Hillary, beware the word ‘invincible’

Written By By CAROL MARIN Posted: 05/14/2014, 12:35am

Wanted: sparring partner.

Must be willing to travel extensively from January through June 2016.

Requirements: Must be able to deliver a right uppercut and left cross. Must have previous experience in the ring with a working knowledge of health care, foreign policy and fiscal strategy.

All inquiries should be sent to: Prepare Hillary 2016.

The shoe that came sailing toward Hillary Clinton in Las Vegas Thursday was a gentle precursor to the battle the former first lady-U.S. senator-secretary of state and Park Ridge native faces if and when she finally announces a presidential run.

Yes, she bobbed and weaved like a pro as the missile zoomed past her head. She even joked about it.

Speaking to a packed ballroom of Scrap Recycling Industries — an interesting venue — she quipped, “My goodness, I didn’t know that solid waste management was so controversial.”

Actually, it can be.

But the larger point here is that Hillary, The Inevitable, must constantly up her game.

Surely she learned in 2008 that inevitability was not her friend.

The steady stream of positive poll results along with regular coverage of her high-profile — and presumably well-paid — speeches are once again creating the narrative of invincibility as we race toward yet another presidential race.

And while the Republican side is unsettled, Democrats, other than an occasional mention of Joe Biden, speak only of Hillary.

That’s a bad thing. Even those of us who are rooting for a woman president realize Clinton needs a serious scrimmage to take on the road to Iowa, New Hampshire and all the way to California in the first week of June.

All of this presupposes that Clinton will run. That’s not a done deal, but the tea leaves are there for the reading.

Earlier this year, Jim Messina signed on to Priorities USA, a super PAC that the New York Times reported in January is out raising money to elect Clinton.

Messina joined the Obama team in the summer of 2008, worked in the White House and then guided the president’s re-election in 2012.

He’s joined at Priorities USA by former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Raising campaign cash for Clinton ought to be a snap.

But finding someone to challenge her will be more daunting. Among the names floated most prominently are the governors of Maryland and New York and the senior senator from Massachusetts.

They are Martin O’Malley, Andrew Cuomo and Elizabeth Warren.

As a younger Barack Obama learned in 2008 and then re-learned in 2012, just because you know how to debate doesn’t always mean you debate well.

It takes passion to play this ferocious game. And the sense that at any moment a flying object might smack you in the face.

Inevitability is the enemy of ingenuity and mental agility.

Not long ago, I was in a downtown Chicago hotel when Hillary entered by a side door to an immediate standing ovation. It was a love fest. And not terribly helpful in hardening her up for the coming battle.

It’s too early to be inevitable.

And critical to know it before it’s too late.

Email: cmarin@suntimes.com

Twitter: @CarolMarin

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