With President Barack Obama’s poll numbers in a death spiral, and the Democrats in Congress facing the mother of all defeats in the November election, Pete Du Pont suggests a remedy for the Democrats’ woes: Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Besides the meltdown in the fortunes of the Democrats, there are a couple of reasons that Hillary Clinton might challenge President Obama in 2012.
The first is good old-fashioned revenge. Since George W. Bush won a second term in 2004, Clinton, then a senator, was considered the nominee-apparent for 2008, almost a woman of destiny. But Obama, then also a senator, came from practically nowhere with a great speaking style, a host of enthusiastic followers, and a grasp of bare knuckles politics to take the nomination away from Clinton.
Considering that the economic crisis of the fall of 2008 almost assured that any Democrat would win the general election, Hillary Clinton’s defeat at the hands of Barack Obama must be, to her, bitter gall and wormwood.
Second is the desire of Bill Clinton to be back in the center of power. Bill had the time of his life as president, strutting about the world stage, flying about on Air Force One, having his amiable mug on TV constantly, and having access to all shapes and manner of female companionship. The only fly in the ointment was the various scandals of his own making, including impeachment, for whom Clinton blames others to this day.
As First Gentleman, Bill Clinton would have no official role, unless President Hillary Clinton assigned him to a cabinet post, not outside the realm of possibility. Secretary of State would be a good fit, at least in his mind. Once again, Bill could strut the world stage, fly around doing stuff, get his face on TV, and chase women. That alone would make a Clinton Restoration interesting.
The irony is that, politically, there is not a whole lot of daylight between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. She is far more liberal than her husband, and far less likely to compromise or make deals. It is hard to imagine how the last 18 months would be substantially different were Hillary Clinton president, and not Barack Obama.
A sure sign of a presidency in trouble is the prospect of a primary challenge. Jimmy Carter was beset by Teddy Kennedy in 1980. George H. W. Bush had to fend off Pat Buchannan in 1992. Both presidents fended off their challengers, and then went on to lose the general election.
If that were to happen to Barack Obama in 2012, that might be a good enough consolation prize for Hillary Clinton. Revenge would be sweet, whether she was in the Oval Office or not.
Hillary Clinton for President, Pete Du Pont, Wall Street Journal, July 15th, 2010