As liberals rail against the debt limit deal and Barack Obama’s choices leading up to what they see as an epic capitulation, it seems fair to wonder if a different president -- someone with, say, a reputation for toughness and savvy and with a history of combating Republican obstructionists -- could have produced a better outcome. Someone like, oh, I don't know ... Hillary Clinton?
That, after all, was the premise of Clinton's Democratic primary campaign in 2008 -- that Obama might be able to inspire the masses, but that only she had the experience and know-how to get results. And now here's Obama seemingly validating it -- and hardly for the first time in his presidency. Can we now safely say that Democrats made the wrong choice three years ago?
The short answer is: No. Believe it or not, the best evidence is that if Clinton were now the president -- or, for that matter, if any other mainstream Democrat were -- the differences would be very small. (Jonathan Bernstein, “Would President Hillary be a stronger leader than President Obama?,” Salon, 3 August 2011)
It's in her wish
If Obama could somehow have made America continue on in a spirit of Krugman-style never-ending growth, it would make him uncomfortable -- his style is to walk about a handsome, kept-in and composed aristocrat, granting assurances and placations amongst townspeople subdued into a hunch of abayance, a non-arousing, defeated cloister of mottled greys and unassured, uninspiring greens. Hillary would mostly dig it. Something in this is why Obama was chosen over Hillary: they -- the people -- too had become unnerved by what might be drawn if things shine too spritely sweet and gay, and fled Hillary's buoyancy and often-cheerful resonance for more spent "country."
Both WOULD have followed pretty much the same course. But that wouldn't be the thing. Everything about Hillary would sit uneasily with, would be gainly testing, mocking, its spirit, while Obama is in entirety all smooth cooperation. (Remember Hillary's -- referring to whole body airport scanners -- "I'd avoid them if I could," which read as "don't go quietly into this good night!," and her meaning it.) About all this kowtowing to the debt: there is something in her that would keep us reminded that she could be prompted to REALLY avoid it if she could, while, as Greenwald reminds and reminds, Obama would spit venum at any voice that could forestall America becoming growth-stalled and frozen for at least ten years. He -- Obama -- knows Hillary is one such voice. But the plan I think was to keep her sort of relevant, and thereby placated and subdued, until voices like hers resonate only with an easily demolishable minority, until people like her and Krugman are but absurd and entitled, fully dismissal-worthy douches.