A Hail Mary for Hillary?

Does Hillary Clinton really have a “Hail Mary” play in the form of an economic plan for solving the credit crisis as suggested by Michael Hirsh over at Newsweek?

So it’s a moment for miracles. And there’s really only one thing Hillary Clinton can do, perhaps, to pull one off. That is to play to her greatest strength–her Clintonian credibility on the economy. The economy, after all, was her husband Bill’s pride and joy during his eight years in office, it is probably her own area of greatest expertise, and now it is the issue of greatest concern to voters. Not surprisingly, the Clinton campaign has spent the last several days discussing how to handle the financial crisis that KO’d Bear Stearns and has dominated the headlines this week. “We’re quite concerned that more action is needed. And we’re spending a lot of time with large numbers of experts on what’s the best framework” for the relief plan, Gene Sperling, her chief economic adviser, told me. Those experts–led by Sperling, former Treasury secretary Robert Rubin, former House majority leader Dick Gephardt, former chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisors Laura Tyson and former deputy secretary of the Treasury Roger Altman–came up with a new $30 billion emergency fund to help states buy foreclosed properties and provide mortgage restructuring. “There will be more in the weeks to come,” Sperling said.

In order to do that Sen. Clinton would need to accomplish several things simultaneously in a perfect veronica. First, she’d need to have a plan. That’s probably the easiest part of the manoeuvre and plays to Sen. Clinton’s policy-wonk strengths although I continue to wonder if she’s ever taken an economics course.

Second, she’d need to convince both Wall Street and Main Street that the plan would work, no mean feat. Not to mention that instilling confidence has not been Sen. Clinton’s strong suit lately.

Finally, she’d need to be able to blame the current situation on the Bush Administration and dodge the charge that the Clinton Adminstration’s policies laid the groundwork for the crisis. That, it seems to me will be the most difficult move. It’s one she hasn’t accomplished with respect to Iraq.

Meanwhile, Hail Mary passes have a low likelihood of completion.

7 comments… add one
  • Drespite the popular perception, Hillary just doens’t trail Obama by that much. S doesn’t need a Hail Mary pass, she just needs to get into feild goal range and make the kick. Obama’s a little past the 50 yard line now, and is fumbling the ball every other play. Hillary has chances to get back in this.

    Okay, have I tortured this metaphor enough?

  • I think the assumption that many are working under, Icepick, is that the remaining primaries are, like most of the ones so far, very close. Based on that HRC needs to do something to win the remaining primaries much more decisively to catch up on pledged delegates to win the nomination.

    The reason for this is that because of the odd rules under which delegates are awarded on the Democratic Party side the districts that Obama is most likely to win get more delegates than the districts that Sen. Clinton is most likely to win.

  • I know what the assumptions are, but the biggest assumption is that the super-delegates will simply bow to the will of the voters. Normally I do believe that would be the case, but the last few days have shown that there is still time for Obama to blow it.

    As it stands he’s only won one of the big states and has NOT put Hillary away when he had the chance. If he continues to step on political land mines in coming weeks and his national support noticably declines then the super-delegates will have the opportunity to step in and decide matters. And if Obama really implodes, most of the party won’t even object to his being replaced.

    I don’t THINK that’s going to happen, but I see no reason for Hillary not to play this out to the convention floor. She’s just not as out of it as people (including myself, frankly) have been assuming.

    Incidentally, have you heard anything about the Dems restructuring their primary process for 2012? I know they won’t take action soon, at least not until after the general election so they know who the most important players are. But I’m wondering if their’s been any preliminary thinking along those lines.

  • Democrats have tweaked the primary system after every general election since they established the system so, yes, they’ll restructure the process for 2012 but I seriously doubt they’ll give it a major overhaul unless they lose.

    I really thought they’d try to overhaul the system after the 2004 election but they only exacted some trivial reforms. I wrote at the time that a Democratic candidate should have won but they were in denial about the internal contradictions within the party. Right now those internal contradictions are being played out as the Clinton vs. Obama struggle but that’s only a small portion of the real complexity which can be summarized as activists, 25% or less, are far to the left of the rank and file. The activists have been lousy at getting people who believe as they do elected except in a few areas of the country.

  • Eh mate, are you smoking some cheap dope? Your last item is the easiest:
    Finally, she’d need to be able to blame the current situation on the Bush Administration and dodge the charge that the Clinton Administration policies laid the groundwork for the crisis.

    The credit crisis has almost nothing to do with the prior administration, rather something to do with poor choices made by Greenspan et al, and terribly poor fiscal policy under your current cretinous government.

  • Lounsbury, I agree with you completely on the fiscal irresponsibility of the last eight (or more) years. In particular although I recognized that some action on the part of the Bush Administration in response to the economic slowdown already under way when it came into office was politically necessary I thought that the response was the wrong one.

    However, I believe the basis for the current problems was laid when the Glass-Steagall Act was repealed in 1999 under the Clinton Administration without suitable regulatory replacement.

  • That may well be true, but it is hardly difficult for Clinton to dodge that bullet in a political sense. 8 years of incompetence is a very fine firebreak. One odd-off act or two by the Clinton regime, with a largely laudable mix on regulation versus deregulation is not hard to overcome.

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