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The name of the political action committee laying the groundwork for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 candidacy is instructive. It’s called Ready for Hillary, as in “we’re ready.”
We already know she’s ready. Hillary’s readiness to be president hasn’t been in doubt for about two decades. All of the stories that ponder whether she will run as some kind of mystery ignore the fact that she has been trying for the top job since before she rolled out of Little Rock. Hillary auditioned to be co-president with her husband in 1992 and first publicly flirted with a run of her own 14 years ago. Oh, she’s ready, alright.
But are Democrats? Are voters?
Ready for Hillary is not so much a super PAC as a vehicle for public contrition. It is populated by politicos like Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who backed or worked for then-Sen. Barack Obama instead of Clinton in 2008. They wanted Obama, the hopeful, shamanistic and transcendent and not Hillary, the inevitable, obligatory and prescribed.
But now, having had their fun, they’re prepared to do their duty. And having seen hope turn into frustration, perhaps a little wiser, too. So they step forward and on bended knee say that now, they are ready for Hillary. They weren’t before. But now, expectations lowered, they can take it.
“Ready for Hillary,” they say through gritted teeth, like they are about to open their credit card statements.
How Hillary views these acts of obeisance remains unclear. The House of Clinton holds grudges, to be sure, but dispensations are always available for useful friends. But does the once and future frontrunner particularly want or need their help? Heaven knows that the Clintons can raise money – jumbo jet loads of the stuff. One supposes Huma Abedin or some other retainer could quickly launch a super-dooper super Pac with little trouble.
And every Democrat is clamoring to get aboard the SS Hillary before it leaves port, so it’s not like an endorsement from another red state Democrat or some Obama tech guys is going to make the difference. (Hillary is no doubt far more interested in whether Corey Booker is ready than if McCaskill is.)
Hillary is giving speeches to private equity firms, the same kinds of operations that Team Obama torched whilst attacking Mitt Romney in 2012. Remember “vulture capitalism” and “vampire?” She is already Oprah rich from her husband’s post-presidential exploits, so why is Clinton hanging out with KKR and Carlyle Group? The honoraria maybe, but more likely the fact that she will want the money men lined up squarely behind her primary and general election runs.
Democrats may cringe, but Hillary is taking no chances. If she needs to spend $2 billion, so be it. She’s not getting caught napping again.
Romney’s experience should be enlightening to Hillary, though. Aside from his suffering as a slow-moving, large target as primary frontrunner, he also showed the dangers of medicinal candidacies.
The 2012 Republican nominee dealt with his primary rivals and the incumbent president as well-intentioned but misguided. Romney tried to show forbearance for their wrongheadedness and expressed a belief that voters would eventually do the right thing and be sensible. Republicans did all they could do to resist, but eventually gave in. The general electorate, which seemed to agree with Romney about the president’s abilities and policies, couldn’t summon itself to act.
When Romney and running mate Paul Ryan crisscrossed the nation telling voters it was time to take their medicine – to endure cuts and get off the Hopium – Obama was offering a painless solution (for all but 1 percent of the country). We know how that turned out.
Many Democrats believe Hillary is owed the nomination and the presidency and assume that Americans after a bedraggling decade will be ready to be sobersided and sensible. That America is now ready – braced, even – for her ascension to the pinnacle of power.
But neither all of the private equity money in the world nor every Fluffernutter of a puff piece NBC can do will can make Americans ready for what they don’t want. And if they don’t want Hillary, any alternative can start looking pretty good.
Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News, and his POWER PLAY column appears Monday-Friday on FoxNews.com. Catch Chris Live online daily at 11:30amET at http:live.foxnews.com.
Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.