Saturday, January 20, 2007

Oh, No. 0-8!: Is the Nation Going to Hill?...

Well, it is official. Hillary Rodham Clinton, former First Lady and Junior Senator from New York is starting up a Presidential Exploratory Committee for 2008. Translation: She's running. While such a move by Barack Obama is a little more ambiguous given his intention to make a final decision in February, I'm pretty sure that this is Sen. Clinton's long awaited and definitive move toward a candidacy.

I'm not just starting a campaign, though, I'm beginning a conversation -- with you, with America. Because we all need to be part of the discussion if we're all going to be part of the solution. And all of us have to be part of the solution.

-Sen. Hillary Clinton in her video message.

Sen. Clinton has played this one very well. She has said nothing and needed to do little in order to run. Just by being the Senator from New York, she made history and stayed in the spotlight. She was the first former First Lady to run for office and not since Eleanor Roosevelt had a Presidential wife had any significant post-White House political career.

In a number of ways, Clinton has among the best resumes for becoming President. She has a history of forging bipartisan relationships in the Senate and served on the Armed Services Committee. As First Lady, she was a Full Fledged Presidential advisor and the most influential First Lady since, again, Eleanor Roosevelt. Her career goes even further back as a lawyer for Congress during the Watergate Hearings.

However, Hillary also stirs up controversy. She did vote for in favor of going into Iraq, a vote which was predicate on untrue, if not phony, intelligence and while the President held Democrats in a political headlock (the vote was taken just before the '02 Midterms). In addition, for all the good will she has cultivated among Republicans in the Senate, her place as a more or less member of the Clinton Administration stirs up the ire of Anti-Clintonists everywhere. What Democrats often say is, "Sure, she can get the nomination, but can she win?"

The truth is, nobody knows. Against our one-time Governor Mitt Romney, probably. While Romney has a lot going for him, at least in terms of National Politics, he's a pipsqueak next to Hillary Clinton. Against McCain, Clinton has to hope America realizes how conservative ol' John is. Then there is the truly pie-in-the-sky possibility of a Rudy Giuliani campaign. If on some distant planet he won the GOP nomination and she won the Dems nod, we'd have the brawl everybody expected for Senate in 2000.

Personally, I believe that Sen. Clinton has already made history and would wield far greater power as the Senator from New York for the foreseeable future. Unless she loses, which she may, that is now unlikely. The truth is, however, this is her only shot. She did not run, wisely, in 2004. While certainly not impossible for her to run in 5, 9 years hence, the odds are against her both with age and political atmosphere in 2012 and 2016, respectively.

Not running in 2004 is the opposite of what Sen. Obama is doing, now. She was where he is now, ironically enough from Illinois her home state. As stated before, I want to see Barack Obama become president. However, it is a mistake for him to go into it without another election to the Senate and without even finishing his first term.

The press has decided, somewhat cynically, but not entirely inaccurately, that this is a race between Clinton and Obama. Were this a one-person runaway, we'd have some wiggle room for an unknown, like say Bill Clinton in '92, to get in. If in 2008, Clinton and Obama stay at each others' throats for a while, other candidates will be drowned out. If one or the other bows out early, a hanger on may develop some press attention and money and pull an upset. Frankly the political math is impossible to predict for two reason: we do not yet know who's running for the Dems' nod and we don't know who the GOP front man will be.

Either way, with only a few possible and unlikely exceptions, this blog and its webmaster will support the Democratic Nominee. With how much passion and exuberance is yet to be determined.

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