Yes, there’s a debate in the Democratic Party between the populist wing and the Goldman Sachs crowd with which the Clintons are aligned, but Clinton can debate those policies with skill when there actually is a campaign. Her husband will be a key force in testifying to her commitment to these issues. She can neutralize whatever disadvantage she has on this issue in order to let her other qualities shine.
What’s more problematic for Clinton are questions about her honesty. It has been a weakness for her in the past, and if “gaffes” ever sting, it’s usually when they inflame an existing caricature. Clinton’s honesty is an issue her opponents raised again and again during the 2008 Democratic primaries. It was essentially the theme of the debate in Philadelphia on Oct. 30, 2007. “I think what we need right now is honesty with the American people about where we would take the country,” said then-Sen. Obama about Clinton. John Edwards, who was keeping two sets of books in his personal life, nevertheless lectured: “The American people … deserve a president of the United States that they know will tell them the truth, and won’t say one thing one time and something different at a different time.” Trust and Hillary Clinton became such a theme of the debate that Bill Richardson complained that the entire debate had devolved into whether you could trust Hillary Clinton.