It’s come to this: The New York Times Magazine is now openly wondering, “What Would Hillary Clinton Have Done?”
Setting aside for the moment the implications of the Democrats’ flagship paper essentially announcing (or seeming to announce on the headline level, which, for many readers, probably amounts to the same thing) that it has lost faith in Obama, there was a suggestion buried in the text that leaped out at me:
Yes, [Hillary] might have bitten off the ear of a Tea Partier by now. Then again, there might not have been a Tea Party.
Is that true? Rick Santelli would presumably not have melted down on the floor of the Chicago Merc if Obama had not decided to “subsidize loser mortgages,” and Keli Carender would not have conducted the Porkulus Protest in Seattle had Obama not proposed a $750 billion stimulus plan. So is the Magazine onto something? Or are Clinton and Obama similar enough that the Tea Party would have come into existence even if she had been the one to take office?
(The author of the piece, Rebecca Traister, believes their presidencies would indeed have been strikingly similar. Clinton’s failures in this alternative universe would not, however, have had anything to do with her policies, just as Obama’s failures have nothing to do with his. The fault lies with the Republicans — otherwise known as “regressive obstructionists” — whose “stated goal was not to fix things but to keep the president from fixing anything.” Just so we’re clear.)