Fair warning folks, as I write this I’m streaming Pandora and the song “I Can’t Help Myself” is playing. The song has a really good beat to it and you just can’t help yourself from murmuring along. In the same way Democrats can’t help themselves when it comes to Hillary in 2016. “Ready for Hillary” is a Super-PAC that is ready for a Hillary 2016 run and has already began coordinating with Obama ‘12 staffers to build an even more finely tuned political machine ahead of the presidential election season. I’ll pay you $20 if you can find me a news outlet that doesn’t bring up 2016 and Hillary in the same segment. The giddiness that surrounds a potential Clinton run is tangible and rightfully so. This is ‘her time’ and in a politically honest way, hers to lose. Democrats would do well to take some time to replenish their battle chest though. The attack lines of ‘08 could very well come back to bite them in ‘16 and before you know it the perceived “out of touch” definition of the Republican party could become the hypocrisy of the Democratic party.
Remember that in 2008 Republicans were hard pressed to shake off the inescapable question for John McCain of “Is he too old for office?” McCain looked old. I’m not being partisan and I’m not being mean. He looked, and looks, old and that doesn’t bode well for a candidate running for the nation’s’ top political office. In a lower political seat it’s not as big an issue, but when it’s POTUS it puts a lot of other things in perspective and increases their importance, namely the line of succession. For Senator McCain his VP choice was a weak one and that’s being nice. Sarah Palin was not qualified for being Vice President of the United States. Much less to become the president if something should happen. To be completely honest Paul Ryan was a far better and safer pick for VP than Palin ever could hope to be. At least the guy was articulate even if he did lie through his teeth. But I digress. Democrats fairly brought into the forefront of personal issues about a president John McCain’s age and what impact that would have on the nation. Going into his inauguration McCain would have been 71 years old. Considering that the American dream used to be something where you retired by 40 and died by 70 this was important.
Quite astutely Democrats tied age with McCain and painted him as a man lost in a perpetual fog. They said he was “confused” and had “lost his bearings” or became “out of touch.” In an attempt to shake the narrative the Republicans would shoot back that Barack Obama was the one who was “confused” and that was due to his lack of experience as a freshman Senator. It’s clear by now which narrative stuck and resonated more with the voters. If Hillary Clinton chooses to run in 2016 she’ll have to take a play from the McCain book and maybe verbatim use what he said:
“I’m older than dirt and have more scars than Frankenstein, but I’ve learned a few things along the way.”
Why do I say this? Well by the time she would be inaugurated she’d by 70 years old within her first year in office. Hey let me be upfront here, she looks GOOD for her age. But then again women typically do look better than men at older ages. Clinton carries with her a lasting image and legacy. She’s strong, she’s capable, she’s ready. From dealing with an embarassment by her husband, President Bill Clinton, to breaking barriers as a Senator, to forcing a president, President Barack Obama, to play second fiddle on foreign policy, she’s got a whole range of ammunition to use to demonstrate her capability. In the same way that Democrats painted Romney as a flip flopper in 2012, they could be painted as a party of flip floppers if they choose to try to pass off Clinton’s age as irrelevant when they made McCain’s so prevalent. Something to look forward to in 2014 will be how the narrative is shaped. Back to music, Democrats could find themselves doing “The Twist” to get out of this particular corner.