For pundits looking for signs that Hillary Clinton is thinking—just thinking—of perhaps challenging President Obama in 2012, there are suddenly plenty of tea leaves to be read.
Former aides to Bill Clinton are popping up in news stories criticizing the President’s performance and making dour predictions about the Democratic Party.
Why else are Clinton loyalists joining the fray other than to soften up Obama for a Hillary left-cross come, say, the summer of 2011, when she cites high unemployment and a country in malaise in deciding to run for President again?
The biggest jolt from the Clinton camp came compliments of Stan Greenberg, who used to poll for President Clinton, and James Carville, the campaign consultant who got him elected.
Their firm, Democracy Corps, put out a new poll that showed Republicans leading Democrats 48%-42% in the race to control the House of Representatives. It showed Democrats trailing Republicans on almost all economic issues. It showed Obama with the sinking job-approval number of 45%. Voters think, by big majorities, he is a big spender and too liberal.
A number of polls have shown similar numbers.
But then came clincher—the poisonous “S” word—the word even Republicans do not dare utter for fear of raising the wrath of the New York Times and Washington Post.
The two former Clinton aides asked respondents if the word “Socialist” describes Obama very well or well. Answer: 55% said yes.
Republicans, you have your gift. A good majority of Americans think the President is a Socialist. Feel free to use the adjective yourselves, compliments of two Democratic operatives who used to work for the Clintons.
Carville and Greenberg are not alone.
In a Financial Times article headlined “Obama faces growing credibility crisis,” no fewer than two ex-Clinton aides help back up the headline.
“If you ask me where the silver lining is for President Obama, I have to say I cannot see one,” Bill Galston, a former Clinton official, tells the Times. “Just as BP’s failure to cap the well has been so damaging, Obama’s failure to cap unemployment will be his undoing. There is nothing he can do to affect the jobless rate before November.”
“The bottom line here is that Americans don’t believe in President Obama’s leadership,” says Rob Shapiro, another former Clinton official, in the Times story. “He has to find some way between now and November of demonstrating that he is a leader who can command confidence and, short of a 9/11 event or an Oklahoma City bombing, I can’t think of how he could do that.”
Got it? Clinton loyalists are telling reporters Obama is a Socialist in the eyes of Americans and he is powerless to turn things around.
The President has plenty of critics for his handling of the BP oil gusher. But it is noteworthy that former Clinton people are as nasty as the rest.
“President Obama’s address to the nation from the Oval Office was, to be frank, vapid,” blogged former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich on Salon.com. “If you watched with the sound off, you might have thought he was giving a lecture on the history of the Interstate Highway System. He didn’t have to be angry but he had at least to show passion and conviction. It is, after all, the worst environmental crisis in the history of the nation.”
Carville is perhaps the most outspoken Obama oil-spill critic on TV. On CNN and ABC, he has painted the President as inept, not wanting to be bothered by an environmental disaster so he left the fix up to BP.
“The political stupidity of this is just unbelievable,” Carville said. “The President of the United States could have come down here. He could have been involved with the families of these 11 people [killed in explosion]. He could have demanded a plan in anticipation of this. He just looks like he’s not involved in this. You’ve got to get down here and take control of this. Put somebody in charge of this and get this thing moving. We’re about to die down here.”
It would be naive to think that the 2008 bitter Obama-Clinton primary battles, ones that had her red-faced husband lecturing reporters, have not left sour feelings. Obama dealt with it by bringing her onboard. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.
Recently, pundits have noted some daylight between the President and the secretary. She talked in an interview of the importance of good fiscal policy to keep America strong—a perceived shot at the President and the burgeoning debt. While the White House sniped at Gen. Stanley McChrystal in Afghanistan, the secretary of State stood by him.
While Clintonites pile on Obama, the President keeps trying to keep them close. He just named Jacob Lew, a former Clinton aide who went with Hillary to the State Department, as his new budget director. The White House called in an aide to the former President recently to discuss his 2010 campaign schedule.
There was a good reason. Clinton had just endorsed a Democrat for the U.S. Senate from Colorado. It was not the man Obama wanted.
Former Clinton adviser turned Hillary-watcher Dick Morris said on Fox News that Hillary still wants the presidency more than anything else in the world.
Morris wrote in June, “As always with the Clintons, the signs are made evident by a carefully choreographed two-step in which they fill their separate roles, one as an outsider and the other as a loyal insider with the Obama Administration. But never doubt that everything these two do is coordinated and orchestrated.”
Mark Larson, a popular conservative talk show host in San Diego, has been watching the Clintons for years.
“I think she knows very well what is happening and could happen,” he told HUMAN EVENTS. ” Still being the ‘good soldier’ as secretary of State, but she has to know that if Obama continues down this disaster path that even her biggest detractors would welcome her back, giving fresh consideration to a candidacy. So much of what conservatives feared about Clinton is nothing in comparison to the actions, behavior and spin in this administration.”