Conservatives Lay off Hillary Clinton for Now

Thursday, 27 Dec 2012 11:13 AM

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While some conservative feathers were ruffled when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton missed congressional hearings on Benghazi last week because of a concussion, the right wing has refrained from attacking her in earnest for years.

Talk continues that Clinton will run for president in 2016. During her four-year tenure as secretary of state she has drawn plaudits for her performance, and has been largely apolitical. That has taken steam out of any conservative opposition, those on the right tell Politico.

“Hillary’s not . . . a high-profile candidate now,” conservative leader Richard Viguerie said. “We’re not thinking Hillary. We’ve got all we can do to handle the Senate Democrats and Harry Reid and Barack Obama.”

Meanwhile, John Podhoretz, a writer for Commentary magazine and author of a 2006 book about Clinton, doesn’t see a return of the kind of backlash she drew during the presidency of her husband.

“I just don’t think that there’s the same kind of heat,” he said, noting that she has mostly shunned domestic issues. “I think whoever the Democratic nominee in 2016 is will generate counter passions, but I don’t think she’s going to do it anymore than anybody else is and possibly less.”

To be sure, The New York Times’ star political analyst Nate Silver argues that a presidential bid would erase some of Clinton’s advantages.

While she would be a very formidable candidate, “if Mrs. Clinton runs for president in 2016, one thing is almost certain: she won’t be as popular as she is right now,” he writes. That’s because she would no longer stand “largely above the partisan fray that characterizes elections and fights over domestic policy.”

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