need to elect our first female president. You’ve heard me say this over and over again. It’s important for many reasons, which I’ve written about for years.

Activists likely won’t be happy with either Howard Dean or Hillary Clinton where the NSA and PRISM are concerned. Here was Howard Dean’s statement at Netroots Nation:

“I am not horrified by the program,” he said. “What I am horrified by is that we didn’t know about it and that the Congress took a pass on it. All these congressmen scurrying about of the limelight pretending they didn’t hear anything about it. They had plenty of chances to hear about it.”

Clinton would likely agree wholeheartedly on the transparency, but I doubt any establishment Democrat would walk away from these programs. Dean advising Obama to speak to the public about the spying is understandable, but he’d have to be a lot more coherent than he’s been so far.

Let’s say for a second Hillary Clinton doesn’t run, which I think is a very small percentage, believing she will be seduced by the call to give the presidency another shot. If she doesn’t run, I agree with Howard Dean, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand should explore her options. There will be others, too, men, of course, but I’m more interested in the possible female candidates.

Hillary Clinton won’t be given a walk to the nomination, if she jumps in. She deserves to be scrutinized and there’s no doubt she will be. As we’ve seen before, Hillary can handle whatever comes at her.

As for Howard Dean, he should seriously consider it. He’s very smart, capable, but he’s hardly the lefty he’s been painted. His record in Vermont is a fine one, too.

So, I’ll throw it to you now. Answer the reader’s question: What do you think are the pros and cons of Hillary as the Democratic nominee?

Republicans are no doubt already making a list, but they’ll have to come up with something better than Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi!

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10 Responses to Howard Dean at Netroots Nation: Hillary Will Be Challenged

  1. Cujo359 June 21, 2013 at 3:57 am #

    “What do you think are the pros and cons of Hillary as the Democratic nominee?”

    On the plus side, she’s about as smart as it gets – smart enough that I feel like a moron in comparison, which is a feeling that very few politicians engender these days. She’s also honest. In contrast to Bill and Obama, she doesn’t try to sugar-coat or dance her way around inconvenient disagreements. There’s remarkably little dissembling or evasiveness about her. On a personal level, I respect her, which is something even rarer for a national politician these days.

    She will also do better on women’s issues than most Democrats, at least those issues that are of concern to middle class women.

    The minus side, though, is that politically she’s the same old same old. During the 2008 primary, her positions seemed so much like Obama’s there wasn’t enough difference to matter. Her health care plan had many of the worst aspects of what eventually became ObamaCare. She’s given me no reason to think she’d be any tougher on the financial sector than the Obama Administration has.

    If you’re a poor woman, or a man, and what you need is a job, an education, or health care, you’re not going to see that from her.

    She may be better on civil liberties than Obama, but that’s a pretty low bar. I remember when she was asked back in 2008 about what executive overreach she’d roll back as President, she said she’d have to look into it. That wasn’t terribly encouraging.

    On foreign policy, she seems to belong to the Serious People School, which is the one where we should have way more military than everyone else, and make liberal use of it. Once more, she’s probably better than Obama on this score, but that’s also a low bar.

    So, good person, but she shows no inclination to fix the things that need fixing.

  2. Ga6thDem June 21, 2013 at 7:13 am #

    I read a blogger a while back that said the Democratic establishment would never let Hillary be the nominee. After reading this I wonder if they were onto something. I have to laugh at the Obama apologists who now say she would have been the same. I don’t think that she would have because she understands that the GOP does not want to be her friend something Obama seems continually dumbstruck by. She is more partisan than him which is a plus. She has short comings too but I really don’t think she’ll make the same mistakes she made back in 2008 should she run.

    At this point in time, I don’t see where Howard Dean really has much to offer the party though I’m not against him running. Remember Hillary simply just didn’t get the nomination. Howard Dean imploded. Of course, I blame a lot of that on Joe Trippi and the way he ran Dean’s campaign but in the end Dean went along with Trippi. So Trippi can’t take the fall for everything.

  3. mjsmith June 21, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    pros- would not be an effective leader. Would do about as much damage as Obama.

    cons- If her support for islamic radicals leads us into war.

    pro – Her husband is Bill Clinton

    con – Her husband is Bill Clinton

    pro – the repeated point that she traveled all over the World as Secretary of State

    con – no measurable success of any signifigance as a result of her travels to so many places.

    pro – strong advocate for the Rights of Women and Children

    con – Backed islamic radicals and at the same time promotes women and childrens Rights.

    I think her chances are good for getting the democrat party nomination.

  4. allisonjane June 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    Frack Howard Dean. Doesn’t anyone remember how he ignored widespread caucus voting fraud in the 2008 primary? He was chairman of the DNC and not only chose to ignore that but did everything he could to get Hillary to drop out before the convention “for party unity”. And don’t even get me started on the delegate fraud at the convention.

    Frack that guy. He’ll do anything he can to stop her. There’s something personal going on there.

  5. fairmindedindependent June 22, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    Come on Howard Dean, no one said that Hillary Clinton should not have a challenger in the Democratic primary. But I think the Republican primary is going to be the one to watch, Its looking like Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and maybe Ted Cruz and Rand Paul are running, just my guess, but the sparks are going to fly, right now, the Republican primary is going to be way more entertaining. Your right Taylor, I am sure everyone knows that if Hillary Clinton runs, her opponent will throw everything they can at her, she is tough and I am sure she knows this, it has happened before, like 2008. But Chris Christie with his Jersey attitude, that will be interesting.

  6. SophieCT June 22, 2013 at 9:10 am #

    I think Hillary is our best choice for president by several orders of magnitude–super smart, super hard-working, and well-liked in the global arena. As a nominee though, the challenges are built in. She’s pragmatic and the left wants dramatic. She likes to fix things to improve the everyday lives of ordinry people where they’re looking for a vast, sweeping, bold vision. It doesn’t make for sexy campaign material but I do believe it’s what we need as a country.

    I don’t agree exactly with the statement made by Cujo359, “During the 2008 primary, her positions seemed so much like Obama’s there wasn’t enough difference to matter.” I would say HIS positions seemed like HERS, especially since she really did get the first question in most of the 2008 primary debates, and would give a long, deep, thoughtful answer, and Obama would essentially say, “What she said.” For the record, her health care plan was Universal, which meant single payer. If you’ll recall, he was originally against the mandate, which is the thing that makes single payer work. While some positions were very similar, her implementation would have been more engaged, thorough, and actually bipartisan. I believe she would have done way better on the economy.

    I liked Howard Dean the presidential candidate of 2004. I detested Howard Dean, the manipulative, unfair, and downright hostile DNC chair of 2008.

    • Cujo359 June 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

      “For the record, her health care plan was Universal, which meant single payer. ”

      Nonsense. It was based on an individual mandate to buy health insurance. That’s not single-payer, by any definition. There are many ways to (try to) achieve universal health care. Single payer is only one of them.

      Clinton is as much in thrall to the financial sector as any politician these days. That’s one of the reasons supporting her would be an exercise in futility for anyone who wants to see what’s wrong with our economy fixed.

    • mjsmith June 22, 2013 at 9:47 pm #

      You are right. His position was just a carbon copy of hers, except for the mandate. What is to stop the next group of people from doing the exact same thing? Hilary Clinton had a majority in the Congress, Senate, and her husband was President and out her in charge of getting her health care plan created and passed. She failed.

  7. whitepaw June 23, 2013 at 1:13 am #

    My honest thoughts re: Hillary’s potential run and possible election.

    1. I adore here. I became her biggest fan in 2008. I didn’t have ANY opinion of her before 2008 (just didn’t follow politics).

    2. I respect her now, but I fear that as POTUS, she will make decisions I will disagree with (e.g. the NSA spying stuff… I fully expect she will continue these policies and I am adamantly opposed to them).

    3. I don’t want to dislike my hero…

    4. So…. I would rather she not run for POTUS

    Isn’t this all so ridiculous? Just shows how emotions can rule in politics… for some (like me). Thanks for reading my “honesty”.

  8. jinbaltimore June 24, 2013 at 4:46 am #

    “People will keep voting outside the two party system and no one can blame them, because the current system isn’t working. It’s just that they won’t be picking a winner anytime soon, so unless these people are attached to the Fair Vote movement, too, it will remain noise for now.”

    With all due respect, this is not news to any of us who voted outside the two corrupt parties. For some of us, there are things more important than winning a horserace, and it feels good to have NOT supported the war crimes of this administration.

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