- Last Updated on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 05:00
- Published on Wednesday, 21 July 2010 05:00
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She has the most unusual resume in the history of American politics. She also has had one of the most successful careers in American politics and the betting is that it might not be over yet.
Her background is pretty well known. In 1975 Hillary Rodham married Bill Clinton, an up and coming politician from Arkansas. She followed him into the governor’s mansion and in 1992 into the White House. As First Lady she was easily the most controversial person to ever hold the position. She dabbled in health care, had to explain some dubious investments, and hearkened to a vast right wing conspiracy that was out to get her husband. She was, for many on the right, the person they loved to hate. But she had supporters, lots of them, and they were hoping that once Bill Clinton’s administration was over, she would run for office.
In this regard she got a little ahead of schedule and ran for the Senate when she was still First Lady. A definite “first” (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) in American politics, but in 2000 New York seemed delighted to have her and she routed her Republican opponent Rick Lazio. She even managed to carry several upstate counties that hadn’t voted for a Democrat in years. Her first term in the Senate was successful. She wasn’t a lightweight, as her detractors predicted, and in something that proved a surprise, she was particularly adept at reaching across the aisle and working with Republicans. She swept to reelection in 2006.
In 2008 she made the big play. The Democrats were in the ascendancy and whoever won the nomination was well placed to go to the White House. The contest for the nomination came down to Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Clinton lost the Iowa caucuses, was written off, but then surprised everyone with a win in New Hampshire. From then on, it was a slugfest and the nomination battle lasted for months. At the end of the day, when all the Democratic primary votes were tallied, Clinton actually polled more votes than Obama. But thanks to Obama’s success in the caucuses, and the support of a majority of the super delegates, he got the nomination, and as we all know, went on to be president.
This, it was assumed, was the end of Clinton’s White House aspirations. That is, however, until President Obama tapped her to be Secretary of State. And this is where her political resurrection began. She has handled the job with deftness and, though always deferential to the president, she has shown a degree of toughness that some have argued is lacking in the White House. She, unlike her boss, seems to have the ability to be both passionate and intellectual at the same time.
Quietly, some who didn’t support Clinton in her 2008 bid for the nomination, or who had assumed her political career was over, are giving her long term prospects a second look. It’s hard to say for sure whether Clinton would be interested in another White House run in 2016, but the answer is probably yes. She is far too ambitious not to be.
Of course, there are a few in the Democratic Party who wouldn’t mind, particularly if the president’s popularity keeps dropping, seeing her give it a try in 2012. But she will never do that. She is loyal to the president, and besides, the fallout and the damage to the party of a nomination fight, would be too great.
But in 2016, when Obama (assuming he wins reelection in 2012) would have to leave office, Hillary Clinton will be 68 years old. That’s still young enough to run for president and this time she would have a background and preparation for the job that would be hard for anyone else in the Democratic Party to match.
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