I still truly believe that Hillary Clinton should be the Democratic candidate in 2016. I also believe that she would be more of a transformative President than we had expected Obama to be.
But what if she doesn’t run? There is no guarantee obviously and 2016 is a political lifetime away. Chris Cillizza posted about the idea that if Hillary didn’t run, are there women candidates who could still lead a charge at the gender glass ceiling?
He says yes:
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who took Clinton’s place in the Senate, has emerged as a leading voice for gays and lesbians, and women in the military during her relatively brief stint in the chamber. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is already a national liberal hero for her crusade against big banks. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar may well be the most talented — and effective — politician most people have never heard of.
Gillibrand and Warren? I fully agree.
But our own Sen. Amy Klobuchar? Well, on that I am not so sure.
In a way, Cillizza points out the Klobuchar problem with his description. She is a talented politician. She knows how to work the media and has a very unique talent to avoid confrontation.
But that same talent points to the second part of Cillizza’s Klobuchar reference: a “politician most people have never heard of.”
It would seem to be pretty difficult to jump into Presidential politics with such a low name recognition threshold. But Klobuchar seems to be more than willing to test the waters:
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) will be the keynote speaker at the Iowa Democratic Party’s 10th Anniversary North Iowa Wing Ding fundraiser….Klobuchar will be the first possible 2016 presidential candidate from the party to visit Iowa since the 2012 election, according to The Des Moines Register.
Amy Klobuchar is a good Democrat — don’t get me wrong — but to me, she has been a “safe” placeholder, unwilling to truly mix it up on controversial issues. She played it safe in the 2012 election against a weak GOP candidate, Kurt Bills. She defeated him handily and sports a lofty 59% approval rating.
Yet as a Strib reporter pointed out in 2012:
Klobuchar also has developed a reputation for avoiding the big battles in Washington, removing herself from the no-compromise, rancorous partisan standoffs that have led to gridlock on the deficit and to single-digit approval ratings for Congress.
She doesn’t push positions like Elizabeth Warren, she seldom gets out front on issues like Kirsten Gillibrand and she certainly doesn’t attract a media scrum like Hillary Clinton.
She has a pleasant personality, folksy charm, and a way of advocating a position without attempting to humiliate the other side.
But in progressive fights, Sen. Klobuchar isn’t in the lead. She follows up and reinforces, but leadership involves controversy, and that dusts up approval ratings.
She has been supportive of immigration, the Senate gun bill and supports the Party line on the budget. By the same token, she seems a little too supportive of the NSA programs. And when the subject of drones used in law enforcement came up:
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, expressed concern that as drones are more commonly used, they could be involved in accidents. “What would happen if one of them hit a small plane?” asked Klobuchar. “Like when birds hit a plane, it can create problems.”
I suppose this sounds a little too critical. After all, Sen. Klobuchar is certainly a state party leader and also been quite successful in winning elections.
And although I wish she would be more forceful in her advocacy of issues, she still has been effective in moving some things forward.
The bottom line is that I do want to see a woman occupy that Oval Office soon. But our best hope and most promising candidate is and shall be, Hillary Clinton.
Sen. Klobuchar is an excellent Senator and I hope she has a very long and successful Minnesota career — but I doubt she will be quaking the 2016 field.
And that is still OK.
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