Wednesday, October 14, 2009

No More Hurrahs for Hillary

Some people refuse to take "no" for an answer. When a politician says he (or she) has decided never to seek a particular office, some people regard it as code language that really means something like "I probably will, but I'm not ready to make that announcement."

In the case of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, I think you can take her at her word.

Recently, Clinton told NBC's Ann Curry that she will not seek the presidency again.

It seems like a safe bet.

It's hard for me to imagine a scenario in which Clinton would seek the 2012 Democratic presidential nomination. So many other things would have to happen first:
  • Barack Obama is eligible to seek a second term, and all indications are that he will do so.
  • Obama is personally popular, even if many of his policies are not. If he is challenged in the primaries, it is hard to imagine that he will be challenged by someone from his own Cabinet — even in the "team of rivals" atmosphere he has promoted.
  • Of course, 2012 is still a few years away, and many things could happen between now and then. As unpleasant as the prospect is to contemplate, Obama may not be president when the next presidential election rolls around. He could be assassinated. He could get sick and die of natural causes. He could be impeached. Or, like Richard Nixon, he could resign.

    The future is uncertain. But the line of succession is clear. There are three other people in line for the presidency before the secretary of state — Vice President Joe Biden, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Byrd. It would be unprecedented in American history to go that far into the order of presidential succession.

    Indeed, considering the fact that the 25th Amendment allows a president to nominate someone to fill a vacancy in the vice presidency, it is hard to imagine a scenario — other than one in which the president, vice president, speaker of the House and Senate president pro tem are eliminated simultaneously — that would permit a secretary of state to become president.
Thus, it appears that the next realistic opportunity for Hillary to seek the presidency would be in 2016. She will be 62 in less than two weeks. In 2016, she will celebrate her 69th birthday shortly before the presidential election. Only one president — Ronald Reagan — was elected president for the first time at that age, but he won re–election and lived for more than 15 years after leaving office so it has been done. What about Joe Biden? If the Obama–Biden ticket is re–elected in 2012, Biden would be 73 by the time of the 2016 presidential primaries — older than John McCain was when he was nominated by the Republicans in 2008, older than Bob Dole was when he was nominated in 1996 and the same age Reagan was when he was nominated for a second term in 1984. It's possible that Biden might run — but it isn't probable. That would seem to make Clinton the most obvious choice to carry the torch for the administration in 2016, but "I'm looking forward to retirement," she told Curry. Much can happen in seven years. And Clinton may well be persuaded to run for the presidency again.

But I'm inclined to believe that she will not be the first woman to be president.


Anonymous said...

Here's what I got out of this:

Ann Curry is a dolt if she thinks Hillary will run again. Here's why. Hillary is old. Obama's popular. He'll probably run again. Biden probably won't run in 2016, but, she'll be really old by then. A bunch of people would have to die for her to be the first female president because you don't think she'll run again.

So what? Why did you write this? You can't stand Ann's disbelief, and, you know better than she? It's that important that people shut up about Hillary's plans? You can't change the channel when some moron asks inane questions?

I don't get it. This is, after all, public discourse. How does this post add to public discourse?

David said...

You may be right.