USA | Hillary Clintons förra försök att bli demokraternas presidentkandidat kan sammanfattas i ett par paradoxer.
Ingen kan förneka att Clinton alltid omger sig av kompetenta och lojala medarbetare. Trots detta var hennes kampanjstab ständigt i luven på varandra senast Clinton försökte bli demokraternas presidentkandidat.
Den andra paradoxen är att Clinton – som utmålades som kompetent och erfaren – inte ens var kapabel att avstyra detta inbördeskrig.
Nu förslår Joshua Green i Bloomberg Businessweek en variant av den strategi som fick skulden för valförlusten mot Barack Obama.
Det huvudsakliga budskapet då var att Clinton var en kompetent ”Iron Lady” med erfarenhet. Om Clinton vunnit hade strategin säkert uppfattats som både briljant och självklar.
Perhaps the biggest management challenge of all is the one she’s married to. Bill Clinton can be any candidate’s most effective advocate, as Obama discovered at the 2012 Democratic convention in Charlotte. But in 2008, he was mostly a liability, offending many Democratic voters with comments that demeaned Obama’s victory in South Carolina and referring to his opposition to the Iraq War as “the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.”
All the careful planning and creative imagery—the upbeat video, the Iowa road trip—intended to distinguish Clinton from the candidate who ran last time, won’t matter if she hasn’t realized that her own shortcomings are what doomed her. In the end, she’s the only one with plausible authority to direct her own campaign. And the best way to assert control of her new operation would be for her to develop what was so sorely missing last time—a clear, overarching justification for her candidacy.
The best rationale for Clinton 2016 is the same one embedded in the attacks Republicans are already making: that she’s a creature of Washington who embodies the past, and that it’s time for a new face and an outsider. Clinton can’t avoid this critique. But she can subvert it by presenting her two decades in the White House, Senate, and State Department as experience that’s left her uniquely equipped to do what polls say Americans are pining for: Make Washington function better.
Clinton has always been called a “polarizing” figure (an increasingly meaningless designation that applies to every national politician, as voters have become more partisan). But she has an underappreciated credential that could be a weapon in the upcoming race: a record of thriving in an acrimonious, Republican-dominated climate like the one we have now.
As voters begin contemplating who should become the next president, Clinton can, if she chooses, make the strongest claim that she’s best suited to manage in the deteriorating conditions in Washington. How much will that matter? Probably more than at any time in the recent past. Beneath Americans’ intensely negative feelings toward Washington, and Congress in particular, lies an appreciation that the job of making the government function effectively will require more than just a new occupant in the Oval Office. A Washington Post-ABC News poll last month found that more Americans desire “experience” (55 percent) than “a new direction” (37 percent) in a presidential candidate. Clinton’s old line about her readiness to “do the job from Day One” may be more compelling this time around.
A steady majority of Americans continue to tell pollsters that they want compromise from Washington. Here, too, Clinton may have hidden appeal. A recent Pew Research poll found they believe by a 4-to-1 margin that women are better at working out compromises than men.
It would be no small irony if the exhaustion with partisanship that these numbers show turned out to be a positive, rather than a negative, force for Hillary Clinton. Of course, the prerequisite to any claim that she can make Washington function more effectively is that Clinton first pass the test she failed before—and run a professional campaign.
Tidskriftsomslag: Bloomberg Businessweek, 20-26 april 2015.