Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's path to the Democrat nomination for president in 2016 could be complicated if former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb decides to throw his hat into the ring, said an opinion piece in The New York Times
According to the op-ed written by Jacob Heilbrunn, Clinton's biggest weakness is her foreign policy record. Webb, a Vietnam War hero and former secretary of the Navy under former President Ronald Reagan, could provide an alternative that is appealing to liberals who diverge from Clinton's positions on international affairs.
"The conventional wisdom is that Hillary Rodham Clinton will be almost impossible to dislodge from the Democratic presidential nomination and that even if she does encounter some hiccups, they will come from her left flank on economic policy. But if Mrs. Clinton runs, she may face a serious and very different threat: her own foreign policy record," Heilbrunn wrote.
Webb has already formed an exploratory committee
and while he may be a long shot, his rhetoric against elites and isolationist tendencies could gain traction among progressives and make waves in a Democrat primary, Heilbrunn said.
"Mr. Webb, whose national poll ratings are negligible, may look like an unlikely candidate, but that is also what most observers thought when he wore his son's Iraq combat boots on the campaign trail and ousted George Allen from his Senate seat in 2006," he said.
"Today he represents for the Democrats what the Republicans tried to stamp out in their ranks during the midterm elections: a Tea-Party-like insurgency against its establishment candidate."
Heilbrunn said Webb provides a contrast to Clinton who has tried to retroactively change her foreign policy views and record. Webb's upbringing during which he spent time abroad also gave him a unique perspective on America's role in the world.
"Whether Mr. Webb will attempt to begin a successful maverick campaign is an open question. But he is an eloquent and forthright speaker whose foreign policy experience would make it difficult for Mrs. Clinton to paint him as an isolationist or a novice who will leave America open to attack, as she attempted to do to Mr. Obama during the 2008 primaries," he wrote.
"On the contrary, it's Mrs. Clinton whose interventionist foreign policy record leaves her politically vulnerable."
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