Why is Hillary in hiding? No speeches. No major appearances. No tours. Just meetings with advisors and potential donors.
She knows she faces a potentially dangerous situation, seeking first the nomination of a very left wing party and then looking to get elected by an increasingly centrist country. Presidential candidates always face this divide, but rarely has a party been as far over on the extreme of the ideological spectrum as today’s Democratic Party. Hillary has to be wary of saying things to attract the nomination that make it hard for her to win the election. Bill would be especially sensitive to this conundrum, having faced it himself in 1992. But, back then, the Democrats were much more moderate than they are today. Then it was possible for Clinton to win votes in the Democratic Primary by espousing capital punishment and promising to “end welfare as we know it.” No more. The quasi-Marxists who run today’s Democratic Party wouldn’t settle for such apostasy.
So Hillary is opting for silence rather than for the kind of explicit red meat rhetoric the Democrats of today demand. Fortunately for her, she has a path to the nomination that is more clear of obstacles and competition than that any non-incumbent has had since Richard Nixon in 1960. Even Vice Presidents like Humphrey (68), Bush (88), and Gore (2000) faced tough opposition to win their party’s nomination. But Hillary is, functionally, unopposed.
Her hope is that she can keep her silence long enough so that when she does speak out and move to the center in anticipation of the general election; it will be too late for the left to mount any real opposition to her candidacy.
In this context, Elizabeth Warren may be the best thing to happen to Hillary. By being so outspokenly populist and attractive to the Occupy Wall Street movement, she becomes to obvious focus of anti-Hillary feeling in the Democratic Party. But she may be a decoy, determined not to run and willing to clear the field for Hillary. Whether wittingly or unwittingly, she is helping Mrs. Clinton mightily.
(Warren reminds me of Bobby Kennedy in 1966 and 1967 when he refused to run against Johnson but nevertheless became the focus and center of Democratic opposition to Johnson’s Vietnam War policies. Finally, in 1968, Eugene McCarthy’s strong showing in the New Hampshire Primary induced Kennedy to abandon his reticence and jump into the race. But, until then, he helped Johnson by distracting attention from the anti war candidates who were willing to run. That’s really what Warren is doing now).
Can Hillary get away with silence? That’s up to the left of the Democratic Party. And so far, they are taking the Warren bait.