It is a sign of how things have changed that I received first word that Hillary Clinton is in the race from an email to bloggers which arrived twenty-five minutes before the first “breaking news” alert came in from the mainstream media stating that Hillary’s announcement is posted on her web site.
Clinton begins her announcement with “I’m in. And I’m in to win.” While a message promising victory might be what many Democrats are looking for after the frustrations of 2000 and 2004, for me this reinforced the qualms I have about her candidacy. Is this about doing what needs to be done for the country or about personal political power, complete with a return to triangulation and ignoring principles when politically expedient?
To be fair the announcement does point out some noble accomplishments and goals, and this is just the beginning as she will be answering questions in a series of web sessions beginning Monday. Still I wish she would have said more about the issue she is most personally identified with–health care. She does ask, “How can we make sure every American has access to adequate health care?” While she asks the question she gives no indication as to how she will go about it. This is an important question in light of her previous health care proposal which was so terrible that it contributed to the Democrats losing control of Congress and prevented any real discussion of change for over a decade. Her approach to health care also makes me wonder about how she will respond to other problems. Thanks to the failure of conservatives once conservatives had complete control of government, liberalism is finally beginning to recover from the branding of “tax and spend” supporters of big government by the right which has done so much harm. If Democrats are again seen as the supporters of such excessive bureaucratic meddling in people’s lives as was seen in Hillary Care, we can look forward to another long period of Republican dominance.
Hillary Clinton’s two major rivals at this point in time are two men with limited experience in government. Barack Obama’s meaningful experience is limited to the Illinois legislature while John Edwards used a single undistinguished Senate term as a stepping stone for his first Presidential bid. In contrast, Hillary Clinton’s experience as both a Senator and a First Lady who was involved with policy decisions makes her the most experienced of the three, but the fact remains that she botched not a joke but her first major exercise in national policy, as well as (along with John Edwards) being on the wrong side of the decision to go to war. While Clinton, Obama, and Edwards are dominating the media coverage there is plenty of time for voters to look at other alternatives.
Update: I’m not alone in having doubts about Hillary as President. The Caucus at The New York Times links here noting “Lefty blogs tend to mirror much of the ambivalence (and, in some cases, antipathy) Democrats seem to have toward Mrs. Clinton, much of which stems from concerns that she might not be able to win a general election.” Actually, as I’ve stated in the past, my concerns about Hillary Clinton are not about whether she can win but that she very well may win. QandO, also linking here, advises, “if you click through to any of these, be sure to read the comments. There is a real strain of anti-Hillary sentiment in them and not just from right-wing trolls.”