Poor Hillary Clinton. She never gets a break when it comes to the political rumor mill. Will she run against President Obama in 2012? Did she say she wanted to retire from being Secretary of State in a second-term Obama administration because she wants to make plans for a White House run in 2016? Maybe she has another reality-type show in the works?
The latest “will she or won’t she moment” that some are wishing for is a swap out in the current administration — move Vice President Joe Biden to the State Department and put Hillary on the ticket with the President for a new and improved 2012 race! Pundits who are suggesting that this could happen see it as a win/win/win scenario – Biden gets the job he’s supposedly really always wanted, Hillary helps Barack Obama win a second term, and Hillary has a launching pad for a 2016 White House contest.
I can almost hear the Howard Dean-like hooting and hollering of some Democrats now over that scenario!
But the problem is this. The former First Lady/U.S. Senator hasn’t given even one little inkling that she could be persuaded to sign on to that scenario. In 2010, she said, “I think I’ll serve as secretary of state as my last public position and then probably go back to advocacy work, particularly on behalf of women and children.” And in 2011, she was even more emphatic that a presidential bid wasn’t in her future — no, no, NO!
There is only one thing certain in politics – if there’s no real news going on, prognosticators will come up with something to grab our attention. And what better way to do that as we are begging for the Republican debates to finally be over than to spend a little time wondering whether Hillary has been harboring secret presidential fantasies since 2008?
Those who are stirring the pot on this one are forgetting that even though Secretary of State Clinton is wildly popular now, she was the target of unending attacks from a wide variety of political commentators during her campaign, even some of the ones who liked her. And are our collective political memories so short that proponents of an Obama/HRC ticket can’t see that the Republicans would have a field day with political ads talking about Obamacare AND Hillary-care? If Mitt Romney is the destined GOP candidate, he’s already on the record questioning her health care ideas from the 1990s. The Republican attack ads about a “socialist” Obama/Clinton ticket would be on the air before you could say, “What time is the next bus to Chappaqua?”
Even if the President wanted to trade Joe Biden for another vice president, Obama and his advisers know that has disaster written all over it.
It’s probably a good bet that Hillary Clinton, when she retires from her job as Secretary of State, won’t be hanging out at the local yarn store looking for baby bootie patterns. She’s made it clear that she’s committed to working on issues that impact women and girls globally. How better to do that than take a page from husband’s playbook and become an international ambassador for those issues? She’s seen that Bill Clinton’s star hasn’t faded and that the role of stateswoman who doesn’t need to worry about voters or political attacks could be pretty darn appealing
Sure, seeing Hillary Clinton on a road that could lead her to the Oval Office is a fantasy I’d like to indulge. But at some point every girl has to sit back, put her feet up and do something that’s just a little easier than wrangling with Syria. One thing I would bet money on is a Hillary Clinton-run Super PAC to get more women elected. After all, I hear some people are talking about Michelle Obama running for U.S. Senate from Illinois after 2016!
A version of this post was originally written for iVillage.com, where I’ll be working on election coverage through November 2012!