Hillary 2012: Democrats Find a New Target for Hope and Change

Why Democrats don’t mean it when they say they’ve given up on the whole “hope-y change-y” thing.

Hillary 2012: Democrats Find a New Target for Hope and Change

The Daily Beast reports today that Democratic voters are abandoning the Obama “hope and change” boat in droves, and pining for what they perceive as the superior leadership potential of Hillary Clinton.

Bill Maher recently opined that in the wake the debt deal debacle and the accompanying US credit downgrade and stock market death spiral, that many Democrats might be experiencing a sense of buyer’s remorse for having fallen for Obama’s “hope and change” message in 2008.

Still dazed over the way Obama let his agenda get steamrolled by Republicans in both the Bush tax cut extensions and the latest disaster on the debt deal, Democrats are seeing the evidence in their bruised stock portfolios that their side was right all along, and wondering whether we’ve got the right guy on the job.

The Daily Beast cites Matthew Dickinson, political science professor at Middlebury, recalling Hillary’s admonishing “3am” campaign ad: “If I heard it once this last week, I heard it a thousand times: You were duped by Obama’s rhetoric—the whole ‘hopey-changey’ thing.”

But Hillary 2012 advocates, disillusioned though they may be, are not actually disillusioned with hope and change. They’re looking around at a situation that looks bleak, and imagining a better future. This is, in fact, the essence of “hope” and a belief in “change.”

It’s been widely pointed out that Hillary is almost guaranteed not to run in 2012. Challenging a party’s own incumbent does incalculable damage to a party, as Ted Kennedy demonstrated when he challenged Jimmy Carter—a president Obama is starting to draw comparisons to. Plus, Clinton has said she won’t run.

But to the extent that the whole “hope-y and change-y thing” begins to set its sights on Hillary in rather than Obama, the president should be nervous about 2012. Imagining a better future was woven into Obama’s public identity. If he loses the market share on that inspiration, his voting base could likely grow apathetic or despondent, hoping for a savior who’s not even running. And that would leave an opening for a Republican to squeeze out a victory.

In the end the Hillary Clinton threat isn’t in whether she runs or not—it’s in how fervent the demand for her to run. The stronger that demand grows, the thinner the ice on which Obama skates.

As of today the Hllary 2012 Facebook Page only has 1,400 fans. We’ll have to keep an eye on the page to see how it grows as the market turmoil persists.