Hillary Has Left The Building!

by George Kennedy on February 6, 2013

Last Friday, Hillary Clinton passed the baton to her successor, John Kerry, and literally left the building at 2201 C Street, N.W. In Washington, D.C. That area is also affectionately known as “Foggy Bottom.”

Hillary Clinton, the most travelled Secretary of State (visited 100 countries) ever, is, arguably the most effective Secretary of State in recent years. Clinton, a legal scholar and former wife of a small state governor, survived a rocky transition to the White House as our First Lady. She went on to become the junior senator from New York before launching an aggressive campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

Clinton’s popularity today transcends our national boundaries. A recent poll shows Hillary is more popular than our highly-admired First Lady. The former Secretary of State is a true global figure and force of nature. So, what do the stars tell us regarding her future? Not much at the moment.

A White House run is the next obvious rung on her illustrious career ladder. The question that titillates us all, and that bedevils the GOP, is, will she reach for the next rung? Until she decides, speculation will continue; not, I might add, an unwanted outcome. At least that is my guess!

While Clinton takes a well-earned respite from her recent status as the peripatetic globe trotter, her legions of well-wishers and supporters keep the idea of candidacy alive – at no cost to her.

The media becomes the unwitting accomplice because speculation about her future will remain a national story until she makes a decision regarding her intentions for 2016. Were she to decide not to run, the Clinton storyline would likely continue because the question then becomes, why did she not run?

The prospects of any Democratic presidential candidate other than Hillary would be matched against those of Clinton – perhaps unfavorably but, then, there it is. What role would she play in the Primaries? Or in the General Election? What would be the impact of a negative decision on the tens of millions of women who insist “it is our time.” “Hillary deserves to be president.” We all know no one deserves to be president but, try and sell that message to women voters in 2016.

Democrats have methodically fashioned a winning coalition and women are a key component of that coalition. This White House, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and elected Democrats across the country understand how critical it is to keep women engaged, organized, disappointed in the GOP, and prepared to vote in even greater numbers in four years time.

Among the litany of Republican nightmares for 2016, a Hillary candidacy has to feature prominently on their list. A legitimate Republican fear is the probable disaffection of moderate female voters from their ranks should Hillary run. The voter turnout in 2016 would certainly match that of President Obama in 2008, perhaps eclipse it. African Americans and the Spanish-Speaking communities nationwide, (with the possible exception of Cuban-Americans), would turn out, again, in historic numbers.

Meanwhile, former President Bill Clinton practically salivates at the prospect of a return to the White House. Think about this! What more respected presidential envoy exists than that of a former popular president whose equally acclaimed spouse is the sitting president. This would be a first in American history.

Are the stars in alignment for a second Clinton presidency? We can only speculate at the moment. Only Hillary knows and she ain’t talking. In response to a question about a possible presidential run in 2016, she said she cannot make predictions about what’s going to happen tomorrow or next year.

We will stay tuned. For the moment, however, Hillary has left the building.

George Kennedy

George Kennedy is a retired senior Foreign Service officer with extensive international experience. He holds a B.A. from the University of Oregon and two graduate degrees from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. Mr. Kennedy was a political advisor to state and federal officials and has authored strategy pieces for Members of Congress and presidential candidates. He serves on the Advisory Board for the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona.

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