Last week, while reading The Wall Street Journal, I came across an op-ed that for a moment led me to believe that the sober and serious Journal was opening a comics section. Why not? If the Journal executes “the funnies” as competently as it covers serious news, I can see it earning a Pulitzer Prize for its comics page. It would be a first for the Pulitzer Prize committee, but, well, in this day and age, there is a first time for almost everything.
The piece I have in mind was written by Douglas Schoen and Andrew Stein, two Democratic insiders, and they were intent on calling for a voice from the past to return to politics. After 30 years in which she had run up massive disapproval ratings — and only one victory — Mr. Schoen and Mr. Stein were laying out the intricacies of how former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could get the Democratic presidential nomination in 2024. It appeared they were serious.
They mentioned President Biden’s historically low approval ratings, 33%, down from 36% in November, and, by the way, Vice President Kamala Harris is not doing so well either. Mr. Schoen and Mr. Stein cited the president’s age. He is 79 now. He will be 81 if he makes it to 2024, and the Democrats most likely will have lost both the House of Representatives and the Senate by the time Mr. Biden seeks reelection.
All that might grant Mr. Biden the nomination in 2024 is that no one else will want it except possibly Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Schoen and Mr. Stein suggest she is plotting her course. Remember after Mrs. Clinton’s defeat to former President Donald Trump back in 2016? She said she was “done with being a candidate.” She was ready to retire, but she has yet to retire. Richard Nixon unveiled a “New Nixon” in 1968 and won. Could Mrs. Clinton be developing a “New Hillary” now?
Recently she was offering advice to fellow Democrats, and it was astoundingly moderate in tone. She told Democrats to avoid progressive politics unless running in “deep-blue districts.” She seemed to be advising Democrats to run as moderates most of the time. Who would have ever thought Hillary was the candidate of moderation? But she seemed to be pulling a page from her husband’s playbook when he said, “The era of big government is over.” She continued, “Look, I’m all for having vigorous debate,” she told an MSNBC moderator. Yet, “I think it’s good and it gives people a chance to be part of the process. But at the end of the day, it means nothing if we don’t have a Congress that will get things done, and we don’t have a White House that we can count on to be sane and sober and stable and productive.”
This sounds like a New Hillary to me. Calling for sanity, sobriety, stability, all in the name of a productive regime? Possibly Mr. Schoen and Mr. Stein have been talking with Mrs. Clinton behind closed doors. And to those who read the newspapers closely, there is former President Bill Clinton sounding his familiar themes from 2016. Just last month, he reintroduced his famous line from the 2016 race, saying his wife is “the most qualified person to run for office in my lifetime.” She was the anointed one in 2008, and she lost. She was the anointed one in 2016, and she lost. This time she might pull it off. She sounds interested in 2024, and who else is there? Are the Democrats looking at former Rep. Beto O’Rourke? He lacks maturity. How about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez? I am told she lacks a driver’s license.
No, for now, I fear the Democrats are stuck with Mr. Biden, who is 79 and by 2024 will be 81, turning 82 on Nov. 20! Among the other contenders, there is Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is 80 and has had at least one heart attack. Then there is House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is an admittedly young 81, but my agents tell me she longs for the security of San Francisco. Of course, there is former Vice President Al Gore, who is 73, and I am told he beats Pat Boone on the tennis court, but is he still hungry enough? So possibly, the pathway is open to Mrs. Clinton. She is 74 and still burned up about how her race against Mr. Trump came out in 2016. Is it possible that 2024 could be a rerun of 2016? I have my eye on Mrs. Clinton. Stay tuned.
• R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and the author most recently of “The Death of Liberalism,” published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
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