Psst! Hillary Clinton is running for president

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton waves as she walks with U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, left, former President Bill Clinton and Ruth Harkin, right, as they arrive at Harkin’s annual fundraising Steak Fry, Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in Indianola, Iowa. Charlie Neibergall/AP

This is the time of year — every four years or so — when otherwise ethical journalists become willing participants in a presidential campaign’s strategy.

Hillary Clinton is running for president. You know it. I know it. The ’27 Yankees know it.

You know who keeps pretending they don’t know it? Journalists.

But here we are this morning with this headline on NPR, which mirrors the ones elsewhere. For nearly five minutes, NPR played along.

  1. Listen NPR: Hillary Clinton Keeps Iowa Crowd Guessing About Her Presidential Plans

    September 15, 2014

This is a game in which the politician plays the media, taking advantage of the misplaced sense of ethics that says if a candidate doesn’t confirm he/she/it is running for office, we can’t presume and say she is, even if she’s clearly running.

In this way, candidates get journalists to do “will she or won’t she” stories for months, instead of more robust and hefty journalism. It’s a game and journalists are the suckers, led to run the stories the politicians want them to run. That’s never a healthy thing.

For five minutes today, NPR played the game and never once deviated into any issue facing a potential president. Five minutes!

It’s not just Clinton, of course. This morning on CBS, Rand Paul got the “when will you announce?” question and, predictably, he said he’ll decide in January.

Right. We’ll check back then.

  • Robert Moffitt

    Let’s say you did the Clinton interview. What issue facing a potential president would you ask her about?

    • How she’s going to end the war she’s likely to inherit might be a place to start.

      • Robert Moffitt

        If her public statements and past voting history are any guide, she’s more hawkish on military action than Obama, who hasn’t been very drone-shy himself.
        I suppose the answer to that question will depend on what is happening in the world at the time. Right now, dropping bombs on ISIL is a pretty popular idea. Two years from now? Who can say.

        • All the more reason to ask the questions .

          We got into this mess because a bunch of people stuck “Liberate Iraq” lawn signs up, and all but the most courageous among us headed for cover.

          Of course it’s popular. War is always popular in this country at this stage of the “game”.

      • Gary F

        Or, will she actually try to win the war that she might inherit.

        • Robert Moffitt

          It’s getting harder and harder to define “winning” these days.

          • jon

            The side that hangs the “Missions Accomplished” banner first wins.
            Doesn’t seem so hard.

  • Gary F

    And the journalists will jump on her bandwagon come mid November. Just when their repetitive stress injuries from all the genuflection of Obama have healed, here come Hillary.

  • jon

    So who is “not yet running” against her in the primaries? Biden? Kerry? Any serious contenders at all?

    • Robert Moffitt

      Biden is playing a careful game of being ready to run if Clinton surprises people by not running, or stumbles badly with some fresh scandal. He’s the candidate-in-waiting.
      I think Kerry is done with public office after his term as SOS. His words and actions suggest as much.

      • Gary F

        The farm system is a little weak right now. Kerry and Bidon carry too much baggage from an increasingly unpopular President. Sure, the dedicated party folks see no problem in this, but you don’t win the middle with either of those two.

        Elizabeth Warren doesn’t have the baggage that Hillary has. My money is on her right now.

        • Warren is a good soldier. She’s also very smart. She’s not going to ruin her career by running against the party machine right now.

          • Robert Moffitt

            Agreed on Warren. Gary’s also right about the Dem farm system being a little weak. The GOP is awash with wannabe presidents, it seems.

          • tboom

            Warren won’t run unless something unforeseen happens (good for her). I’ve always wondered why politicians with some moderate amount of respect and power are willing to sink their career and influence in what is clearly a losing effort.

          • Jack

            Senator Bernie Sanders VT is considering it. : ) I would love to see someone run up against Hillary -Big Cahoonas- Clinton. (your words ‘party machine’)

          • Jack

            Bob, could you clarify how a candidate can ruin their career by running against Hillary Rodham Clinton aka ‘party machine’.

  • Dave

    NPR should do a story on why Iowa gets to choose the nominee. And why it’s a horrible thing.

    • Robert Moffitt

      For Republicans, not so much. Mike Huckabee, 2008. Rick Santorum, 2012 (although early returns were incorrectly called for Romney). Bill Clinton famously lost Iowa and declared himself “the Comeback Kid.”

    • Gary F

      The Iowa thing get tiring and old. But it does force the beltway elite to actually go to flyover country and see how real people live.

    • John

      Perhaps something different than primaries/caucuses?

      Or keep the same process and rotate the order?

  • Gary F

    Anything look funny about that photo?

    • You mean aside from the fact the one guy who’s supposed to be a farmer isn’t dressed like one, they’ve swapped partners, the field hasn’t been recently hayed but there’s a hay wagon?

      • Jack

        “they’ve swapped partners” oh, I’ve heard about that, they call it polyamory, doncha know. It looks as though Bill is heading for the barn dance.

      • tboom

        I love the half filled wagon and over-sized tractor.

      • tboom

        BTW, none of them are dressed like a farmer.

        • >>BTW, none of them are dressed like a farmer.<<

          Nope, not at all.