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As Democratic disgust with Obama’s debt fumbling spreads, Clinton supporters recall her 3 a.m. phone-call warnings—and angry, frustrated liberals are muttering that she should mount a 2012 challenge.
At a New York political event last week, Republican and Democratic office-holders were all bemoaning President Obama’s handling of the debt-ceiling crisis when someone said, “Hillary would have been a better president.”
“Every single person nodded, including the Republicans,” reported one observer.
Looking as if she were about to cry, an 83-year-old Obama supporter shook her head. “I’m so disappointed in him,” she said. “It’s true: Hillary is tougher.”
in Connecticut, a businessman who raised money for Obama in 2008 said, “I’m beyond disgusted.” In New Jersey, a teacher reported that even her friends in the Obama administration are grievously disillusioned with his lack of leadership—and many have begun to whisper about a Democratic challenge for the 2012 presidential nomination. “I think people are furtively hoping that Hillary runs,” she said.
The son of a longtime Democratic congressman from Texas, a 73-year-old lawyer is so enraged with Obama that he’s threatening not to vote for the 2012 Democratic ticket—the first time in his entire life that he’s contemplated such apostasy.
Among many of the 18 million Americans who supported Hillary Clinton in 2008, the reaction is simple and bitter: “We told you so.”
Among Clinton fans, particularly older women, the language was frequently far more caustic. “Obama has no spine and no balls,” said a 67-year-old New Yorker.
“Those of us who were bewitched by his eloquence on the campaign trail chose to ignore some disquieting aspects of his biography: that he had accomplished very little before he ran for president, having never run a business or a state; that he had a singularly unremarkable career as a law professor, publishing nothing in 12 years at the University of Chicago other than an autobiography; and that, before joining the United States Senate, he occasionally, as a state senator in Illinois, voted ‘present’ on difficult issues,” wrote Westen, author of The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation.
However unlikely a Democratic challenger might seem at present, Obama would be foolish not to heed the deep dissatisfaction represented by such speculation, which is now spreading like an ominous brush fire. Given the abundance of devastating economic news lately, he would also do well to remember the Clintons’ rallying cry from the 1992 election.
“There’s no question in my mind that Obama is a one-term president,” says one passionate Democrat. “Even if he were a great president, this economy is a calamity. And in the end, ‘It’s the economy, stupid.’”