Tonawanda News

Columns

March 23, 2014

DUVALL: Is President Hillary an inevitability? History says no

Tonawanda News — Reading the AP story on page two of today’s edition got me to thinking: Is a Hillary Clinton presidency inevitable?

Possible, even likely? Yes. Inevitable? Hardly.

Just like it seemed eight years ago when she was eyeing her first White House campaign, polls and pundits had her as a strong front-runner with an air of inevitability about her. She had the resume, the fundraising base and universal name recognition. The nation was ready for its first female president.

As it turns out, the nation was also ready for its first black president, too.

But lots of things have changed in the years since the historic Clinton-Obama primary in 2008. First of all, fundraising rules have been totally rewritten thanks to the Supreme Court Citizens United decision, opening the floodgates to virtually unlimited campaign contributions.

Though she presently enjoys some of the highest favorability ratings of her life right now no one will be able to maintain that in the glare of a national campaign and an unending loop of devastating attack ads in swing states. And it isn’t as if there’s any shortage of fodder for conservative criticism of the Clinton brand.

There are also substantive criticisms to be leveled by foes Democratic and Republican alike. Hillary continues to be dogged by the Benghazi attack on her State Department’s ambassador. Though she’s undergone withering criticism and survived relatively unscathed, the fact remains a U.S. ambassador whose request for additional security went unanswered was subsequently killed on her watch. 

There’s also her record as New York’s junior senator, remarkable largely for its lack of anything truly remarkable. She came down on the wrong side of history in the only truly difficult vote of her term, the Iraq war authorization, which she supported and would become her Achilles’ heel in the 2008 primary.

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