Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm starting the campaign to draft Hillary Clinton for 2016

Jonathan Alter has a generally glowing article about Hillary Clinton in the June edition of Vanity Fair. The piece starts with the phrase: "In her ninth year as America's most admired woman..."

On March 16th of this year, she told CNN that she was not going to look for a second term as secretary of state, saying:

You know, I had a wonderful experience running and I am very proud of the support I had and very grateful for the opportunity, but I'm going to be, you know, moving on.

And she has been equally clear that she is not running for president in 2016. But what else could she possibly say at this point?

The inevitable comment is that Hillary Clinton was born in November of 1947, so, if she were elected president in the 2016 election, she would be 69 years old at her inauguration. Ronald Reagan was 69 at his inauguration. John McCain was born on August 29, 1936, which would have made him 72 the day he took office if he had been successful. In other words, the age argument doesn't work for me, especially given the fact that women typically live a bit longer than men.

Clinton is a very dynamic and youthful 63 and shows no signs of slowing down.

And God knows the world is still rotten with sexism, as the 2008 Democratic nomination race proved, but I have no idea why an older woman should be given less consideration than on older man. No idea.

I will say at the outset that I was one of those who thought that Hillary would have been a better pick for the Democratic nomination. I still feel that way. I support my Democratic president, but I wanted someone more experienced in the job on day one, someone who didn't have to feel his way for too long. Sorry.

Hillary was a very popular and effective senator. She is now a very popular and effective secretary of state. Her abilities are well documented. Her political prowess legendary. I know she is not perfect. Few people who have been around politics for any length of time are. I know that her pragmatic streak has her moving too far to the right on too many issues for my comfort. But I hardly see President Obama as the flaming socialist some paint him to be. Not by a long shot.

If there are other candidates who can step up and prove their worth for the Democrats in 2016, that will be fine with me (though at this point I have no idea who they might be). I just hope we don't pick some photogenic youngster better suited for Hollywood than Washington because our culture values youth over experience on most days.

I'm not surprised that Hillary is saying she would not run in 2016. It's too early to say anything and it would be too distracting to the work that Democrats have to do right now. But I would also not be surprised if she ends her tenure as secretary of state in 2012, does a couple years maybe doing some fine charitable work, and then raises her head to see if the White House might still be a possibility.

If she is as talented as everyone seems to think, including me, I hope she thinks about it and is given half a chance to give it a shot.

The challenges ahead are going to be daunting. We need our best people.

(Cross-posted to Lippmann's Ghost.)

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