I’ve been receiving numerous requests for more of my “totally conventional views,” and someone asked me about HRC. We’ve never covered her in the past, so why not? But by construction of this series, none of what follows is at all new and probably there won’t be any discussion in the comments. But with that in mind, I’ll offer up these points:
1. Women are judged far more by their looks than are men, and Hillary’s are not right for the presidency. She doesn’t seem composed enough, schoolmarmish enough a’ la Thatcher, and frankly many men, when they see her in their mind’s eye, imagine a voice saying “Look here, buster…!” Her hair is not properly ordered for the Executive Office, and I suspect many Americans want for their first female President to appear somewhat ageless. I am not suggesting any of this is fair or even an efficient form of Bayesian statistical discrimination, but it is a reality.
2. If not for factor #1, a healthy Hillary would be a shoo-in for demographic reasons, but as it stands her chances of winning are overrated.
3. A Clinton Presidency is the most likely of any, from the major candidates, to serve up significant and enduring market-oriented reforms. She could bring along enough Democrats to work with the Republicans, and reclaim a version of the old Clinton legacy. That said, her presidency also is more likely to effect change in the opposite direction as well, so the net expected value here is hard to calculate and still may be negative.
4. Given #1 and #2, and other gender-related factors, your opinion about Hillary, no matter what it may be, is less reliable than you think. That suggests you should think about her less rather than more (sorry people for this post, what did Wittgenstein say about that ladder?), because I don’t think you’re going to see much of a payoff from grabbing here at that third derivative.
5. The willingness of the Clinton Foundation to solicit donations from foreign governments and leaders is corrupt, and yet mostly receives a free pass, in spite of some recent coverage on corporate donations. I read recently they might stop soliciting donations “…if Hillary runs for President,” also known as “hurry up and give now!” Arguably we would be electing a political machine as President of the United States, even more than usual.
6. Democratic intellectuals and operatives are quite unexcited — or should I say “fervently and passionately unexcited” — about the prospect of a Hillary candidacy. The energy is already drained from the room, and they haven’t opened the door yet.
7. There is still the question of how the press, and the American people, might process any subsequent revelations about Bill’s “activities” since leaving the White House.
8. It will be hard to avoid giving the public “Hillary fatigue,” given how many years she has been in the public eye. This is another reason why I think her chances are overrated, plus she will have to be very careful to carry herself in the debates just the right way, see #1 and #2 again.
9. It is easier to transcend race than gender.