I'm going to break a little with my promise not to be like other bloggers. I'm going to talk about Hilary Clinton's now apparently failed 2008 Presidential campaign race (I say "apparently" because the Democrat convention hasn't happened yet and who knows what Ace she thinks she has up her sleeve).
This topic has been ground to bits by countless bloggers, pundits, and talk shows. But from my point of view there is one significant point that no one has yet discussed and that's what this commentary will cover. So I'm not really breaking my promise after all since this is a subject no one else has dared to speak of.
On with the show…
In my gifted opinion the 2008 Presidential race was Hilary Clinton's first and last hope for being elected President on her own. In the future, who knows? Politics is more fickle than a blind date. Events no one has even dreamed of could happen and she may yet run again. But for my $.02 this was her one and only shot at being an elected President outright.
Scenario 1: Obama wins in November, runs and wins re-election in 2012
If Obama wins the election he will almost certainly run again for re-election in 2012. No matter how badly he does (and he will do very badly but that's a topic for another time) he will still seek re-election. It's just history. No sitting President in the last 30 years hasn't tried for a second term. They didn't all make it (like Bush-41) but they still tried.
As being a sitting President, it will be that much harder for Hilary to run against Obama. And, if by some miracle Obama does a decent job then it will be even more impossible for her to run against him. She will have to wait until 2016 to try again. By that time she will be 69 years old (she was born October 1947). No one is going to elect a 69 year old first-time President. Gender is irrelevant. Even if she does run there will be other Democrats trying for the nomination too. She will just be one of the field. They won't give her any special status like in 2008.
Scenario 2: Obama wins in November, runs and looses re-election in 2012
If Obama wins the election he will almost certainly run again for re-election in 2012. If he looses to a Republican that person will also run for re-election in 2016.
Running against a Republican sitting President will be a bit easier than against a Democrat sitting President. But not by much. Running against incumbents is never easy regardless of party. If Hilary runs and looses (again) then just as before she will have to wait until 2016 to try again. Same issues with her age and other Democrat candidates.
Scenario 3: McCain wins in November, runs and wins re-election in 2012
If McCain wins the election he will almost certainly run again for re-election in 2012. If he wins re-election, same as scenario #1.
Scenario 4: McCain wins in November, runs and looses re-election in 2012
If McCain wins the election he will almost certainly run again for re-election in 2012. If he looses to a Democrat that doesn't automatically mean he looses to Hilary. Just as in scenario #2 there will be other Democrat contenders for the office and she won't have any special privileges. They can only keep the name of "Clinton" in the public conversation for so long before people get fed up with hearing about her. The world doesn't revolve around her.
If McCain looses to a Democrat other than Hilary that person will almost certainly run for re-election in 2016. If that person wins then Hilary will need to wait until 2023 to run again! She will be a whopping 76 years old – no one will vote for her.
It is for these reason I believe the 2008 Presidential campaign was Hilary Clinton's one and only shot at being an elected President out of the gate. She may accept the Vice President position some day but I don't see that happening until at least 2012. And then too not many Democrats what to be tied to the Clinton reputation. Even if she accept the VP position in 2012 and the Democrats win the White House it will be another 4 years (assuming re-election in 2016) before she can run for President herself. She will be pushing 80 by then. Unelectable.
As I said at the start of this, politics is fickle and who knows what will happen in the next 4 to 8 years. She definitely won't be going away as a Senator and may even get on some powerful committees (and, Heaven forbid, maybe even nominated to the Supreme Court if a Democrat wins the White House!). But as being a President, elected on her own merits without having to be in the shadow of someone else, without having to ride the coat-tails of someone else into office – and even worse, a man! – 2008 was her only shot.
Hope she enjoyed the dance but the music has to end.
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