Hillary Clinton has taken no public position on the trade promotion authority bill everyone in Washington is talking about, and which has thrown Democrats into such paroxysms of back-stabbiness that even the Washington Post has compared their infighting to that of, gasp!, Republicans.
Can we imagine for a moment a Republican attempting to run for office just not taking a position on such a large issue? Such a candidate would be mocked within an inch of his or her life. Hell, they all have to positions on attendance at hypothetical gay weddings and the hypothetical catering thereof.
Mark Halperin and that other guy whose name starts with H on Bloomberg called it a “lack of leadership,” but also posit it’s smart politics for her to stay out of it. Sure it is, but only because no aggressive, hostile press corps is pressing her people on it every second of every day until she makes herself or her opinion available, as would certainly be the case if she were a Republican. And, that’s fair. It shouldn’t make for good politics to completely avoid taking a position on an issue of importance because the press should beat you with your “lack of leadership” until you say something.
Ms. Clinton’s dash for the tall grass is transparently inconsistent with the position she embraced as Mr. Obama’s secretary of state. “Our hope is that a TPP agreement with high standards can serve as a benchmark for future agreements — and grow to serve as a platform for broader regional interaction and eventually a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific,” she wrote in an October 2011 cover story for Foreign Policy magazine. Indeed, given this well-known record, her avoidance now rather insults the electorate’s intelligence.
With the president’s agenda embattled in the Senate, this would be a good time for Ms. Clinton to abandon her political caution and speak up for what she said so recently were her principles. In refusing to take a stand, Ms. Clinton is not only abandoning the president she once served but also missing an opportunity to help define the values of the party she would lead in November 2016.
Meanwhile un-running for president might not be all it’s cracked up to be if Gallup numbers are any indication. The needle, it moves:
PRINCETON, N.J. — Hillary Clinton’s favorable rating from the American people has been steady — near 50% — all spring, but her unfavorable rating has inched higher and is now 46%, up from 39% in March. At the same time, the percentage of Americans with no impression of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state has gone down.
The last three months have been an important time for Clinton. Since officially launching her presidential campaign in mid-April, she has been deflecting criticism of her exclusive use of a private email address while secretary of state, and more recently, partisan charges of possible conflicts of interest stemming from the Clinton Foundation’s reliance on foreign donors. Separately, Clinton is scheduled to testify before the House Select Committee on Benghazi next week.