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Progressives: Anybody but Clinton

Updated: November 8, 2013 6:11AM

Democratic Party progressives are swinging into ABC mode. Anybody but the Clintons.

America’s left is bemoaning the frenzied speculation that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is destined to be the next president of the United States.

A determined segment of the Democratic Party abhors the Clintons for their moderate ways. The ABCs are fervently looking for one of their own, someone who can upend the conventional wisdom and best Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential contretemps.

That’s a tall order. If the election were held today, Clinton would vanquish an array of Democratic and Republican marquee names for the 2016 presidential race, shows a new national poll by Quinnipiac University.

Clinton was favored by 61 percent of Democratic voters, compared to Vice President Joseph Biden, with 11 percent, and 7 percent for Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren. A measly 2 percent opted for the hyper-ambitious New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The survey, conducted Sept 23 to 29, showed that, head-to-head, Clinton would also best all the top GOP favorites.

“As she watches the hand-to-hand political combat in Washington, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remains above the fray and the queen of the 2016 mountain,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac’s polling institute.

Clinton’s numbers are powered by a ferocious, pent-up desire to elect the first woman president and the practical notion that her blue-chip resume make her an irrefutably sure bet.

Still, the election is three years away, and in politics, even mountains can crumble. Just ask Clinton, whose so-called inevitability was crushed in 2004 by an obscure state senator from Illinois.

Progressives see both former President Bill Clinton and his powerful spouse as centrist traitors of liberal values. They point to the Clintons’ advocacy of causes like welfare reform, the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, and pro-business policies that, they say, spurred the 2008 financial crisis.

Clintons, be gone, the ABCs say. They are heartened by recent gains by their posse, like the upset liberal win by Bill de Blasio in the Democratic mayoral primary in New York City.

They are especially keen on Elizabeth Warren, the newly minted senator who stormed into office 11 months ago on a left-leaning bandwagon. As the tune goes, that girl is on fire.

“Populist Left Makes Warren Its Hot Ticket,” trumpeted a front-page headline in the New York Times.

Warren is quickly becoming a national phenomenon among the ABCs. Many want her to make a presidential pitch. She is “the object of huge interest and the avatar of a newly assertive, fervently populist left eager for a more confrontational approach to politics,” the Times reported.

There’s a populist-inspired chink in the Clinton mountain. Others who are chipping away include former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, the renegade 2004 presidential hopeful. Even Biden, Mr. Get-Along, is maneuvering to be seen as a “progressive” alternative in 2016.

Meanwhile, Clinton remains coy on whether she will even take the plunge. Some political observers suggest that she may just pack it in and look forward to grandmotherhood, courtesy of daughter Chelsea.

The ABCs would love to throw a spectacular baby shower.


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