Good-Enough Hillary


I miss 2008. That was the year when Democrats, at least for a little while, could feel good about any number of presidential candidates. Wasn’t it great while it lasted?

Now Democrats have one unannounced candidate for 2016. I’d like to feel good about Hillary Clinton, or at least less uneasy. But I’m afraid emailgate is just a preview of what is to come. Maybe there’s an issue, maybe there isn’t—it doesn’t seem to matter, because Clinton herself becomes the issue. Not only her diehard enemies but her would-be supporters join in the feeding frenzy. So I’m trying to step away from the Democrat’s favorite formation: the circular firing squad.

In a Nation issue from last November assessing a potential HRC candidacy, Joan Walsh, Salon’s editor-at-large, wrote:

If Hillary Clinton runs and wins, she will be a good enough president. Not progressive enough for me, by any means, but as progressive as anyone currently electable. I expect to vote for her—if not in the Democratic primary, then later, in November 2016. That’s it. That’s my endorsement. . . . . . . My willingness to accept Clinton as a Democratic presidential nominee doesn’t stem from any great passion for Hillary herself—though I respect her—but from my aversion to the impotent game of “Let’s find an insurgent candidate who will topple a centrist front-runner!” played by the left every four to eight years. It’s a colossal waste of political time and energy.

That’s how I feel. Besides, I’d like to skip the crash this time round. Sure, the initial euphoria of the 2008 election was great. But I and many others projected such high hopes onto President Obama that disappointment would have been inevitable even if the Republicans had not undermined him at every opportunity. Why not save myself a whole lot of heartache and start out with realistic expectations?

It’s like first love versus the older-but-wiser variety: not quite as fervid, but a sensible choice.