Hillary Clinton Might Win Nomination Without Opposition–Unless Brian Schweitzer Counts

After looking at bad news for the presumed front runners for the 2016 presidential nominations, and criticism of Hillary Clinton’s conservative record, the speculation today is that Hillary Clinton might still take the nomination with no real opposition. This speculation was precipitated by an announcement that California Governor Jerry Brown will not run. A few years ago, who would have even thought that this would be news? The response from First Read:

Here’s something for political reporters and pundits to chew on: It’s more likely that Hillary Clinton would face only gadfly opposition in a 2016 Democratic primary (we’re looking at you, Dennis Kucinich) — rather than a competitive challenger. California Gov. Jerry Brown has become the latest Democrat to rule out a presidential bid. The Los Angeles Times: “Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday that he will not run for president in 2016, dashing political speculation that he might make a fourth bid for the White House. ‘No, that’s not in the cards. Unfortunately,’ he told reporters at a news conference before brightening about his current job: ‘Actually, California is a lot more governable.’” Already, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has said no. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has said he won’t run if Hillary does. And while former Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer is certainly dipping his toes into the presidential waters, he did the same thing regarding the state’s vacant Senate seat — and remember how that turned out. American politics is full of surprises. But right now, the smart money is on Hillary facing little to no opposition if she runs in 2016.

It is hard to see Brian Schweitzer making a credible challenge to Hillary Clinton, but who would have thought Barack Obama could have won at this point before the 2008 election? I do wonder if Schweitzer is actually positioning himself for a future run, or perhaps as Hillary Clinton’s running mate. His is from a profile of Schweitzer at MSNBC:

It could be that Schweitzer is really aiming his sights for the vice presidency. He pulls his punches ever so slightly when talking about Clinton, Obama’s former secretary of state. When asked about Benghazi, he leaps to her defense.

“The Republicans like to blame her for four people killed in the embassy and that’s tragic,” he told msnbc. “But did the Republicans forget already that during the time I was in Saudi Arabia there was a big explosion in a hotel in Beirut, Lebanon, and 160 American Marines were killed? 160’s a lot more than four, right?”

In fact, 220 Marines and 241 American personnel total were killed in the 1983 bombing. Which brings up another issue for Schweitzer: he doesn’t have much of a filter. In a presidential campaign, even the slightest gaffe can explode into a firestorm.

Ultimately, Schweitzer’s biggest impact on the 2016 presidential contest could be pressuring the centrist, cautious Clinton to stay in the left lane.

It is one thing for Schweitzer to defend Clinton on Benghazi considering the absurdity of the Republican attack, but he has also been critical in other areas, with an aim at keeping her from moving “hard right.”

“The question that we have is, will it be the Hillary that leads the progressives?” he said. “Or is it the Hillary that says, ‘I’m already going to win the Democratic nomination, and so I can shift hard right on Day 1.’ We can’t afford any more hard right. We had eight years of George Bush. Now we’ve had five years of Obama, [who], I would argue, in many cases has been a corporatist.”

Schweitzer has also criticized Clinton for her vote on Iraq, a position which should gain points (if not enough votes to win) from Democratic voters:

“Anybody who runs in this cycle, whether they are Democrats or Republicans, if they were the United States Senate and they voted with
George Bush to go to Iraq when I would say about 98 percent of America knows that it was a folly, that it was a waste of treasure and blood,
and if they voted to go to Iraq there will be questions for them on the left and from the right,” he told CNN.

Later, in his remarks to a holiday party organized by the liberal group Progress Iowa, Schweitzer asked the roughly 70 audience members
to keep the Iraq war vote in mind as they begin to think about potential candidates passing through the state.

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  1. 1
    David Duff says:

    “… to defend Clinton on Benghazi considering the absurdity of the Republican attack”
    I can only assume you wrote that before the *bi-partisan* Senate committee issued its report confirming Republican suspicions that the State Department had been warned by a variety of security assessments that an attack was likely and that the defences were pathetic.  ‘HillBilly’ and her staff ignored them all!  The only memorable statement from her was, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”  Those words will haunt her if she runs.  And I for one desperately hope she does run because even if the GOP stick to their usual habit of picking the wrong candidate he or she will be a shoo-in against the dreadful ‘HillBilly’.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Did you pay attention to the report or just look for words which seemingly support your biases? The report says pretty much the same thing as the State Department report from December 2012, issued while Clinton was still there, and does not support the Republican conspiracy theories regarding Benghazi. There was never any controversy over security problems. Both parties share some blame there, with Republicans cutting spending on security. However this is a totally different issue from the Republican conspiracy theories, which the report provides no support for.

    The report places no blame on Clinton and contradicts claims that there was advanced warning of the attack. I’m no supporter of hers, but Benghazi remains just one of a long list of bogus Republican attacks on Clinton and Obama we have heard for years which only fool those brainwashed by the right wing media.

  3. 3
    David Duff says:

    Sorry, Ron, the report lays no blame directly on Clinton not least because, as they complain bitterly, the State Department has consistently refused to release docs and e-mails indicating who knew what and when.  However, we are grown men and we can draw our own conclusions.
    Whilst there was no warning of *the* attack, the report makes absolutely clear that there were several warnings that the security situation was deteriorating and that American defences were weak and required strengthening.  This was ignored by Clinton’s State Department.  And I would remind you, gently, that this utterly damning report was signed off by Democrat Senators as well as Republicans. 
    Again, I hope she stands for election because she is ‘dead woman walking’!

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Again, you are inserting your own opinions into the report, which says nothing new.

    As for the election, granted polls this far out are far from conclusive, but at this point Clinton has a large lead. It is hard to see the Republicans coming up with a credible candidate who can win nationally. Demographics also work against any Republican in a national presidential election. That said, 2016 is a long way away and things can change.

  5. 5
    David Duff says:

    Indeed, 2016 is way off and there is a lot of blood to flow under the bridge before then.  You might almost ask “What difference, at this point. does it make?”!

  6. 6
    Ron Chusid says:

    In theory things happening now could affect the election. It remains to be seen if Christie’s current scandal will matter then, but it is certainly a valid consideration to look at it with regards to 2016.

    The Senate report could have made a difference if it had verified any of the Republican conspiracy theories. As it denies these conspiracy theories, and leaves things right were they were with the State Department’s own report, it just maintains the status quo as to whether Benghazi will be an issue. Most likely they will make the same claims, despite lack of any evidence, and only people who would have never voted Democratic will listen to them.

    All in all we have a stalemate. Clinton can be held responsible for security issues as she was Secretary, but it won’t matter much considering that day to day operations is function of those below her. With regards to overall security concerns, she is on record protesting the Republican cuts in funding for security before Benghazi. In the end, Republicans probably won’t want to make much of this issue, minus the conspiracy theories, considering that far more people have died from terrorist attacks when Republicans failed to respond to warnings, and the report clearing her of any direct connection. I’d love to see something which would keep Clinton from winning the Democratic nomination and becoming the next president, but the Benghazi attacks on her just don’t amount to anything meaningful.

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