In a Monday appearance on Fox and Friends, Hillary Clinton's former chief strategist said: "Do not underestimate Hillary’s positioning to run again. Clintons never stop until they get where they want to go."
Mark Penn, a Democratic pollster and the chief strategist for Clinton's failed 2008 bid for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, was following up on an op-ed written for the Wall Street Journal Sunday with another Democratic pollster named Andrew Stein. The title of the piece was simply: "Hillary Will Run Again."
But something about the entire piece felt wildly inappropriate and surreal. The opening paragraph heralds Clinton 2020 in the fevered tones of the pair of pollsters' barely concealed excitement:
"Get ready for Hillary Clinton 4.0. More than 30 years in the making, this new version of Mrs. Clinton, when she runs for president in 2020, will come full circle—back to the universal-health-care-promoting progressive firebrand of 1994. True to her name, Mrs. Clinton will fight this out until the last dog dies. She won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House."
The op ed proceeds to take the reader on a giddy romp through Clinton's political career, beginning with Hillary 1.0 (the 1990s socialized medicine touting First Lady); transitioning to a carefully cultivated moderate image (Hillary 2.0) to win retiring New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan's U.S. Senate seat; transforming into the more liberal Hillary 3.0 after her surprise defeat by Barack Obama in 2008; and culminating in "Hillary 4.0" for 2020:
"Mrs. Clinton has a 75% approval rating among Democrats, an unfinished mission to be the first female president, and a personal grievance against Mr. Trump, whose supporters pilloried her with chants of 'Lock her up!' This must be avenged.
Expect Hillary 4.0 to come out swinging. She has decisively to win those Iowa caucus-goers who have never warmed up to her. They will see her now as strong, partisan, left-leaning and all-Democrat—the one with the guts, experience and steely-eyed determination to defeat Mr. Trump. She has had two years to go over what she did wrong and how to take him on again."
But if true this op-ed exemplifies everything about Hillary Clinton that led independent voters to reject her in 2016, ultimately deciding the outcome of the presidential race that year and flipping the entire election to Donald Trump. An analysis of the election results by Breton Peace and Independent Voter Network Editor Shawn Griffiths found that the reason why Trump won was clear:
For all her experience in politics, Hillary Clinton was unable to persuade these voters to elect her. Donald Trump made campaign stops in these areas and assured the people there he would be working to make their lives better (without his former chief strategist telling them in advance on the pages of the Wall Street Journal that this would just be a campaign ploy and that he just wanted to be president for his own gratification).
Hillary Clinton alienated these voters by taking them for granted. Her political experience may have even been a liability to her because she seems to many voters outside her own devoted base the very picture of a politician who is in it for the wrong reasons– personal ambition and self-glorification– not helping people.
This Sunday op-ed by Mark Penn and Andrew Stein is tone deaf to many Americans who make up a vast and rapidly growing bloc of the electorate– independent voters, Americans who are weary of the partisan antagonism– the professional wrestling-style entertainment television spectacle of conflict– when real world consequences are at stake.
The op-ed explicitly tells us what Hillary Clinton is in it for– to "avenge" herself and settle the score in a "personal grievance" against Donald Trump. According to her own former chief strategist, it's her own pride and ambition that Hillary Clinton cares about, not the platform she'll be running on. The article gleefully explains how her platform will be used as a means to her own personal ends, in other words to manipulate people into voting for her.
It's amazing that Mark Penn and Andrew Stein would tell all of us these things if they really expect Hillary Clinton to run again and actually want her to win. It's a shocking glimpse into their mind and maybe hers. They actually think bragging about what they themselves have characterized as Hillary Clinton's Machiavellian amoralism and narcissistic ambition will endear us to her and interest us in seeing her run for president again in 2020.
So it comes as no surprise, even though it's still surreal to read Penn and Stein reveal that Hillary Clinton's role model for a third presidential bid is Richard Nixon, who "came back from his loss to John F. Kennedy in 1960 and won the presidency in 1968." Could it be that she doesn't know how that story ends?
The last thing America needs right now is another president in the mold of that self-aggrandizing mid-20th century tyrant, and worse, one with the hubris to think she could act like Richard Nixon in the White House and get away with it, avoiding a similar fate.
Electing the first female president in history to be what Democrats loathe about Donald Trump is a mentally deficient and morally impoverished conception of female progress.