12/22/11 12:26 PM EST
Hillary Clinton’s people — current and former — are mystified, suspicious and bit peeved with the recent raft of mysterious “Draft Hillary” robocalls and emails and a mangy www.runhillary2012.net web site – which looks like it was produced in the Hindu Kush.
The current theory, according to posts on a listserv frequented by former Clinton 2008 staffers and senate staff forwarded to POLITICO, is that it’s a GOP plot.
The presumed Republican motive, however feckless, is that the campaign would sow divisions in the Democratic ranks, and remind people that the secretary of state is a lot more popular than the man who bested her in the primaries four years ago. (The fact that Clinton is hugely popular isn’t lost on the scattered remnants of Hillaryland who see a 2016 race as a possibility, but think any premature talk about her ambitions would sabotage her chances.)
But the current text that accompanies the online petition being pushed around is so bare bones it seems phony on its surface (“Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton should be the Democratic Party’s 2012 Presidential nominee. Run Hillary Run!”) and seems to be as implicitly anti-Obama as explicitly pro-Clinton (“We need a president who will not compromise on core democratic values”). But who knows.
For the record, Clinton’s longtime spokesman Philippe Reines, emails: “Whoever they are, whatever their intent, they are wasting both their time and money as Secretary Clinton has madeher plans for next year crystal clear: that she is going to continue to support President Obama in the best way she can – as his Secretary of State.”
Still, the calls are getting around, which implies that there’s real cash behind them.
One union staffer contacted me, in amazement, to say one of his friends had received one moments after reading about it; A handful of Hillaryland veterans experienced the same phenomenon this week.
“This seems slightly deeper than I expected,” wrote a one-time Clinton volunteer. “I work with older, working class Latinas in the Los Angeles area (IE Hillary’s base). I was speaking with one this morning who mentioned that she had received a robocall asking her to dial another number if she wants to help Hillary run. Outside of being a voter she is not a regular campaigner or volunteer of any kind. Unfort[unately], she didn’t know who it was.”
One Clinton insider, reflecting the views of other Dems I talked to, cited “the possibility/likelihood that it’s GOP games.”
Jesse Berney, a 2008 Clinton backer who blogs for the Huffington Post, wants whoever is behind the thing to stop: “I would not be surprised if it is a GOP operative looking to sow internal Democratic dissent. The fact that there is no contact information on the website is telling (and possibly illegal.),” he wrote to another HRC fan.
“If it is, in fact, a Hillary supporter, I would urge whoever is doing it to please stop. She is not going to run, and this effort only serves to embarrass her. If the person is on this list, or if anyone on this list knows who is behind it, tell them to knock it off.”
The push could, of course, come from an actual admirer with cash to throw around. Bob Woodward has suggested HRC might be tapped to replace Joe Biden on the ticket, which was roundly denied by the White House and HRC’s people. Then there’s Doug Schoen’s attempt to push Clinton in the race, as a more moderate alternative to Obama.