Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Wither Hillary?

The polls continue to tighten as Bernie Sanders closes the gap with Hillary nationally and takes a lead in Iowa. 

2008 redux? Is Hillary simply fated never to become president? I'm beginning to wonder. While I don't necessarily fault her for being critical of Sanders, she seemed a bit out of control most recently in attacking him on his healthcare proposals. I confess I do not know the details of his plan and the role states are to play in it. But, given his left wing orientation, I suspect trying to fault him for his plan will be a difficult sell. 

If Hillary loses both in Iowa and New Hampshire, I think she will have great difficulty winning the nomination. Sanders may not as yet be prepared to contest the primaries that immediately follow but his poll numbers will dramatically increase and her vulnerability will be exposed and will only grow. It would not surprise me if Joe Biden then makes another appearance as a possible candidate regardless of his currently stated position. I say that because I remain highly skeptical that Sanders can win the presidency even if he wins the nomination. Despite Obama's unexpected victory in 2008, which I did not anticipate, I simply do not see a 74-year-old, Brooklyn born, Jewish, self described socialist winning the presidency. I think the party elders would scramble and try to recruit Biden, who clearly would need no encouragement.

While at the moment I am sad at the prospect that Hillary will lose this nomination process, I am more seriously considering that I am simply unrepresentative of what the current Democratic Party has become. 

In recent correspondence with an old Princeton graduate student friend, I noted that I remain a pluralist who wants wealthy individuals and strong corporations as part of Anerican society, not to control our society and polity, but as a counterweight to a powerful government. I remain what I would call a Tocquevillian, concerned that equality and liberty are sometimes in tension with each other. I am not convinced that a Bernie Sanders America is quite my cup of tea. I would say that, at this point, I probably share less and less than in decades past with the rank-and-file of the Democratic Party. In fact, were someone like a Michael Bloomberg to run for president, I might find myself drawn to such a person.

My reaction to Obama's final State of the Union Address

I listened to it all but I got bored as the President droned on. Some uplifting passages but, overall, nothing new and nothing different. I don't disagree with Obama that our economy is the strongest in the world. And I share his perspective that we avoid an attempt at nation-building when it comes to every failed state. It's just that I had heard it all before. It was the same old same old and he failed to inspire me.