USA | Kommer hon eller kommer hon inte? Frågan ställs i nästan alla artiklar om Hillary Clinton.
Frågan gäller naturligtvis om hon kommer att ställa upp och försöka bli sitt partis presidentkandidat.
Att Clinton har en formidabel kampanjmaskin i ryggen om hon väljer att ställa upp i presidentvalet står utom allt tvivel.
Och till skillnad från många andra som går i samma tankar verkar Clinton ha fler allierade än vad hon rimligtvis kan behöva.
Amy Chozick i The New York Times Magazine kallar det för ”Planet Hillary”.
Unlike Barack Obama, who will leave the White House with more or less the same handful of friends he came in with, the Clintons occupy their own unique and formidable and often exhausting place in American politics. Over the decades, they’ve operated like an Arkansas tumbleweed, collecting friends and devotees from Bill Clinton’s kindergarten class to Yale Law School to Little Rock to the White House to the Senate and beyond.
This may represent Hillary Clinton’s biggest challenge for a hypothetical 2016 campaign. How can Clinton, who is 66, make American voters think about something other than her fraught personal and political past? How can she present herself as someone hungry to serve rather than as someone entitled to office? It starts, perhaps, by figuring out how to deal with many of those characters assembled along the way. “I love Barbra Streisand,” says Donna Brazile, the Democratic strategist who worked on both of Bill Clinton’s campaigns, “but Beyoncé is what’s happening now. I love Peter, Paul and Mary, but she needs to be Justin Timberlake. She can’t afford to kick people out, but she can afford to let new people come in. I realize that’s uncomfortable.” Put another way, the members of America’s most dysfunctional extended political family are about to meet a lot of young new operatives who don’t work in the same way. The Clintons may have come to power when an offensive election strategy meant digging up files of opposition research, but presidential politics are increasingly the province of number-crunching quants and code-breaking hackers. “The challenge is to create ways for people to help but also to figure out who the next generation is,” says Steve Elmendorf, deputy campaign manager on John Kerry’s 2004 presidential run. “Even David Plouffe is a generation removed. Who is the 32-year-old version of David?”
It’s an organizational conundrum that even members of Hillary Clinton’s innermost circle already concede.
For all the pieces now falling into place, the staff members new and old looking for a seat at the table, the super PACs looking to take credit and the speeches to Wall Street executives (at one session with a hedge fund in 2013, Clinton conceded that any hypothetical candidate would have to decide “toward the middle of next year”) — for all of the inevitable inevitability, perhaps the most important thing Hillary Clinton has to do is not appear like a big-footing Goliath who is finally getting her due. Six years ago, Iowans rejected Clinton, in part, because she seemed too entitled. I remember talking to caucus-goers who were turned off by the “I’m in to win” video that kicked off her candidacy and others who cringed at the loud landing of the Hill-a-Copter, which cost several thousand dollars a day in a state where voters prefer their candidates in Greyhounds.
When I asked David Axelrod what he thought Clinton had to do to win in 2016, he referred to the change she underwent during the last campaign. “She stumbled in 2007, when she was encased in a presumption of inevitability,” Axelrod said. “And she was a very good candidate in 2008 after she got knocked back. Instead of a battleship, she became a speedboat, and she got down on the ground and really, I thought, really connected to the middle-class voters and people who were struggling. People who were struggling connected with her when she looked like she was struggling.”
In her final months as secretary of state in the summer of 2012, when her approval ratings and press coverage were at all-time highs, I asked Bill Clinton what he thought of his wife’s transformed image. Over coffee at the Hilton in Nicosia, Cyprus, he told me the story of having just finished working on the McGovern campaign, his official, and intoxicating, introduction into presidential politics. He said he told Hillary he’d met some of the most prominent people of their generation, and she was by far the most gifted. “You should be in public life,” he told her back then. “She said: ‘Look at how hard-hitting I am. Nobody will ever vote for me for anything.’ ” The former president also gave some thought to her current image. “I think the country sees her the way those of us who know her see her.”
Clinton seemed to be implying that Hillary was gifted and driven and committed to public service and also was someone who genuinely liked to knock back beers in Cartagena and hit the dance floor in Pretoria. And it was sweet to hear the former president talk about his wife this way. But it also seemed like an exercise in magical thinking, as if the intervening decades of public life — with all the attendant drama and political missteps and immense power accrued and wielded — hadn’t complicated that vision of her. Hillary Clinton’s truest challenge, it would seem, is not to make the country glimpse who she was 40 years ago; it’s to recognize that for all the layers that have been added to the onion, there’s still something at the center that’s aching for the rest to be peeled away.
Läs mer: “How Our Hillary Clinton Cover Came About” av Arem Duplessis.
Tidskriftsomslag: The New York Times Magazine den 26 januari 2014.