Published on TheHill.com
When everyone simply assumes that Hillary Rodham Clinton will be the nominee of her party, it’s a veritable obligation to challenge that “given” of the 2016 campaign.
Political junkies these days have clustered around the gaming tables of the Krauthammer Kasino where convivial addicts handicap the vast field of declared and potential Republican runners. Worthy of another discussion altogether, however, are collateral issues not yet on the Republican betting board: Likability, Running Mate scenarios, and above all, Electability.
For now, we should explore the Gobi-like environment left of the divide, one with practically no field of candidates. What’s to explore? Plenty.
When we assemble and review the facts as we know them, we might draw certain conclusions, politically speaking, especially if we first ask the most obvious questions. What did HRC know when she announced her candidacy on April 12th? She knew that if she waited any longer, other wannabes would potentially steal a fundraising march. More, she needed issues to arise and then, go away, with the help of media slaves. Lastly, she knew Elizabeth Warren waited just off-stage, and she could not let the new senator steal her rightful place in feminism’s pantheon.
Because Elizabeth Warren’s denials have been so strong, we are tempted to ask, what did she know? She knew she held a great gambler’s hand. HRC was the candidate-presumptive and she, EW, would be swimming upstream against the Clinton fundraising and political muscle machine if she were to be so foolish as to pre-empt the heiress. Is it possible that HRC convinced EW it was not “her turn” yet, that if she stayed out, and HRC were to be elected, as she and so many others have convinced themselves, HRC as POTUS, would be in a position to offer EW the Attorney Generalship or perhaps, a Supreme Court seat, the two best places to effect her social views?
If so, what would EW’s strategy be? Easy. Why work hard when that would be unnecessary and pointlessly damaging? Rather, it would be smarter to crank up Bernie Sanders, her neighbor/stalking horse, to keep the pressure on HRC, thus driving her leftward and letting the base get a taste of un-homogenized socialism, while EW, as dutiful progressive, merely tweaked HRC now and again about Wall Street big-money matters.
What EW also knows is that HRC’s candidacy is already doomed, and she has only to wait. Senator Warren—absolutely no relation to this writer, by the way—an apt student of political history and no slouch as a campaigner herself—knows that HRC is not one of those things, the most important one: she is not a good campaigner at all. Because HRC wears political entitlement like a new mink coat, she is likely to succumb to the same low scores on the likability index in 2015-16, as she did in 2007-08. HRC’s cellphone will not insulate her as she feels the jostle of the hoi polloi and an over-heated media crowd. Oh, the devoted base will allow themselves to be blinded from the on-high light, and she may keep up a certain charm for awhile, but the tension of the schedule will be unable to mask what’s underneath the frozen smile.
What does all that mean? Timing is everything, of course, but HRC’s low likability scores—practically everything for Low-Information-Voters in a POTUS race—will allow Elizabeth Warren to step from the shadows as the unblushing, drafted savior of the party banner—the unflagging sojourner for popular socialism.
So who will Elizabeth Warren’s VP be? With Martin O’Malley now garbed with a Baltimore hairshirt for the duration, Jim Webb may have to do.
Back in the Kasino, this observer puts $60 on Warren, $25 on Clinton, and $15 on higher health insurance premiums.
Warren is the author of Turnover and TurnAround, novels about electioneering fraud and high-stakes politics.