Why Hillary is being so coy about declaring her candidacy

The Democratic Party is being held hostage by Hillary Clinton, who hints but does not declare that she is running for its presidential nomination in 2016. So powerful is the political money machine that she commands, other possible contenders such as Elizabeth Warren are left peddling books rather than hitting the hustings for cash and commitments. As others have noted, if Hillary should decide not to run in order to preserve her health and enjoy being a grandma, her political party will be left high and dry as other candidates scramble.

Mickey Kaus, tongue firmly planted in cheek, offers a “Marxist:” analysis of what is really going on.

Now that we are all Marxists, we need to uncover the materialist basis of even seemingly non-economic phenomena. Take Hillary Clinton’s campaign/non-campaign for President. Is she running or not? Why won’t she say?

Let us start answering this question by asking another: What is the specific mode of production of the Clinton dynasty? Here a clue is provided by the petty bourgeois publication Politico, in a piece on Hillary’s tacit embrace of the financier ruling class:

“Clinton, after all, was New York’s senator for eight years, where the financial district was a key constituency. She had many Wall Street rainmakers as advisers and friends. Her family has continued to work that network to try to stock the Clinton Foundation with a $250 million endowment before a presidential run. And she’s been out on the financial services speaking circuit, giving talks to Goldman Sachs and fireside-style chats with the heads of the Carlyle Group and the investment firm KKR.” [Emphasis added]

Aha! There are still legal limits to how much money Wall Street can funnel into the Clinton political campaigns qua campaigns. But those limits presumably don’t apply to the Clinton Foundation, or to Bill and Hillary’s speaking fees. Hence eye-popping figures like $250 million.

Now, ask yourself, what happens to all this money if Hillary says she’s through with politics and wants to spend the rest of her life, say, touring the world with Tina Brown to improve the status of women? Answer: Much of the money dries up….

But note that the aforementioned “Clinton Foundation” has been renamed recently as “The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation.”  Kaus doesn’t mention this, but by implication sees a materialistic motive for that:

The Clinton mode of production, then, is running for officehttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png or serving in office. That is the material basis for the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton lifestyle and the whole Clinton institutional structure. In order to keep this mode of production from breaking down, the Clintons–one of them, at any rate–must be at least potentially in the running for a powerful office at all times. If Hillary doesn’t really want to run, she can’t admit it in public. She must maintain the facade of candidacy until the last minute–or else the Foundation will have to cut back and Ira Magaziner might need to find a job. If it looks like Hillary might not run–perhaps because of health reasons–the model would predict that another Clinton, presumably daughter Chelsea, would start making noises about launching a political career. Voila! Data point confirmed. The theory is off to a good start. …

Having washed out of McKinsey & Company and generated widespread ridicule for her debut as a prime time NBC newsmagazine reporter, Chelsea will find her talents put to much better use as the mother of an infant for a while, at least. Her longer term prospects for public office remain a mystery, but so far the auguries are not favorable.

For people like the Clintons, there probably isn’t ever going to be “enough” money. So one way or another, I expect the Clinton juggernaut to continue. Part of me thinks that Hillary would delight in pulling the plug on everyone else’s expectations of her, by announcing she has decided not to run. But another part of me sees lust for power as part of her fundamental makeup. On balance, I think she will run, and the money will continue to flow to the BH&CC Foundation.