It’s not just that her position is now so formidable; the prospect or call for an ideologically pure challenger is based on a flawed premise. Hillary won’t be a purist, but she will run as a progressive.
First, she actually is—with her politics sensibly tempered by pragmatism—but so were FDR and JFK’s. Second, she’s smart—and she knows that it would be a mistake to create an opening for a potential primary opponent. She did that in 2008 by campaigning initially as a candidate of restoration, not change—and by neglecting to organize in caucus states. She won’t misread the Democratic landscape again.
Last week, Clinton—that is, Bill Clinton—sent an unmistakable signal about the direction of his wife’s 2016 race in a speech at Georgetown University reasserting his own progressive bona fides. He is plainly aware of, and annoyed by, a critique of Hillary that, as Rasmussen put it, is reinforced by a purported “repudiation” from the party’s rising populist forces of Clinton’s “more centrist approach.” So Bill’s claim to have been an agent of economic justice reflects not only a determination to secure his own past, but to safeguard the Clinton future.
It also reflects reality, even if Tim Noah is right that the former president overstated his case. Clinton pointed to his 1992 slogan: “Put People First.“
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