If Hillary Clinton wants to be president, the answer is “no.”
On yesterday’s Face the State, radio talk show host Jim Vicevich predicted Clinton will “halfheartedly” campaign for former rival Barack Obama. He’s not the only one speculating about Clinton’s true ambitions. The senator, who wanted to become the nation’s first female president, hasn’t said anything specific about her future plans, but hasn’t put a damper on talk that she may run for the White House again, someday.
That someday might be awhile. If Barack Obama is elected in November, Clinton’s next opportunity to run for president will be 2016, that is unless Obama has a disastrous first term along the lines of Jimmy Carter’s dismal presidency. Even if Obama is a total failure, challenging a sitting president in your own party doesn’t work. Just ask Ted Kennedy, who in 1980, thought high inflation, double digit mortgage rates, the Iranian hostage crisis and Soviet aggression would persuade Democrats to give him the nomination instead of President Carter.
If Obama wins, the former first lady will have to sit by and watch him run for re-election in 2012 and wait for another shot in ’16. Clinton will be just shy of 70 years old then, and presumably in her third term in the senate, having spent 24 years in Washington.
Eight years from now the political landscape will be much different. The Democratic Party, which had been the Clintons’ party since 1992, will be Obama’s. A whole new crop of presidential candidates will be campaigning in ’16. Due in large part to the historic candidacies this year of Clinton and Sarah Palin, it is highly likely the field of hopefuls in ’16 will include other women.
A President Barack Obama raises the strong possibility there may never be a President Hillary Clinton. That could explain why some Clinton supporters are vowing to vote for the GOP this fall.
If John McCain is elected, Clinton would the be the instant odds-on favorite to challenge him in 2012. I think she would start running next year, with an early trip to New Hampshire. But what if Obama loses by a narrow margin? At the age of 51 in ’12, he may want another shot and has established a massive fundraising base. There are also fresh faces who may want to run: Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, former Virginia governor Mark Warner, Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill, along with some folks we haven’t even thought of.
Ever since Adlai Stevenson’s back to back losses in ’52 and ’56, Democrats haven’t treated their losers very well. Obama and Clinton will be seen as faces of the past, on the same poster as McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, Kerry, etc. If Obama loses this year, the Democrats may be looking for a totally new standard bearer other than Clinton. She may be popular among her supporters, but overall, half the Democratic primary voters this year voted against her, and she too, may be seen as yesterday’s news.
There’s also the probability that Clinton would be blamed for Obama’s loss. The Republicans are already using her own words of doubt against Obama from the primary campaign in their own commercials. What about her “3AM” ad that helped her win Ohio?
Despite that, McCain winning certainly creates a better scenario for Clinton and is in the best interests her presidential aspirations. Although it means conceding a place in history to Sarah Palin, who gets to break that glass ceiling, it also gives Clinton another,an earlier, shot at her dream.
What do you think? What is really on Clinton’s mind? Who does she want to win?
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