A Prospect For Hillary Clinton Other Than Running For President
Now, according to an Op Ed Page piece appearing in today's Los Angeles Times, by Ezra Klein, a writing fellow at the American Prospect, there may be another career avenue opening up for Mrs. Clinton.
Klein reports rumors that Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate Minority Leader, has offered to step aside in Mrs. Clinton's favor in 2009. This would allow her to use her talents in a substantial post, and clear the way, as Gov. Mario Cuomo of New York's decision not to seek the Presidency in 1992, did for an eventual winning candidacy. (Cuomo's bowing out led, of course, to Bill Clinton's emergence as a winning Democratic candidate).
This would hardly be the first time in American history that an early front runner did not end up being a major party presidential nominee. William Seward, after he failed to win the 1860 Republican nomination (he was defeated by an upstart at the GOP Convention, Abraham Lincoln), accepted an important consolation prize, that of Secretary of State in the Lincoln administration. Sen. Robert Taft, who also faced an uphill run, did not win the 1952 Republican nomination, allowing Dwight D. Eisenhower to win as the Republican candidate. And there have been other cases.
Klein's article this morning sums up Mrs. Clinton's difficulties well. Although she is the best known of the prospective Democratic candidates (even more famous than the party's failed nominee in 2004, Sen. John Kerry, or its narrowly failed 2000 nominee, Al Gore), she still has a negative poll rating, and she trails two perspective Republican nominees, Sen. John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
I believe a woman could be elected president, and, when she ran for the Senate from New York state in 2000 Mrs. Clinton proved a formidable campaigner. She is an impressive fundraiser. But it is undoubtedly true that her path to the presidency would be an uphill one.
After eight years of President George W. Bush, the country deserves a wide open race for the Presidency, a thorough debate on the issues, and it would be a shame if that race were overshadowed by a divisive candidacy.
So, if there is a chance Mrs. Clinton could assume an important but subsidiary position, I hope she goes for it.
Who would emerge as the Democratic candidate? I would hope it would be a moderate, someone who would not advocate that the country retreat into isolationism. The front loaded nature of the Democratic race, too many party primaries crowded toward the beginning, may impede a wide open, considered race. But, in any case, let's begin and see how it comes out. Mrs. Clinton would be doing a public service if she stepped aside.
Note: This was written before I knew that Time magazine had a cover story on Mrs. Clinton this week. At the time of writing this, I had not read it.