Hillary Clinton has announced that she's forming an exploratory committee. Her website reads: "I'm In". The Washington Post article linked above says that this decision "ends months of fevered speculation about a possible bid for the White House."
Wrong. No one was speculating. Everyone knew. The only feverish activity was people praying for a miracle that would keep it from happening.
Don't get me wrong. I would vote for Hillary Clinton over most Republicans in a heartbeat. I gather she's doing a great job as a Senator. (So why can't she just keep doing it?) It's only her candidacy for the Presidency, not her, that makes me want to reach for the nearest hemlock stake.
I'm also annoyed by the way in which Washington political and media types seemed decide, a few years back, that she was entitled to the nomination; that this time, it would be her turn. As though she were Angela Bowie or something. Things have gotten a bit more complicated since then, what with Obama getting in and all. Rumor has it that the Clinton people are somewhat annoyed, which in turn annoys me, since last time I checked, the voters have something to do with this whole nomination process. And, as I said a couple of weeks ago I don't know a single
person Democrat who is enthusiastic about her candidacy.
But that's just a side issue. The real problem is that she'd be a disaster for the Democrats if she were nominated, and, I suspect, not that great a President in the unlikely event that she won. Remember this post from Brad DeLong, who worked in the Clinton administration:
"My two cents' worth--and I think it is the two cents' worth of everybody who worked for the Clinton Administration health care reform effort of 1993-1994--is that Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House for the rest of her life. Heading up health-care reform was the only major administrative job she has ever tried to do. And she was a complete flop at it. She had neither the grasp of policy substance, the managerial skills, nor the political smarts to do the job she was then given. And she wasn't smart enough to realize that she was in over her head and had to get out of the Health Care Czar role quickly.
So when senior members of the economic team said that key senators like Daniel Patrick Moynihan would have this-and-that objection, she told them they were disloyal. When junior members of the economic team told her that the Congressional Budget Office would say such-and-such, she told them (wrongly) that her conversations with CBO head Robert Reischauer had already fixed that. When long-time senior hill staffers told her that she was making a dreadful mistake by fighting with rather than reaching out to John Breaux and Jim Cooper, she told them that they did not understand the wave of popular political support the bill would generate. And when substantive objections were raised to the plan by analysts calculating the moral hazard and adverse selection pressures it would put on the nation's health-care system...
Hillary Rodham Clinton has already flopped as a senior administrative official in the executive branch--the equivalent of an Undersecretary. Perhaps she will make a good senator. But there is no reason to think that she would be anything but an abysmal president."
And let's not forget this:
"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. (...)
I will take the President at his word that he will try hard to pass a UN resolution and will seek to avoid war, if at all possible. (...)
So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him - use these powers wisely and as a last resort."
She didn't change her mind on this until quite recently. Here, for instance, is Hillary Clinton in 2004:
"No, I don't regret giving the president authority because at the time it was in the context of weapons of mass destruction, grave threats to the United States, and clearly, Saddam Hussein had been a real problem for the international community for more than a decade."
And from 2005:
"As 55 people died in Iraq on Saturday, the holiest day on the Shiite Muslim religious calendar, Sen. Hillary Clinton said that much of Iraq was "functioning quite well" and that the rash of suicide attacks was a sign that the insurgency was failing."
Her website now links to a Washington Post story called "Clinton Steps Up Criticism of War in Iraq", but it was only one month ago that she first said that her vote for the Iraq war resolution was a mistake.
Like I said: this is a campaign that calls for hemlock stakes, garlic, and silver bullets.