Will Hillary run in 2016
Posted: Friday, February 24, 2012 7:01 pm
By DOUGLAS COHN
and ELEANOR CLIFT
WASHINGTON — When the head of the World Bank announced he would step down this summer, Hillary Clinton’s name immediately came up as a likely replacement. And while she is on the short list as the White House ponders which luminary the administration will propose to fill the prestigious position, Hillary’s friends and admirers think the former First Lady, former U.S. senator, and current Secretary of State can do better.
What they mean when by doing better is left up to the imagination. It might mean founding a global foundation, one that focuses on women and girls that would operate in tandem with President Clinton’s global initiative and reflect Hillary’s lifelong commitment to gender-related issues of human rights and poverty around the world.
It might also mean a future run for the presidency if Hillary still has fire in the belly. After the ‘08 election, it’s fair to say a lot of voters, especially women, regretted Barack Obama’s victory, seeing that he had edged aside Hillary and likely ended her chance as the first and best hope for a woman to win the presidency.
Now almost four years later, Hillary has served with enormous distinction as Secretary of State, setting aside any feelings of bitterness she may have had to loyally serve her onetime rival. Until Obama began in recent months to find his voice and his message, there were many Democrats wishing Clinton had been elected in 2008, and who believe she would have been a stronger president in the face of Republican opposition.
Obama ran on a message of conciliation in ‘08, while Clinton said she had stood up to everything the Republicans had thrown at her, and she was still standing. Her message was one of toughness. Voters wanted to believe the two parties could come together in the interest of the country, and so did Obama. He was wrong. Hillary was right.
Obama came to understand how unyielding the GOP could be, but he lost precious time. In the meantime, Clinton has built up her stature across the ideological spectrum. Democrats love her, and so do a lot of Republicans and Independents, who recognize her intellect, steadfastness, and potential to mount another presidential campaign should she decide that’s what she wants to do.
Clinton’s interest in the presidency seems to have diminished in direct proportion to the growing regard for her capabilities. Maybe that’s part of the appeal, that she doesn’t seem like an ambitious politician, but rather a public servant who is selfless in her commitment to the country. By all accounts she has done a stellar job representing the United States in her current post, and she has avoided the kind of petty conflicts with the White House and other Cabinet departments that plagued previous administrations.
Clinton will turn 69 years old in 2016, which would make her the same age Ronald Reagan was when he was elected in 1980. There will be plenty contenders in both major parties as a number of sitting senators and governors come into their own. On the Democratic side, Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Martin O’Malley of Maryland come to mind, and if consumer champion Elizabeth Warren wins her Senate race in Massachusetts, she could become Clinton’s chief rival on the distaff side.
There will be competition, but given Clinton’s standing in the Democratic Party, her entry into the race might clear the field. For that to happen, she would have to clarify her intentions. It’s way too early to expect her to send any definitive signal, and unless and until she issues a Shermanesque statement (“I will not accept if nominated, and will not serve if elected”), she will top the wish list of many voters as the president they’d most like to elect. Published in The Messenger 2.24.12