Friday, June 27, 2014

A wave to sister bloggers from 2008 who supported Hillary

High marks in foreign policy with Hillary as SoS.
All of the online chatter about a potential Hillary Clinton run in 2016 is naturally triggering a flashback to 2008, but not necessarily to the Democratic primary or its outcome. Instead, it’s kind of a nostalgia trip in which I’m remembering with affection sister bloggers across the Internet who went all out in support of Hillary. And I’m wondering where they are now and what they’re thinking about in the run up to 2016. Here’s a wave from Virginia at Katalusis to Heidi Li at Heidi Li’s Potpourri, Stray Yellar Dog, Lady Boomer NYC, Puma for Life, Tennessee Guerilla Women, Cine’s World, and other online Hillary supporters too numerous to mention.

In the meantime, John Fetter, co-director of Foreign Policy in Focus, has published a thought-provoking piece on what a Hillary Clinton presidency might look like. But first, let me remind Fetter that the Obama Administration’s poll ranking in foreign policy was much higher when Clinton was SoS, than it is now with John Kerry holding that top cabinet post.

In one of the most enduring images from the lead-up to the 2008 Democratic primaries, frontrunner Hillary Clinton appeared in a rogue political ad as Big Brother.

It was a take-off on the infamous 1984 Super Bowl commercial that pitted upstart Apple against Big Blue (IBM) and urged consumers to "Think Different." In the campaign makeover two decades later, Clinton is intoning political platitudes on a screen in front of an audience of grey worker drones. A young woman races down the aisle, her Obama T-shirt ablaze with color in a black-and-white world, and launches a hammer at the screen. It explodes, and Clinton disappears. The ad is titled "Vote Different."

Like Apple, Obama styled himself as the younger, hipper, more unconventional alternative to the staid mainstream choice. Obama was so much of an outsider that many believed he'd been born outside the United States, while Clinton, the former first lady, was a consummate insider. He opposed the Iraq War while she voted for it. He embraced "purple America," while she was as Big Blue as you could get. He was a swirl of different flavors, while she was plain vanilla.

Each of these contrasts broke down on closer examination. But in part because he cultivated this image of a disrupter in the mold of Steve Jobs, Obama went on to win the Iowa primary, the Democratic Party nomination, and the presidency. Hillary Clinton had to content herself with secretary of state.

Seven years later, Clinton is considering another run at the presidency. Once again, she is the dominant brand in the marketplace, the one to beat. Just as IBM borrowed some of Apple's shine to reconnect with consumers -- adopting for example a more user-friendly interface -- Hillary will try, if she declares her candidacy, to capitalize on whatever remains of Obama's popularity to become America's first woman president. The right, without an obvious candidate to support, has already poured money into efforts like the website Washington Free Beacon to disrupt her candidacy. Several potential insurgents on the left -- Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders -- are waiting off stage.

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