Hillary Must Own 2014
Clinton can’t run against Obama because she worked for him — but also because she needs to consolidate the Obama coalition and make it a Clinton coalition. There are still embers of bitterness over the 2008 primary, and any effort to distance herself from the president, real or imagined, could fan them. Besides, Al Gore made a mistake by running away from Clinton record; Clinton’s 2016 message should be that she will consolidate the gains of the Obama presidency, from health care reform to banking regulation to women’s rights, and extend them. She will complete the president’s work by vanquishing his intransigent, unreasonable, race-baiting foes. And she is uniquely positioned to do it.
The former Goldwater girl is in a particularly great position to say: I didn’t just leave my party, my party left me. So many Republican, market-based alternatives to alleged Democratic over-reliance on government - from cap and trade to the health insurance individual mandate to the Earned Income Tax Credit - were adopted by first her husband and then Obama, only to be jettisoned by an increasingly extremist GOP.
But Clinton can’t just begin to make this case in 2015 or 2016; she needs to be part of a Democratic team making the 2014 midterms a referendum on the uncompleted business of the Obama presidency - and on the GOP’s outrageous abuse of its minority status to block everything from popular legislation to agency nominations to thwart this Democratic president, the last one, and likely the next. If voting patterns follow the modern electoral norm, 2014 turnout will resemble 2010 turnout, not the Democratic waves of 2008 and 2012, and result in more power for the obstructionist GOP in the House and Senate.
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