Hillary Clinton 2012 Ad Running

The first ad of the 2012 presidential cycle has aired, by some dentist touting Hillary Clinton. She's not running. Could she?

The first ad of the 2012 presidential cycle has aired.  The “candidate”?  Hillary Clinton.

No, Hillary Clinton does not endorse this message.   CNN’s Paul Steinhauser, Rebecca Stewart, and Frances Sanchez explain:

“She has more experience working in and with the White House than most living presidents. She is one of the most admired women in our nation’s history. Let’s make sure the president we should have elected in 2008 will be on the ballot in 2012. Hillary 2012: Hillary Clinton for President. Start now. Where there’s a Hill there’s a way,” says an ad that began running on television in New Orleans Wednesday.

The commercial was paid for by a Chicago dentist named William DeJean.

When asked why he put the ad up, DeJean told CNN Thursday that “I’m a dentist and I don’t think this country is headed in the right direction.”

Regarding Clinton, DeJean says “I think she is the most qualified.”

DeJean adds that he thinks people are having buyer’s remorse about President Barack Obama and says the current administration is ruining the Democratic Party. He says he spent $5,000 to create the commercial and tells CNN that besides New Orleans, the ad will run in Washington, New York and Los Angeles, and possible Houston. DeJean says he chose to first run the ad in New Orleans because he’s a native of the city and because the city’s in the news due to the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

[…]

Since becoming secretary of state in the Obama administration, Clinton has squashed any talk of her either challenging Obama in 2012 or making another bid for the White House down the road.  In an interview with NBC last October, Clinton said “no” three times to the question “will you ever run for president again?”  At town hall in Saudi Arabia in February, Clinton said “I am very proud to support Barack Obama and I will continue to support Barack Obama.”

For the record, I take her at her word.    No doubt, she’d still very much like to be president.  But she knows how the game is played and, barring calamity, Obama will be her party’s 2012 nominee and she’ll likely be too old and too far removed from her glory days to get the nod in 2016.

It’s not unthinkable that non-tragic circumstances could arise that would leave Obama open for a serious primary challenge, though.   He’s still reasonably popular — remarkably so given the dismal state of the economy — but his numbers are going in the wrong direction.  And Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush both faced competition in getting re-nominated under less trying circumstances than now exist.  If we still have double-digit unemployment a year from now, the door’s open.

Could Clinton pull a Teddy Kennedy?  I don’t see it.  While the Clintons have surpassed the Kennedys as the First Family of the Democratic Party, it’s an incredibly risky move and the Clintons are known for their political caution.  (Other forms of caution, not so much, as least in Bill’s case.)  And she couldn’t plausibly make her move as Obama’s Secretary of State.    And she missed her chance to resign to the applause of her base when she enthusiastically backed the Afghanistan Surge.

If there’s going to be a primary challenge from the Left, it’ll have to come from someone who’s, well, actually to Obama’s Left on issues that matter to the Democratic nominating electorate.

UPDATE:  Doug Mataconis notes this graph:

The disapproval numbers are definitely going up but 77.6% approval is quite remarkable all things considered.  Even granting that the disapprovers are more likely to turn out in a primary, Obama’s a long way from needing to worry about getting his party’s 2012 nod.

FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Rather than Obama’s overall approval number, this is the number that the people on the right who think Hillary is going to challenge him in 2012 need to look at:

    http://www.pollster.com/polls/us/jobapproval-obama-dems.php?xml=/flashcharts/content/xml/USObamaJobPresDems.xml&choices=Approve,Disapprove&phone=&ivr=&internet=&mail=&smoothing=&from_date=&to_date=&min_pct=&max_pct=&grid=&points=&trends=&lines=

    Unless and until that number changes significantly, the prospect of a serious intraparty challenge is the stuff of Glenn Beckian fantasies, not serious political analysis.

     

  2. Brummagem Joe says:

    “and she’ll likely be too old and too far removed from her glory days to get the nod in 2016.”

    In that case you think that McCain was too old a candidate for the presidency since she’ll be younger than he was when he ran in 2016 and probably younger than Reagan when he ran in 84 but I haven’t checked. Glory day far removed? She’s SoS so hardly off the national stage in fact you could say she’s at the height of her glory days. Prediction. Obama wins in 2012 (a walkover if it’s Palin) and it’s Hillary 2016.     

  3. James Joyner says:

    In that case you think that McCain was too old a candidate for the presidency since she’ll be younger than he was when he ran in 2016 and probably younger than Reagan when he ran in 84 but I haven’t checked.

    Age was a liability in both cases.  And, like it or not, it’s more of a liability for a woman than a man.

    Glory day far removed? She’s SoS so hardly off the national stage in fact you could say she’s at the height of her glory days.

    Her glory days was when her husband was president. Absent that, we’d never have heard of her.   And the last person to get elected president after a term as SoS was, what, Thomas Jefferson?  And he had other things going for him.

  4. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Her glory days was when her husband was president. Absent that, we’d never have heard of her.”

    How we came to hear about her is irrelevant to her “glory days”. First spouse. Senator for the the great state of New York. Presidential Candidate. Secretary of State. To claim that first spouse is the most glorious of these strikes me as perverse!   

  5. DavidL says:

    While Ronald Reagan and John McCain were both older than Mrs. Clinton would be in ‘Twelve,both had real first hand experience.  Only in Mrs. Clinton’s deluded mind does living in the family portion of the White House qualify as executive experience.

  6. the last person to get elected president after a term as SoS was, what, Thomas Jefferson?  And he had other things going for him.

    For the first 30 years or so of the Republic, the Sec of State was actually a more viable stepping stone to the Presidency than the VP’s office. Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, J.Q. Adams, and Martin Van Buren all served as Sec of State before becoming President (although for both Jefferson, Adams and Van Buren, they served in other positions immediately prior to winning the office).

    Since Van Buren, though, the only other person to have served as both Sec of State and President was James Buchanan, who was Polk’s Secretary of State until 1849. Since then, the position has not been a stepping stone to higher office

  7. Brummagem Joe says:

    DavidL says:

    Friday, September 3, 2010 at 11:14

    “‘both had real first hand experience.  Only in Mrs. Clinton’s deluded mind does living in the family portion of the White House qualify as executive experience.”

    Oh, two term senator, nearly successful presidential candidate, secretary of state, doesn’t qualify as executive experience. ok.

  8. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Since then, the position has not been a stepping stone to higher office”

    In the main surely that’s because in modern times the job has almost invariably been occupied by someone who was not a politician or even if he was didn’t really have realistic presidential ambitions.

  9. reid says:

    Only in Mrs. Clinton’s deluded mind does living in the family portion of the White House qualify as executive experience.

    Cripes, someone needs to grow up and out of the year 2000.

  10. Tano says:

    Her glory days was when her husband was president. Absent that, we’d never have heard of her.
     
    AH, sorry James, but that is one of the wierdest things I have ever seen you write. Do you have some problem dealing with a woman who has accomplishments? Her time as first lady will surely be the least important time of her career. If the Obama administration has some significant foreign policy successes over the next 6 years, she will have quite a bit of glory. Being first lady would be nothing compared to that.

  11. Wayne says:

    How many first ladies went on to run for the senate, for President, appointed to SOS?  
     
    Applying historical standard doesn’t work when looking at her. It is a guessing game at the moment but I would say it is a 50\50 chance as of now that she will run. If the Reps make great gains in November and Obama continues to have trouble, I see her stepping down from SOS sometime around next summer.
     
    She will later state that she became SOS in “hope” of being part of a great administration that would “change” the world. However she soon realizes that Obama didn’t have the experience needed to pull it off and it was with great regret that she needed to resign. However she knows how to deliver where Obama could not, etc.
     
    Conventional wisdom would say she won’t but like I said already, she has gone against conventional wisdom many times before. IMO she would have a good chance of beating Obama in the primary this time around.  Not only that but IMO she would be a tougher opponent to whoever wins the Rep primary.
     
    So as much as I would like to see that fight in the Dem Primary, I hope she doesn’t do it. Even though I think the Rep candidate will win in the end.

  12. reid says:

    Wayne: There’s no way Clinton runs in 2012.  She built up quite a bit of animosity with many Democrats in the ugly, divisive 2008 primary.  She’s slowly rebuilt her reputation since, but no one wants to go through that again.  She has to know that and probably feels the same way.  She caused enough grief within the party in 2008; running against the incumbent would be crazy.  (Not only that, but she would likely lose again.)  Now if Obama doesn’t run again for some reason, it’s a different story, but I think that’s highly unlikely.

  13. James Joyner says:

    Do you have some problem dealing with a woman who has accomplishments?

    Which accomplishments are those, exactly?   She was an unknown who catapulted to the Senate using the name recognition and infrastructure provided by her husband’s presidency.   She served eight years competently in that position but, in an institution that favors seniority, didn’t get anything of particular note passed.

    Her 2012 campaign was entirely based on her celebrity status, not her achievements.

    Her time as first lady will surely be the least important time of her career. If the Obama administration has some significant foreign policy successes over the next 6 years, she will have quite a bit of glory. Being first lady would be nothing compared to that.

    She’s been SoS for going on two years now and hasn’t accomplished anything of note.  That’s not a criticism — she’s done a fine job, far exceeding my expectations (I thought her too prickly to be Chief Diplomat) — but a reflection of the opportunities she’s had.  Rarely do SoS’s get significant mileage out of their tenure such that they’d burnish presidential credentials.

  14. Tano says:

    IMO she would have a good chance of beating Obama in the primary this time around.
     

    I must say, that everything I have ever seen and learned from in a lifetime of watching politics tells me this is totally wrong.
     
    Obama is still very popular as a political leader. I don’t think any Republican would have the slightest prayer of beating him if the election this November were a presidential election. His popularity amongst Democrats is…well, you can see the graph above. For Hillary to quit her job – the most prestigious and responsible job in the administration, one that Obama has asked her to fulfill – to abandon those responsibilities to mount a campaign against the President who appointed her – would be totally unthinkable.
     
    On what possible grounds could she justify such a move? Obviously not on the grounds of any lack of accomplishment in foreign policy, given that that would be a criticism of her as well. Domestically? He has merely succeeded where she failed, in passing a health care bill that actually resembles her proposal from the campaign more than his own.
     
    Seriously, this is an absolute impossibility.

  15. Tano says:

    Which accomplishments are those, exactly?

     

    [the Senate] She served eight years competently in that position

     

    She’s been SoS for going on two years now …she’s done a fine job, far exceeding my expectations

     
    Plus, as I meant to make clear, there are six years possibly left on her tenure as SoS, during which she, for instance, may play a significant role in an Israeli-Palestinian peace treaty, or be seen to have had a derterninative voice in defining the US relationship with China in a way that is fruitful and sustainable, or she may be seen as being a central player in what may be an improved national security outlook, or may be seen as partly responsible for the fact that the US regains a position of respect in the international community.
     
    None of these things are guaranteed to happen of course, but all are possible, and all would be somewhat more glorious than decorating the WH Christmas tree.
     

  16. Tano says:

    Rarely do SoS’s get significant mileage out of their tenure such that they’d burnish presidential credentials.
     

    Well its a small sample size – and there are so many factors at play in determining political viability. And most Secretarys have not been electoral politicians.
     
    But I would argue actually most of our recent Secretarys have left office with such enhanced credentials that they could  have contested the Presidency if some of the other necessary factors were present. Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, James Baker, Colin Powell – maybe even Madeline Albright,  if any of them had the souls of politicians, and maybe some electoral experience, and the desire to run – they would certainly have been, at the very least, taken seriously.
     
    My point being that their time as SoS did, if anything, increase their standing as potential presidents, it did not diminish it.

  17. Wayne says:

    Reid
    I am not a liberal or a Democrat. So I do put value in what those who are say on how they feel about it. I won’t go as far as say you are certainly right but I hope you are right on her not running.
     
    Tano
    Obama’s strongly unfavorably is much higher than his strongly favorable. His popularity is taking a nose dive much faster than any recent prior President.  IMO he won’t be reelected. Only time will tell.

  18. Brummagem Joe says:

    “AH, sorry James, but that is one of the wierdest things I have ever seen you write.”

    I have to concur James. I like this site because you cover a lot of ground, there’s not too much shouting, and you and Doug personally are usually fairly well grounded but you do say some weird things occasionally. The how and why of how she arrived where she is (being married to Bill) is a) irrelevant and b) isn’t remotely comparable with her record since unless of course the American political landscape is with teaming with people (men or women) who have been twice elected senators from a major state, probably the first ever serious female presidential candidate, and now SoS. Would you like to give us a list of them. Dems or Republicans.      

  19. James Joyner says:

    The how and why of how she arrived where she is (being married to Bill) is a) irrelevant and b) isn’t remotely comparable with her record

    My point, apparently not sufficiently well stated, is that her frontrunner status in 2008 came almost entirely from her celebrity status, with very little help from her record as a United States Senator.  (The same, incidentally, is true of the man who ultimately beat her.)

    This isn’t a slur.  She’s bright and capable and has proven herself willing to work hard and be a team player, both as a junior senator and now as SoS, despite her celebrity status.

    I’m just saying that, absent being Mrs. Bill Clinton, she’d never have gotten elected to the Senate (certainly, not from New York!), been a serious presidential contender, or appointed to the senior post in the cabinet.   And, even with 8 years in the Senate and potentially 8 as SoS on her resume, she likely still wouldn’t be a serious contender absent her celebrity status.  Which, again, came almost entirely because of being married to Bill, who’s a political rock star.

  20. Brummagem Joe says:

    Jim, it’s moved on since being married to the rock star. And if being twice elected senator doesn’t qualify you where does this leave a lot of future presidential candidates. As far as I can see there is no one out there (and you didn’t provide any names) with a remotely comparable resume. The fact she used to be the boss’s wife years ago is totally irrelevant except inasmuch as it adds to her celebrity. But being a celebrity (while certainly an important medium of exchange in the US political system) isn’t anywhere enough on its own. Otherwise you’re saying Laura Bush or Nancy Reagan would have been viable presidential candidates solely because of their celebrity.  

  21. The assertion that Hillary Clinton never would have been a United States Senator, never mind a frontrunner for her party’s nomination for President, had she not been married to Bill Clinton and had Bill Clinton not been elected President seems so obvious to me that I don’t see why James’s statement is at all controversial.

  22. Tano says:

    My point, apparently not sufficiently well stated, is that her frontrunner status in 2008 came almost entirely from her celebrity status, with very little help from her record as a United States Senator.

     
    The problem is not with the stating of the point, it is with the point itself. It was not her celebrity status that made her the front runner. She was, as you yourself point out, a twice-elected US Senator from one of the largest and most important states, and she was widely seen as doing a very good job of it. Plus she was an articulate advocate for her political positions, and a sufficiently gifted politician to have a demonstrated ability to win over significant numbers of voters.
     

    The assertion that Hillary Clinton never would have been a United States Senator, never mind a frontrunner for her party’s nomination for President, had she not been married to Bill Clinton….

     
    Thats not what James said. No one is arguing with the fact that her status as First Lady is what put her in the middle of the political spotlight. Were she not married to Bill, who knows what would have become of her (although I don’t think it impossible for her to have found her way to the spotlight on her own). Clearly she can thank her “celebrity status” and marriage to Bill for getting her to the Senate from NY in 2000. But that hardly dictates a further role – being taken seriously as a presidential candidate in her own right. She had to do that on her own. She had to convince millions of people that she could do the job herself, and she succeeded in doing just that. The manner in which she performed her duties in the Senate was part of that, and her abilities to communicate her political vision did the rest.
     

    And, even with 8 years in the Senate and potentially 8 as SoS on her resume, she likely still wouldn’t be a serious contender absent her celebrity status.

     
    Thiis is the part I really don’t get James. I do not mean to argue with your point if it were restricted to merely saying that Hillary got her start because of her marriage to Bill. But you seem to think that given the fact that that is how she got her start, she will never be entitled to any credit for anything that she does.
     
    Being a US Senator from a major state for 8 years, and then being a successful SoS (if it turns out that way) would put her ahead of most of our recent Presidents in terms of quality of resume. How can you possibly claim that after all that, she would not be seen as a credible candidate absent her celebrity status?

  23. James Joyner says:

    Being a US Senator from a major state for 8 years, and then being a successful SoS (if it turns out that way) would put her ahead of most of our recent Presidents in terms of quality of resume.

    Being a junior senator means pretty much nothing in terms of presidential experience. SoS is pretty meaningful experience, although not that has translated into a credible run for the presidency in the modern era.

    Again, her appeal is her celebrity, not any accomplishment. Since you seem to feel strongly otherwise, what accomplishments — not mere resume lines, actual accomplishments — can you point to that make her a strong presidential contender?
     

  24. Brummagem Joe says:

    ‘seems so obvious to me that I don’t see why James’s statement is at all controversial.”

    Because that wasn’t all he asserted Doug.

  25. Brummagem Joe says:

    “Being a junior senator means pretty much nothing in terms of presidential experience. SoS is pretty meaningful experience, although not that has translated into a credible run for the presidency in the modern era.
    Again, her appeal is her celebrity, not any accomplishment. Since you seem to feel strongly otherwise, what accomplishments — not mere resume lines, actual accomplishments — can you point to that make her a strong presidential contender?”

    Getting elected twice as senator for one of the most important states in the country let alone becoming SOS are fairly massive credentials by comparison with most presidential contenders. No one disputes Bill took her to the dance but she won Samba competition on her own.You could even argue Bill was a bit of a handicap.
    No one would argue that Condoleeza Rice (despite her parlous record at state) was not  presidential timber had she gone on to be elected twice as senator from CA.    

  26. An Interested Party says:

    “Her 2012 campaign was entirely based on her celebrity status, not her achievements.”

    But enough about Sarah Palin…

  27. Juneau: says:

    As the Chinese (supposedly) say, “May you live in interesting times.”  It is interesting times indeed when a global rock-star President has fallen so far that he is seeing a potential challenge from his own party – with just over 2 years to go in his first term.  There are two words which come to my little plebeian mind which might describe the situation.  And although stating them might sully the neutral commentary dedicated to this subject thus far, nonetheless they would seem to sum up the situation for President Obama’s performance nicely.  Those two words are. “Epic Fail.”
     
    Form his own party.  With two years to go.  To the lifeboats, women and children first…

  28. An Interested Party says:

    re: Juneau Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 01:46

    What delusional drivel…there is no evidence whatsoever that the president is “seeing a potential challenge from his own party”…if a commercial by a Chicago dentist is what you are hanging your hopes on. then the true “epic fail” is your grasp of reality…

  29. Juneau: says:

    @ AIP
     
    What delusional drivel


    Of Course.  Whatever you say ….   Its meaningless.  Hah!