- - Thursday, October 24, 2019

Hillary Rodham Clinton sincerely believes that it is her destiny to be the first woman president of the United States. She’s sure of it.

That’s why her smug sense of entitlement will lead her to pursue the presidency yet another time, given any possible opportunity.

So, will she run this year? If she has a pulse, she will try to. The question is: Can she?

Likely she can’t. It’s not that she can’t get the money. She can raise enough, not a ton, but enough. Nor is the competition for the nomination too steep.  

But this is not her moment. The very air of this “#MeToo”-conditioned age is deadly to her candidacy.



But it is oh so tempting for her to run. To see the world through her eyes is to witness a Democratic field, none of whom can stand up to or defeat Donald Trump. But one thing she knows is that she can. She’s proven it.  

Didn’t she outpoll him by millions of votes in 2016? Sixty-two million people voted for her. But then they took it away from her. They stole her presidency.

Wasn’t her candidacy destroyed by Russian hackers who invaded the Democratic Party’s emails and then published them? Wasn’t the nail hammered into her coffin by then-FBI Director James Comey who announced, days before the election, that he was reopening the investigation of her email server? Has any previous presidential candidate been so afflicted with ill-fortune?

She believes she is owed the presidency and she plans to collect on the debt.

It’s been humiliating to remain silent while other women tried to step into her shoes. Not one of those women would be on that stage without her pioneering work. She made it possible for females to become serious candidates.

But none of the candidates — men or women — could compete with her. She has the history, the experience and the charisma.

So why didn’t she run right out of the starting gate?

She knew that if she had, she would have been too much of a target. Everybody would fire at her. She had to give the other women a chance to fail.

And she had to wait to jump into the race until Joe Biden’s evident weaknesses caught up with him. But she knew that Mr. Biden wouldn’t last. She had taken his measure close up for four years and she saw that he wasn’t up to it. But she had to wait him out.

The other women? No real problem there. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was a joke. Amy Klobuchar couldn’t get her act together. Kamala Harris didn’t have a message. Tulsi Gabbard? Marianne Williamson? You have got to be kidding. Only Elizabeth Warren posed a real challenge.

But if Hillary had learned anything from Bill it was to tack to the middle. To triangulate. You don’t win races from the extreme left. Ultimately, she believes, you don’t even win primaries that way. But, again, Sen. Warren had to make her move first. Voters had to absorb her program, run to their calculators and figure out the probable cost of her presidency. 

When the Democrats finally realize that Ms. Warren would face a backlash of outraged taxpayers — and campaign donors — should she win the primaries, they will be looking for a more moderate woman. 

That’s when Hillary Clinton expects her phone to ring.

But there are still the ghosts to dodge. Mike Bloomberg is flirting with the idea of running. But Hillary has to let him conduct his own polls and realize what everybody else knows: He can win a general election, but his past as a Republican mayor will make him radioactive in a primary. Tom Steyer? His billions are proving unable to move him up in the primaries, a helpless billionaire. Andrew Cuomo? With his corruption problems he’s not running.

Still, the time wasn’t quite right. She had to keep her head down for a while. The #MeToo movement and the Epstein scandal both came uncomfortably close to Bill. Even as she tried to keep out of sight she proved, once again, that she is tone deaf. Totally. She screwed up by saying that Monica Lewinsky was an adult who should have known better. Then Ronan Farrow revealed that she had tried to intimidate him and get him to stop the Harvey Weinstein investigation. The headlines made her wince.

But now, as former Vice President Biden fades and Bernie’s age catches up with him, the party is desperate for a winning candidate. Even also-rans like Pete Buttigieg and Tulsi Gabbard are getting second looks.  

To her eyes, the road to victory must seem paved.

But there is a lot of space between wanting to run and being able to put it together. Now, she has to make the rounds — quietly — of her past donors, particularly those who had gotten on the wrong train by backing Mr. Biden to see if they wanted to get well by switching to her.  

The more amnesiac among them would be her initial targets. Then, next in line, would come those who had sent checks to one of the current failed candidates. Finally, she could come on to the ingenues who would still thrill to being up close and personal with a historic figure.

She can put together the money.

The big question is: Will she get out of her own way? Her career has been hobbled and blocked by obstacles of her own making. The private email server? Her claim that she left the White House “dead broke?” Calling Trump voters “deplorables?” The pay-to-play Clinton Foundation that turned her State Department tenure into a RICO? Calling fellow Democrat Tulsi Gabbard a “Russian asset.”

Will she stop making mistakes?  

She won’t. Her worldview is too skewed from reality and warps her judgment horribly. Bill is too old and mentally aged to stand up to her. The advisers have departed. Most weren’t any good even in their heyday. And the kids she’ll attract to her service will generally have no better judgment than she does or will be afraid to stand up to her.

So if she runs, she won’t win.  

It’s just not her time. With the #MeToo movement casting a new perspective on the victims, not just the perps, of sexual harassment this is definitely not her moment. Her own legendary use of detectives to destroy the reputations of the women Bill plundered will expose her to withering fire. The ghosts of Gennifer Flowers, Paula Jones, Monica Lewinsky, Juanita Broaddrick and so many others will stalk her candidacy.

And if she runs the very fact of her candidacy will help President Trump win. She will attract so much attention and scrutiny that the Democrat who ultimately emerges will do so having gotten only minimal scrutiny as all attention — and all the oxygen along with it — will be on Hillary. Just as she likes it.

• Dick Morris was Bill Clinton’s chief adviser during his Arkansas days and 1994-96. Find his daily video commentary at dickmorris.com.

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