Commentator Robert Shrum in his column for The Daily Beast says that Republicans should be deeply concerned about the potential Hillary Clinton run for President in 2016. Why? Because she will knock their socks off and win the election. In the column, Shrum answers his friend David Frum who argues that a Clinton nomination would not be good for the Democrats.
Here are excerpts from Shrum's column:
She's back. And it seems like she never left at all.
After a pause to rest and recharge—and she apparently recharges swiftly—Hillary Clinton reemerged to a rapturous welcome at the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards last night, to be followed on Friday by a keynote speech at the Women in the World Summit sponsored by Newsweek and The Daily Beast. She came to the first event to pay tribute to Melanne Verveer, her former chief of staff, assistant secretary of State, and a pioneer of women's rights across the world—or as Clinton put it, one of "those amazing women who could not be denied."
The phrase aptly applies to her own prospects for 2016 as the amazing candidate who, if she chooses to run, almost certainly cannot be denied: the nomination or the presidency itself. Outside the Kennedy Center in Washington, the site of the Vital Voices event, a sign-waving crowd chanted: "Ready for Hillary." Almost simultaneously, a new political action committee was launched to promote her next race for the White House—and it promptly attracted 60,000 Twitter and Facebook followers.
She is far ahead in polls of Democratic primary voters. Remarkably, in a general election match-up, she leads Jeb Bush by 9 percent and Marco Rubio by 11 in their home state of Florida—and perhaps most stunningly, a PPP survey finds her ahead of Rubio, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the incarnadined Lone Star State.
All this sets the stage for extended kabuki theater about Hillary's intentions. She has no reason to rush in from the wings early on: her financial backers and fervent partisans will wait; her strength among women, who think it's time to elect one of their own, won't wane but intensify. She doesn't need an all-out, three-year long march to the Iowa caucuses. Now we have heard something like this before. But there's no Barack Obama out there to challenge her. And she won't make the decisive mistake she did in 2008, when her campaign misread the primary electorate and malpositioned her as a candidate of restoration in a year of change.
And all of this does something else: it sends the chill wind of a potential 16 years of Democrats in the White House, along with a Supreme Court where the justices actually do justice, through the fevered right-wing swamps of the Clinton-haters and the Obama-abominators who see the white-male dominated America of their imagining fading away. My colleague, friend, and podcast sparring partner David Frum is certainly not among them—instead he's offered the GOP perceptive counsel, fortunately spurned so far and perhaps indefinitely, about how to remake the party in substance as well as style. Now, however, on CNN and in The Daily Beast, he has weighed in with advice for Democrats and Clinton herself: She would be "a mistake for 2016." It is a provocative, fresh, and seemingly well-argued piece—but it's just plain wrong.
Finally, my friend and this would-be Democratic strategist writes that a Hillary abdication would open the way to a Democratic "renewal"—a debate between the defenders of the Obama legacy and candidates who believe in Bill Clinton's more moderate approach. Inside the party, no major presidential possibility would focus on that disjunction, let alone accept it. Every one of them, Hillary included, will look to the future—not to repudiate the president, but to build on what he has achieved. To do otherwise would be political suicide in the primaries. It's the other party that needs to renew himself, to find a path out of a fundamentalist wilderness on social issues, to reach the young, women, minorities, and Hispanics—and above all, stop looking and acting as if favors government of the privileged, by the privileged, and for the privileged.
The GOP may not transform itself until it's beaten again and again—for example, by Hillary Clinton in two successive presidential races. And if she walks away from 2016, Democrats will not rend themselves ideologically. Indeed, the odds-on choice then and the probable nominee will be Joe Biden. He's hardly in a position, or hardly disposed, to run against the Obama-Biden administration—and anyone who does will lose to him early on.
I can hear Frum's rejoinder: Biden will be 73. But what will count is vigor, not age. And Biden's performance in 2012, in the debate with Paul Ryan and in the critical swing states—and then in the fiscal cliff negotiations—robustly validates Robert Kennedy's observation that “youth is not a time of life, but a state of mind."
Biden appeared at the Vital Voices event too, where he told the cheering crowd: "There's no woman like Hillary Clinton." He's right, and I more than doubt he'll run if she does. Others may, but he's too astute a politician to take the plunge.
So David, Hillary Clinton won't "inherit the Democratic nomination and the presidency as an estate in reversion." She's earned it on her own. I'm convinced she will do it. And then she'll win it.
Yes, she's back—and Republicans should be very, very afraid.