At RCP, Michael Barone notes that Hillary Clinton has been almost totally absent from either stumping or fundraising for Democrats in this midterm election cycle. Barone notes that when Nixon lost the GOP primary to Goldwater in 1964, he went out on the campaign trail in force for Republicans in 1966 and helped them win a significant number of off-year seats. Barone observes the difference between 1966 Nixon and 2014 Clinton:
So why isn’t Clinton following Nixon’s example? For reasons as clear-eyed as her takedowns of Obama. First, she is in a stronger position to win her party’s nomination today than Nixon was 48 years ago.
Second, she, unlike Nixon in 1966 and like most sober-minded observers this year, doesn’t see this as a good year for her party.
This is true and I have a strict policy of not disagreeing with Michael Barone’s analysis of politics. That said, there’s a much simpler reason that Hillary Clinton is not hitting the trail for embattled Democrats: Hillary Clinton has never done anything in her life that has not directly served Hillary Clinton, at least in the mind of Hillary Clinton. In other words, while Clinton’s tactics are often questionable, her motivations literally never are. I defy anyone, left, right or center to point to a single truly selfless altruistic act Clinton has ever done.
This is worth noting in the context of the almost inevitable fight against Clinton in 2016 – whereas the press has largely been in Obama’s pockets from day one due to ideological reasons, the Clinton machine has populated the ranks of the news media with personal loyalists to an almost unprecedented degree. They will not help to point out the fact that she endlessly and shamelessly triangulates to whatever position at all will be most helpful to her political prospects at the moment. Even now, they cannot bring themselves to point out that Clinton’s alleged spat with Obama about foreign policy is the direct result of a foreign policy that was largely of her own making.
Hillary Clinton is not nearly the gifted politician that Bill was and she has virtually none of his personal magnetism or charisma; but she has exactly the same single-minded desire to enlarge her own influence and power at all costs, which is something Republicans would do well to remember in 2016.
And, for that matter, so would Democrats.