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!