Friday, March 28, 2008

A Decision for Hillary

Things are not rosy for Mrs. Clinton. She's left with a narrowing set of options, all of which could backfire and ensure that she will never, ever, be President, in 2009 or any other year.

  1. Fight the good fight through the final big primaries, concede gracefully, and be a senator. If she ultimately cares about the good of the Democratic Party, this is what she'll do. However, her next crack at the Presidency might then be 2016, by which time she'll have been in the Senate for 14 years. That's a mighty long paper trail for a 69-year-old senator. Add in the fact that Obama's VP will have pride of place in the nomination and the Democrats' historical aversion to giving candidates a second chance. She'll be looking at a long shot at best.

  2. Suck up to Obama and be Vice President. I'm not at all sure that Hillary and Barack can be civil to one another after the last two months. I'm not at all sure that Obama wants to campaign with Bill circling, albatross-like, over his campaign. But if the Obama/Clinton ticket were to win, Hillary would be in much better shape for 2016. This course of action is obviously not within her control. She won't like that one bit.

  3. Continue the "kitchen sink" strategy in hopes of landing a fatal blow before the convention. The odds of Obama self-destructing in the next four months are only about 20% but rising appreciably. Hillary has amassed enough delegates and popular vote to be a credible alternative if Obama does a face-plant. But she'd inherit a badly fractured party with a high degree of surliness. If she loses to McCain, she's done for. She might not even be able to hold her Senate seat.

  4. Scorch the earth and plan for 2012. Of course, Hillary could always hope that the Democrats lose the election. McCain, should he pull off a miracle and win, is highly likely to be a one-term President. The odds of his health holding up are only so-so. So a nominated but thoroughly defeated Obama isn't the worst scenario for Hillary. This one's tricky, though. She has to engineer Obama's destruction without leaving many fingerprints or she'll be reviled by Democrats for all time.

I don't envy her these choices. Bill has finally figured out that this campaign has the ability to repudiate his legacy. He can't allow that to happen. He'll be pressing her to win at any cost. And it's not like the Democratic Party is Hillary's first priority.

It could be entertaining.

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