It is unclear how long Mark Penn can continue to trade on his very, very former status as a pollster and campaign strategist for Bill and Hillary Clinton. But Penn is still being taken seriously by his new conservative friends as having deep insight into HRC’s plans (much like former Clinton adviser and Penn ally Dick Morris was, years after he had definitively changed parties), even though he was kept miles away from her 2016 campaign.
So here Penn is, along with the very former New York politician Andrew Stein, explaining Hillary Clinton’s real plan for 2020 in the pages of the Wall Street Journal:
Get ready for Hillary Clinton 4.0. More than 30 years in the making, this new version of Mrs. Clinton, when she runs for president in 2020, will come full circle — back to the universal-health-care-promoting progressive firebrand of 1994. True to her name, Mrs. Clinton will fight this out until the last dog dies. She won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.
There’s no sourcing at all for the claim that HRC is running again, other than this dubious analogy:
Don’t pay much attention to the “I won’t run” declarations. Mrs. Clinton knows both Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama declared they weren’t running, until they ran.
The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) has also said he’s not running in 2020. Is that proof that he is?
As for the tale that Clinton’s decided to run as a fiery progressive, that seems to be part and parcel of Penn/Stein’s story line that she lost in 2016 because she ran to the left, and is now doubling down:
Mrs. Clinton’s transformation during the primaries, especially on social and cultural issues, cost her an easy win against Donald Trump. As Hillary 3.0 catered to the coastal elites who had eluded her in 2008, Mr. Trump stole many of the white working-class voters who might have been amenable to the previous version. Finally she had the full support of the New York Times and the other groups that had shunned her for Mr. Obama — but only at the cost of an unforeseen collapse in support in the Midwest.
Translation: Clinton did not run the kind of campaign Mark Penn would have advised her to run, so she was doomed.
Still, Penn and Stein say, she will without any doubt and without any trouble be the 2020 Democratic nominee:
The generation of Democrats who have been waiting to take over the party from the Clintons will be fuming that she is back and stealing their show. But they revealed themselves to be bungling amateurs in the Brett Kavanaugh nomination fight, with their laughable Spartacus moments. She will trounce them. Just as Mr. Trump cleared the field, Mrs. Clinton will take down rising Democratic stars like bowling pins. Mike Bloomberg will support her rather than run, and Joe Biden will never be able to take her on.
Yeah, Democratic mishandling of the Kavanaugh fight took a winnable midterm and turned it into a smashing coast-to-coast GOP victory, right? The unstated point here, of course, is that Democrats are such incompetent fools that they will go back to the same well and lose again.
This particular prophecy, for want of a better term, is blindingly stupid. As far as I’m concerned, Hillary Clinton has the right to do whatever she wants. But she’s not going to run for president again, in part because she understands that her fellow Democrats have almost exactly zero interest in rerunning the last excruciating contest. HRC2020 speculation exists entirely within the fantasy world of Republicans whose idea of heaven is to perpetually chant “Lock Her Up!” while reliving a whole generation of Clinton hatred.
Penn and Stein should be investigated as political pornographers.