Hillary Clinton now makes two main arguments for her candidacy:
1 – she will be the most ready on “day one” to start work as president
2 – she is best qualified to withstand the “Republican attack machine” in the general campaign.
Let’s say she’s right. I don’t particularly care about either of these two qualifications.
Yes, Hillary has spent a lot of time in the White House. And I’m guessing that on day one, no one is going to have to tell her where the closest bathroom is, how to lock the bomb shelter door, or even which of those guys in uniform is the one holding the case with the atomic bomb codes.
But what about day two? Or day a hundred? Or day one thousand? It’s the long haul I’m concerned about, not the decisions that get made in the first 24 hours. Whoever is president will be faced with a unique learning curve: determining how to reverse the course of an empire bent of fascism. I’ll make my decision on who seems poised to figure that out. The suggestion that Hillary already knows how to deal with the world’s crises only plays to her weakness, by suggesting that she’ll be using old tactics of previous administrations.
And while we’re on old battles, qualification #2 worries me more – not because I underestimate the “Republican attack machine,” but because defending against it is the second most important quality Clinton thinks a candidate should have. She’s already gearing up for Swift-Boat-style accusations – when, so far, hers is the only candidacy guilty of this kind of rhetoric. And while I hate to sound too optimistic, mightn’t there be a better way to deal with false character attacks than gearing up for them in advance?
Both of these qualifications are qualifications for running, not for leading. And like most of Clinton’s campaign choices so far, only push me further into the anyone-but-Hillary camp of the Democratic party. From a use-of-media standpoint, anyway, she seems determined to continue casting herself as the Tony Soprano candidate.