Hillary Clinton

Clinton Distances Herself From Obama (But Not Really)



The world of professional Clinton-watchers is abuzz this week thanks to an interview Hillary Clinton gave to The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg. In the interview, which The New York Times describes as "remarkably blunt," Clinton, the former Secretary of State, takes a few first steps to distance herself from President Obama, saying things like, "Great nations need organizing principles, and 'Don't do stupid stuff' is not an organizing principle." Clinton also describes the Obama administration's inability to "build up a credible fighting force" of anti-Assad citizens in Syria as a "failure."

There are a handful of moderately sharp lines like that, but there's no real revelation. Mostly, the interview simply confirms of what has long been known, which is that Clinton is more hawkish than Obama, and that she'll be willing to say so to whatever extent she thinks it will help her politically. There aren't a lot of details, though. She's not defining her differences with Obama so much as acknowledging them. 

And as a report in Politico this afternoon indicates, she also doesn't want too much distance between herself and the president. Clinton spokesperson Nick Merrill told Politico today that Clinton called President Obama regarding the interview, and that it's all just a friendly disagreement.

"Some are now choosing to hype those differences but they do not eclipse their broad agreement on most issues," Merrill said. "Like any two friends who have to deal with the public eye, she looks forward to hugging it out when she they see each other tomorrow night."

The early conventional wisdom, to the extent that it exists, is that Clinton is the clear favorite to win the presidency in 2016. But I think this incident suggests one of the troubles she's going to have, should she run and win the Democratic nomination, which seems all but certain.

She wants to suggest some differences between herself and Obama, but not with any clarity, and not in a way that creates any real distance between them. And she'll probably want to keep most of whatever differences she does reveal confined to the realm of foreign policy, partly because that's where her experience is, and partly because the Democratic base isn't likely to support major departures in domestic policy. Which means that unless there's some big, unexpected break coming, she'll essentially be running as a slightly more hawkish version of Obama. Inevitably, that means she'll be tied to Obama's less-than-popular presidency and controversial domestic agenda. Unless Obama's current approval ratings improve—which of course they could over the next two years—that's not great a place to be. 

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  1. “Like any two friends who have to deal with the public eye, she looks forward to hugging it out when she they see each other tomorrow night.”

    That sounds more like Bill than Hilary…

  2. “I’ve got your presidential pen right here!”

  3. Unless Obama’s current approval ratings improve?which of course they could over the next two years?

    With more of the Lightworker’s O!care coming into effect? The continued “smart diplomacy” triumphs? Recovery Summer VI – Dude, where’s my job, Recovery Summer VII – This Time Its Personal? Recovery Summer VIII – Green Shoots!!!!?

    1. For crying out loud, go get a job and quit bitching about the “recovery”. Eight million other people have since 2009.

      1. Perhaps the first time a prog insists someone “go get a job.” There may be hope for you yet!

        1. That you, Briannnn?

          1. 😉

        2. Naah.
          It’s just turd lying one more time.

        3. I’m not a “prog”, you twit. Obama is just marginally better than some GOP redneck trash.

          1. Not a prog, but clearly a bigot! Because Mitt Romney is soooooo redneck trash…hahaha

            1. His base. An authentic white trash type like Huckabee might have won.

              1. Would you be willing to make symmetrically bigoted claims about Obama’s uneducated base?

                1. Democrats don’t have a base. It is the scrap heap party.

                  Like the Will Rogers quote “I’m not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat”.

                  But there are plenty of stupid Dems.

                  1. No no no. I meant in the same bigoted fashion. As in rednecks for republicans, and another group for democrats. Are you willing to be a bigot if it involves that group?

                    1. No no no. I meant in the same bigoted fashion. As in rednecks for republicans, and another group for democrats. Are you willing to be a bigot if it involves that group?

                      …says the guy who changed his handle to “black blood.” 😉

                      Also ever since you did this earlier today (I think?) I just keep thinking of blood sausage, and it makes me hungry.

                    2. Mmmmmmmmmm

      2. Because the trillion in ‘stimulus’ have done so much Job Creation that people keep turning down jobs waiting for the *purfect* ones

        1. $787 billion of which 1/3 was tax cuts.

          So you’re half right this time.

          1. The other half of being “right” is how the money hasn’t done doodly squat?

  4. She looks like she’s shoplifting something from the oval office.

  5. Meanwhile, Reason distances itself prepositions.

    More on topic:

    The early conventional wisdom, to the extent that it exists, is that Clinton is the clear favorite to win the presidency in 2016.

    Ever notice that this “conventional wisdom” seems to come entirely from people with a vested interest in Clinton becoming President? I’m no pollster, but I know exactly zero people (in true-blue Seattle, lest you think I’m a reverse-Pauline Kael) excited about the prospect of voting for her (leaving aside the legions who will of course vote for her if she’s the nominee purely because it’s their duty as Democrat foot soldiers).

    1. (leaving aside the legions who will of course vote for her if she’s the nominee purely because it’s their duty as Democrat foot soldiers).

      Fortunately for her, this is enough to get her a majority in the primaries, and give her an edge in the general.

      1. Or at least a plurality of delegates in the primaries, which is all you need.

        1. I think the Democratic Party requires a majority of delegates for nomination. (They used to require 2/3rds in the old days of Jim Crow, so that the Solid South could guarantee that no one too anti-segregation would be nominated.)

          1. However, the “superdelegates” make it pretty much a given that the plurality person will get a majority (since the superdelegates follow the party line.)

          2. The Two Thirds rule was created in 1832 and abolished in 1936 so I don’t it is appropriate to say it use was to ensure segregation.

            1. It was not the intent, but it was a major effect. The first election after the change without a Democrat incumbent in the White House was 1952, the beginning of the end for segregation and for the Solid South.

              1. I should say “without a Democrat incumbent president running for reelection”

    2. That’s such nonsense. I’d say any decent Republican candidate has a huge advantage in 2016, unless the likely GOP Congress does something profoundly stupid, which isn’t impossible.

      I still doubt she’ll get the nomination, but I also acknowledge that Democratic voters have become entirely unpredictable. However, I don’t see her making it through a general election.

      1. Polls are just too “sciencey” for you, no doubt.

        Hil-dog is 12-14 points ahead of any GOPer. Not that that can’t change later.

        You’re like John’s half-wit little brother.

        1. Uh, polls are indeed sciencey, but not scientific.

        2. I think most recent polls have her about 9-10 points ahead of Paul and Christie, the two that poll closest to her. Which is a slightly wider leader than from a month or two ago, but still early.

        3. “‘sciencey'”? Really? I know it’s supposed to be funny and all, kind of like “truthiness”, but it just sounds stupid. Sorry.

          So you’re touting a poll that shows Hillary ahead of any GOP candidate in mid-2014, but then admit that the poll is meaningless? Huh? A poll 2 years and 3 months ahead of the election might not be 100 percent correct. Who woulda thunk it?

      2. Who, then? Biden?

        No, srsly, she’ll get the nomination after a long, damaging battle with Warren. Warren won’t be running to win, she’ll be running to keep the platform as far left as possible. That will damage Hillary in the general election when she has to pivot back to center.

        1. No, it’s a good question, but I think the other candidates are letting her hang herself while she thinks she’s the heir presumptive. There are other potential candidates, after all, including Se?or Obama Dos, Julian Castro.

          There are also people who were once considered viable candidates who’ve been forgotten, like Mark Warner.

          I suspect HRC has bled into the water enough for some candidates to decide to jump in and lock their jaws on her poorly dressed corpse.

          1. It’s conceivable that her support is wide but shallow right now, but polls show her with an enormous edge for the D nomination.

            1. Because the only other people with their hats in the ring are retarded (Biden) and unknown (“just like allllll the Indians do).

            2. Of course. Who else are they asking about? Every single poll you read about is her versus some GOP nominee. That’s quite an assumption for someone who lost to a complete nobody. How is she any better than Kerry? Heck, I think Al Gore could do better–he at least was a nominee and barely lost in the general.

              All this framing and talk like she’s the nominee frankly hurts her. Along with her nearly continuous missteps, Clinton fatigue, and a growing disgust at business as usual makes her, in my mind, a loser candidate.

              1. Until polling reflects what you’re saying, you’re just blowing a bunch of wishful thinking hot air.

                1. “Until polling reflects what you’re saying, you’re just blowing a bunch of wishful thinking hot air.”

                  So Tony is itching to vote for a pro Iraq War, anti gay marriage 1 percenter.


                  1. If Warren ran in the primary I’d vote for her in the primary and then whoever the Dem nominee is in the general. I wouldn’t call it an “itch.” Just a choice between two alternatives as usual.

                    1. You’re getting Warren. It has to be a woman, and Hillary is too unlikeable and has the above mentioned views/baggage. She’s winning all of the polls strictly on name recognition.
                      Warren is the same blank slate that Obama was, and she’ll be fed the appropriate lines.

              2. Here’s a few of those primary polls. Can’t disagree about Warren, Biden, O’Malley, and Cuomo being awful, but if the Dem bench doesn’t have anyone else to run, then she’s going to win the nomination, so the polling is accurate.

                1. Who the heck likes her, though? I mean, even on the left? They’re going to rush out in droves to vote for her?

                  1. Currently about 55% of the country.

                    She’s not a liberal’s dream candidate issues-wise, but we do want a woman and we want one now.

                    1. “we do want a woman and we want one now”

                      Typical bigoted, sexist donkey. Or horny undergrad. But you’re swinging from the other side, so it’s pure bigotry.

                      I saw a “I’m ready for Hillary” bumper sticker last week. So sick.

                    2. we do want a woman and we want one now

                      First time in your life you’ve ever said that, no doubt.

                      But could you at least pick one of the other 100 million women eligible for the presidency instead? Pick a name out of the phone book and you’ll probably do better.

  6. “Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.”

    This alone is enough to tell me she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

    If you can avoid doing stupid things, it will take you a hell of a long way. Doing absolutely nothing is better than doing something stupid. And even if you do start taking action in the all the right ways, if you’re still doing stupid things at the same time, then it’s all a wash.

    1. It works for doctors.

      1. It works for everything.

        Sports – Before you can beat the other team, you have to stop making stupid mistakes and beating yourself.

        Academics – Eliminating stupid mistakes on tests is one of the easiest ways to get higher grades.

        Business – If you want to have better profit margins, then eliminating superfluous processes and decreasing the number of mistakes and accidents are some low hanging fruit to go after.

        If you’re implementing process X, and it’s not successful, then changing to process Y isn’t going do jack shit if process X was prevented from succeeding by people doing stupid things. X wasn’t a bad process, it just wasn’t executed efficiently.

        1. It’s an old saying, but when in doubt, punt (or STFU).

    2. “‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle” — if you continue to do stupid stuff.

    3. We persist in regarding ourselves as a Great Power, capable of everything and only temporarily handicapped by economic difficulties. We are not a great power and never will be again. We are a great nation, but if we continue to behave like a Great Power we shall soon cease to be a great nation. Let us take warning from the fate of the Great Powers of the past and not burst ourselves with pride (see Aesop’s fable of the frog).

      — Sir Henry Tizard, Chief Scientific Adviser to the British Ministry of Defence, 1949

  7. she’ll essentially be running as a slightly more hawkish version of Obama.

    IOW, as GWB.

    1. We seem stuck on Bush clones. How about something new?

      Jesus, that’s it. I have Rand Paul’s campaign slogan: “And now for something completely different.”

      1. As long as he silly-walks everywhere I will support this.

        1. Finally, a ministry I can get behind! (and giggle at)

        2. Possibly my favorite comment yet!

      2. We could move election day to February 2nd..

      3. American Government: Too big to eat even a wafer-thin mint.

  8. Normally administrations will allow their would-be successors to use them as a punching bag if it serves to keep the party in power. Not so with this administration, I think.

    1. But maybe this is a clever tactic by Hillary — get Obama to throw his support to Warren, who then gets the famous Barry Boost like the incumbent Hawaiian governor enjoyed so much.

    2. Not sure whether it’s the administration, or not wanting to alienate a certain constituency who will tolerate no criticism of this president.

    3. Er, when has that actually happened? There have been only three incumbent presidents who didn’t run for reelection since 1968. Clinton and Reagan were popular when they left office and their VP’s got the party nomination, so there was no distancing possible there. Bush II was hideously unpopular of course but McCain sucked up to him like there was no tomorrow.

  9. Wait. Hold on. What the fuck is that coat she’s wearing? Holy shit. Say what you want about the shitty presidents we’ve had for many years now, but at least they know how to dress. Ye gods.

    1. She’s on her way out the door. He’s just validating her parking.

      1. Did she steal the coat from some mannequin they keep in the White House? I mean, that’s a coat some rich, powerful politician wears?

        I now believe she is clinically insane. Someone who wears that coat could nuke the world for kicks.

  10. Blaming the clusterfuck in Iraq on Obama won’t work for her. She should just stick with blaming Dumbya for the state of the Middle East.

    The Iraq War decision has about 40 years worth of more political currency even though she stupidly voted for it.

    1. You’re right. Why stop a winning strategy. She should also blame the shitty economy on Reagan and poor race relations on Andrew Jackson.

      1. I hope this is Briannnnn, because that would be awesome.

        1. 😉

        2. You know who else was said to have black blood?

  11. “‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.””

    It’s better than operating on the *opposite* principle.

  12. …’it’s all just a friendly disagreement.”…

    wetween slime-balls

  13. CAPTION:

    “Ever had someone…’smoke your cigar’ under that table, Mister President….?”

  14. Great nations need organizing principles


  15. Whatever the conventional wisdom is, it’s an absolute certainty that in the next presidential election serious issues will be utterly drowned out by gossipy minutiae.

    1. I’m pretty sure that is the conventional wisdom. During the last election it was Ron Paul’s health records, Newt’s affairs and marriages, Romney’s tax returns, …Santorum’s santorum.

      1. Santorum’s santorum.

        I’m not sure this is trivial. The White House contains a lot of expensive fabrics.

        1. Hahahahahaha! Man you’re a hoot

  16. “Clinton Distances Herself From Obama (But Not Really)”

    Looks like she’s gonna challenge Obama for the presidency in 2016.

  17. lol that cracks me up dude.


  18. “Don’t do stupid stuff.” Yet she couldn’t follow even that modest piece of advice.

  19. It is going to suck when she runs because we will have to endure all epithets of “misogyny” should one not timely curtsy the queen.

  20. I remember when Hillary was inevitably going to win the nomination in 2008, too, and definitely face Rudy Giuliani in the general election.

    Lizzie Warren might clean her clock out, she’s got what Leftists crave. Don’t be surprised when it happens. When I predicted that Santorum would break out in the 2012 GOP primaries everyone said I was crazy too.

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