Anyone who has had to plan for the departure of a long time employee or co-worker knows that it is more than just replacing their work product. People who have been in an organization for a long time have a gravity to them. Their personal style, their way of going about their business, changes the work habits of those around them, so when they leave lots of things will change. There are unknown unknowns that you can never account for, but you can anticipate to some degree.
This is something indirectly raised in this Wall Street Journal story about the possible return of Hillary Clinton. The authors are long-serving political operatives tied to the Clinton political machine, so it is not unreasonable to assume they were instructed to write this and get it posted in regime media. They picked the Wall Street Journal because it speaks to the right-wing of the political elite. The idea is to position Hillary Clinton, of all people, as a unifier of sorts.
There is a bit of the old Clinton triangulation going on here. The way this works is the left-side of the political class led the charge to get rid of Trump, but they are fumbling badly and upsetting the right side of the political class. The threat of Trump running in 2024 rustles them even more than a demented Biden staggering on for another term, but it is a close call. The answer, so the theory goes, is the old familiar Hillary Clinton, who will play ball with both sides.
The problem, of course, is Clinton is 74, which may be the springtime of youth compared to the rest of the political elite, but it is still old. People forget that Clinton was in rough shape when she ran in 2016. She mysteriously disappeared from the public eye for a while and had the incident where she collapsed on the street. She was also wearing some sort of contraption that was never explained. Time heals all wounds, but only in the emotional sense, not the physical sense.
In fairness, Donald Trump is 75, so he is not exactly the youthful alternative to the gerontocracy that currently runs the country. The thing is though, he is a vigorous man for his age and has shown no signs of slowing down. One thing that went unnoticed is unlike other presidents, Trump did not suddenly get old while in office. He seemed to grow stronger off the endless battling. His father was supposedly quite vigorous into his 90’s and Trump appears to have inherited those genes.
Again, the authors of that post are attached to the Clinton machine so they did not just dream that up for the fun of it. They make clear that Clinton is beginning the process of mounting a campaign. It could mean running against Biden in the primary, which would not go over well with the Obama wing or the Sanders wing, so they are beginning the process of normalizing the idea so it is not an issue. Clinton will position herself as the moderate trying to save the party from Biden.
Of course, this is another example of how the political class is unwilling to look forward so it instead tries to reboot old ideas. They Republicans plan to run their midterm campaign as a reboot of the Newt Gingrich show from the 1990’s and now Hillary Clinton is imagining herself as Ted Kennedy in 1980. Forty years ago, the left-wing of the party was sure that the reason Reagan won in 1980 is the old guard of the party refused to jettison Carter in favor of Kennedy.
It speaks to the bankruptcy of the political class that they keep indulging in these weird walks down memory lane. Within living memory politicians would run on specific agendas, tied closely to things that were important to people. Biden ran on not being Trump and now Hillary plans to run on not being Trump or Biden. Elections have always been beauty contents, but now they have been stripped of their talent portion, leaving us with the terrifying image of geezers in swimsuits.
The actuarial tables are immutable. Whoever is calling the shots in both parties will eventually have to move on from the geezers. If Trump runs and wins in 2024, he serves one term. Who is the next man up? If Hillary runs and wins, she could serve two terms, but that means living to 84. It also means not getting the Joe Biden treatment after one term. Who is being prepared on the Democrat side to take over for the collection of geezers now in charge?
The fact is the empire is facing the same problem the Soviets faced in the mid-70’s when Brezhnev’s health rapidly deteriorated. The party knew he was not long for the world, but there was no clear plan to replace him. When he died in 1982, the 70-year-old Andropov served for two years then died. He was followed by the 73-year-old Chernenko who promptly died. Gorbachev was next in line and he proved to be incapable of maintaining the empire.
The reason the Soviets did not have a competent new generation of leaders ready to supplant the Brezhnev crew is they had never been developed. We see the same thing with the current generation in Washington. The next generation does not exist as they have been boiled off for fear they would be too ambitious. What is left is a collection of dull-witted time servers and youthful morons like Sandy Cortez. No wonder no one wants to see the geezers carried off the political stage.
Getting back to where we started, it is prudent to think about the knock-on effects of the current generation of political leaders shedding this mortal coil. The political system has been warped by their long time in office and that will change as well. The old Soviet system had evolved for men like Brezhnev and his henchmen. Our political system has evolved for this long serving generation of politicians. When they are gone, the system around them will change radically and perhaps violently.
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