Pro: Clinton’s the only Democrat who can win in 2012
The latest buzz flitting among the Georgetown salons is that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will switch jobs with Vice President Joe Biden and take his place on the Democratic ticket in 2012.
That’s one of the tidbits being peddled by Bob Woodward to promote his new book “Obama’s Wars” and it has Democratic loyalists desperate to salvage a rapidly failing Obama presidency atwitter with unbridled joy.
As a rumor, it’s intriguing. As common sense, it doesn’t pass Logic 101.
Why, after all, would the world’s top diplomat want to chug from John Nance Garner’s “warm bucket” when she could be sipping a Pimm’s Cup in the Oval Office on Jan. 20, 2013? With the economy unlikely to have recovered the Clinton-era glow of the 1990s, it’s far more likely that Hillary will challenge Obama at the start of 2012. If she does, that smart money in the Democratic Party will flow into her coffers like water rushing over the Hoover Dam.
Ah, but what about Woodward’s prediction that Hillary will be a good team player and wait until she is 71 to make a 2016 quest for the Oval Office? Throughout the years since he chronicled the Watergate scandal with Washington Post colleague Carl Bernstein, Woodward has been a font of delicious speculations—not all of them based in reality.
Be that as it may, there’s good reason to view Woodward’s forecast of Hillary as veep as a mere throwaway line—designed to create a momentary sensation.
Anyone who knows the Clintons well knows they have no love lost for either Barack or Michelle Obama. Both believe they were outmaneuvered by the Illinois upstart in the Democratic primaries because they received terrible advice from top campaign aides, including several they now believe were moles for Obama.
In truth, only Hillary’s belief in her “grand destiny” allowed her to accept the secretary of state offer from Obama—a stripped-down post considering the president had already named four special envoys to the Middle East, America’s key area of foreign policy concern. Her acceptance also relegated Bill Clinton to a quiet corner of the public stage—rendered all but mute in voicing any criticism of the Obama White House.
There is every reason to believe that the Clintons will deliver a comeuppance to the Obamas in 2012. By that time, both will look like eminence grises after the amateurish performance of Obama and his buffoonish advisers during his first term.
The dozens of Democratic senators and House members now fleeing any association with the administration’s disastrous health-care and stimulus bills are unlikely to return to the fold. Many, indeed, already are urging the Clintons to reclaim their party before it is destroyed by Obama’s rigid ultra-left ideology.
A longtime Clinton insider says the couple are prepared to move their governing philosophy even more to the moderate center than they did after the sweeping Republican gains in the 1994 congressional mid-term elections.
“The Clintons may have started out as ideologues,” she said, “but they quickly realized that pragmatism is the true art of successful politics, and they have been constantly fine-tuning their political philosophies.”
The woman, a close friend of the Clintons for more than four decades, also pointed out another reason Hillary can’t wait until 2016.
“The constant travel and the never-ending demands of the secretary of state’s office are taking a devastating toll on her,” she said. “She turns 63 this month, but she’s starting to look more like 70 although she’s in excellent physical health.”
Here’s betting Hillary will look years younger and be all smiles when she delivers her inaugural address from the west steps of the Capitol in early 2013.
Bogdan Kipling is a Canadian columnist based in Washington. Readers may write to him in care of the National Press Club, 13th Floor, 529 14th Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20045, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.