With yesterday’s informal announcement by a former advisor of Hillary Clinton that she will once again be running for the top office in American politics in 2020, the picture of the upcoming roster of presidential hopefuls for the Democrat Party just got a bit more interesting.
Longtime Clinton advisor Mark Penn, who wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, left little to uncertainty. One wouldn’t need to read past the title of the opinion piece to comprehend the crux of his argument, which is steeped in certainty: ‘Hillary Will Run Again’. According to Penn, the 2020 version of Clinton, aka Hillary Clinton 4.0, will be a reincarnation of the unabashedly left-leaning ‘firebrand’ the nation came to know in the 90s.
‘Get ready for Hillary Clinton 4.0. More than 30 years in the making, this new version of Mrs. Clinton, when she runs for president in 2020, will come full circle—back to the universal-health-care-promoting progressive firebrand of 1994.’ (Wall Street Journal)
Penn accurately points out that Hillary Clinton 2.0 was the most successful iteration of Hillary Clinton, a seeming moderate who manned a roost in the Senate as a representative of the state of New York from 2001 until 2009, when she decided to throw her hat in the ring as president. That version of Hillary espoused the virtues of heterosexual marriage, unequivocal support for Israel, and hardline policies against the Khomeini regime in Iran. Hillary Clinton 3.0 would move further left, imitating the likes of Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama while embracing her knack for chameleonic transformation, if only on the outside. In 2016, America unequivocally rejected this version of Hillary Clinton, issuing an indictment far harsher than their decision to go with Barack Obama in 2008.
But, according to Penn, Hillary Clinton 4.0 will double down on the platform and policies of Hillary 3.0, banking that the nation will, finally, choose to vote for the first female president in its history out of, if all else fails, resentment for Donald Trump. Penn paints this version of Hillary Clinton, presidential hopeful robbed and scorned, in an optimistic light.
‘Expect Hillary 4.0 to come out swinging. She has decisively to win those Iowa caucus-goers who have never warmed up to her. They will see her now as strong, partisan, left-leaning and all-Democrat—the one with the guts, experience and steely-eyed determination to defeat Mr. Trump. She has had two years to go over what she did wrong and how to take him on again.’
But early returns aren’t promising. Despite Penn’s claims that Clinton has a 75% approval rating among Democrats, it’s difficult to argue that Clinton’s act hasn’t worn thin, even on the side of the aisle with which she identifies. In a rare show of unity, pundits representing both sides of the political spectrum are seemingly in agreement: Hillary running in 2020 is not a good idea. Not for the Democratic Party, and not for the country. CNN Politics’ Chris Cilliza responded to the announcement with an article as plainly titled as Penn’s: ‘Here’s why Hillary Clinton 4.0 is a terrible idea’.
While Penn advises readers not to ‘pay much attention to the “I won’t run” declarations’, an examination of Clinton’s recent statements beg an unavoidable response: what “I won’t run” declarations?
In an interview with CNN in late October, Clinton made no bones about it: she still wants to be president. One would guess that she’s not going to wait until 2025 to once again pursue that wish.
"Well I'd like to be president. I think, hopefully, when we have a Democrat in the Oval Office in January of 2021, there's going to be so much work to be done. I mean we have confused everybody in the world, including ourselves. We have confused our friends and our enemies. They have no idea what the United States stands for, what we're likely to do, what we think is important, so the work would be work that I feel very well prepared for having been at the Senate for eight years, having been a diplomat in the State Department, and it's just going to be a lot of heavy lifting." (CNN)
The Penn op-ed seems like nothing more than a primer for the country: Hillary will be on your television screens, in the headlines, and on your ballots in 2020. Start to consider that this Hillary Clinton is different. This Hillary Clinton has learned her lessons. This Hillary Clinton genuinely means what she says, and this time, she’s scandal free. This Hillary Clinton could be the first female president, could avenge all of the wrongs – the homophobia, Islamophobia, Mexi-phobia, Mueller-phobia, pick a phobia – that have been perpetrated under the current administration.
Really, this time it will be different. This is a new Hillary, a hip Hillary, a presidential Hillary. Hillary 4.0, as she’s now being referred to.
And, just when Pocahontas was starting to think it was her year….