Opinion: John Phillips: Why Hillary Clinton must run in 2012
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If Hillary Clinton’s primary voters and President Obama had their relationship status listed on their Facebook pages, it would change from “Married” to “It’s complicated.”
To be fair, Hillary voters never fell in love with Obama, they just fell in line. Their relationship is less like a Julia Roberts chick flick and more like a Bengali arranged marriage.
Because of their arrangement, Hillary-loving Obama voters are quick to jump ship whenever Mr. Hope-and-Change looks like he’s getting played again by his political opponents, is in over his head or is dissing their girl.
Despite Obama’s anti-climactic campaign announcement just now, according to all the recent polls, Hillary voters aren’t only jumping ship –- they’re taking their fins, snorkels and pina coladas with them.
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows President Obama’s approval rating at....
...a pathetic 42% –- down four points from early March. The American public isn’t impressed with his handling of the crisis in Libya either -– with 47% of the public against the war and 58% of registered voters saying the president has not clearly stated U.S. goals for the mission.
These numbers are bad –- really bad –- CNN prime time ratings bad. To put them into context, according to Gallup, 76% of Americans supported military action against Iraq in 2003, 90% gave the A-OK for strikes against Afghanistan in 2001, and 65% approved of putting boots on the ground in Somalia in 1993.
It’s also important to state that this isn’t part of a ‘throw all the bums out’ mood directed at Washington.
The approval numbers for Hillary are nearing an all-time high –- with Gallup showing 66% of Americans giving ‘Hill the Thrill’ a big thumbs up –- up from 61% in July.
This leads to the questions: Why are one out of three Hillary lovers giving Obama bad marks? Will they stick with him in November 2012?
And, most importantly, if she senses enough blood in the water, will Hillary quit the administration and launch a primary bid against Obama?
Hill-rage at Obama
Hillary Clinton’s big selling point during the 2008 Democratic primaries was that she was an experienced hand who’s been around the block a few times...not like how her husband has been around the block...but, you get the point.
Then-Sen. Clinton’s ‘3 AM Phone Call’ ad drove that point home. The 30-second TV spot raised the possibility of a future world crisis and asked voters who they would want in the White House making the big decisions if all hell broke loose.
Hillary voters ate it up with a spoon –- deciding that an awakened and enraged Clinton with cold cream on her face and curlers in her hair is far scarier to third-world despots than an ex-Illinois state senator.
The military action in Libya is Team Hillary’s ‘I told you so’ moment...with Hillary serving as the realistic, aggressive war hawk and Obama being a not-ready-for-prime-time waffler.
This frustration was expressed by a Clinton insider in the British newspaper The Daily, who said, ‘Obviously, she’s not happy with dealing with a president who can’t decide if today is Tuesday or Wednesday, who can’t make his mind up...it’s like playing sports with a bunch of amateurs. And she doesn’t have any power. She’s trying to do what she can to keep things from imploding.”
This may not be a vote of no confidence...but at a minimum, it’s voting ‘present.’
Hill today, gone tomorrow
Hillary voters weren’t swooned by Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries and many are abandoning him in public opinion surveys today. But are they mad enough to ride the elephant in 2012?
Get out the saddle, because that’s exactly what they did in 2010.
In the midterm elections, while it’s true the Democrats were routed everywhere, they got especially creamed in states where Hillary did well. In House races, the Democrats lost four seats in Florida, six in New York, five in Ohio, four in Pennsylvania and three in Texas –- all states Hillary carried in the 2008 Democratic primaries.
Meanwhile, the Democrats strengthened their hand in places that went heavily for Obama in 2008 –- with pickups in Hawaii, Delaware and the MSNBC prime-time lineup.
The lesson: Hillary voters aren’t only willing to pull the plug on their fellow Democrats -– they’re willing to yank it like they’re starting a lawn mower.
What the Hill? Hillary in 2012?
While it’s true the Clintons are ambitious people, they’ve never been known to go on suicide missions -– those are for terrorists and hotel chains willing to rent rooms to Charlie Sheen.
Despite her contemporary denials, Hillary would only throw her hat in the ring if she thought she had a better than even chance at moving back into the White House. Obama is looking weak, but not weak enough to justify a primary challenge...yet.
If Libya turns into a full blown disaster...resulting in billions of dollars wasted, boots on the ground and abysmal public opinion numbers, my money is on Hillary resigning her post as secretary of State and jumping in the 2012 primary.
She can even rerun the ‘3 AM Phone Call’ ad...with the tagline ‘See, I told you so.’
Previous John Phillips’ Ticket items
For Republicans in 2012, it’s Sarah Palin or another big fat L
At CPAC with Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Sarah Palin
Lessons from a political visit to Washington
-- John Phillips
Strangely enough, a man named John Phillips hosts “The John Phillips Show” on Talk Radio 790 KABC in Los Angeles, which can be heard weeknights from 6 to 10 p.m. Pacific. Outside Southern California, his show is available live online at KABC.com Also follow Phillips on Twitter @JohnnyDontLike
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