Will Hillary Clinton Challenge Obama Next Year?
Ever since Bill and Hillary Clinton stepped onto the national stage, I have been struck by their lust for power. When Bill became embroiled in his first sex scandal during the race for the White House in 1992, one would have thought his presidential career was over before it had begun.
Then, the country witnessed his wife on national television saying that people were telling lies about her husband. "I'm not some woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette," she said, trying to save the philanderer whom she viewed as her key to political prominence.
If she had told the voters what she already knew about Bill's lascivious liaisons, his ambitions would have ended in Little Rock. But Hillary is not the type of woman who cares about such mundane matters as marital fidelity; she, like Bill, is a child of the "free love" era that dominated the 1960s. The pursuit of power is the aphrodisiac of choice for this pair of ruthless hucksters. After Bill's two terms in the White House, they moved to New York, pulling a Bobby Kennedy type of carpetbagger caper, so Hillary could run for the U.S. Senate.
The rest seemed easy. Hillary would be a shoo-in for president in 2008. However, as happens in some of the best-laid plans, suddenly, the devious duo got hit with Hurricane Obama. The fact that this upstart community organizer from Illinois, with a mere two years in the Senate, could wrench the nomination away from a woman who felt she was the heir-apparent to the throne seemed to indicate that the country had had enough of the Clintons. Begrudgingly, Hillary accepted the secretary of state position, while plotting the demise of the man who had robbed her of her place in history as the first female chief executive, while securing his own place as the first African-American to achieve that lofty goal.
Like something out of a Shakespearean tragedy, the Brutus and Cassius conspiracy began to chip away at the Caesar whom the Clintons felt an overwhelming compulsion to eliminate. They hid their vitriolic resentment well for almost three years, rejecting any notion that Obama should be challenged for the nomination in 2012.
But now it seems the time is right to strike a blow for Hillary. While she appears to remain above it all, Bill is making noises like a supporter of a new candidate. Recently, he took a shot at Obama's jobs plan, calling it "confusing" and saying that the president and Congress shouldn't be raising taxes or cutting spending. The Clintons know that Obama's hope for reelection is tied to the economy, so, they put those malevolent minds together and not so subtly undermined his desperation tactic. With a suspicious public watching the scenario unfold, Bill was asked if he would like his wife to be president. His response was that he has always believed she is one of the brightest people of her generation. Couple that with the recent poll that said Hillary is the most admired woman in America, and it's easy to imagine the scenario being planned.
There's no doubt that the Clintons have a lot of ears on the ground in the Democratic Party, which is facing a scary election in 2012. If the president's poll numbers are this low (or lower) by January, there will be many senators and congressmen worried about holding onto their seats. If they believe that Obama will hurt their chances, the pressure will be on him to bow out for the good of the party. In 1968, during the height of the Viet Nam War, LBJ, whose poll numbers were in the basement, told the nation that he would not be running for reelection. Could history repeat itself in 2012?
One indication could be the recent comments by two of the Clintons' most prominent strategists. James Carville and Mark Penn said Obama should learn from the centrist policies Clinton embraced in 1996. In addition, during the BP oil spill, Carville was stridently critical of the president's actions regarding the cleanup: "Man, you got to get down here and take control of this! Put somebody in charge of this thing and get this moving! We're about to die down here!"
Keep in mind that Hillary, as secretary of state, serves at the pleasure of Obama. Her husband would not be attacking the central theme of Obama's reelection strategy without her approval. Carville and Penn wouldn't be criticizing Obama unless they got the nod from the former First Lady. While she keeps her slacks clean, exuding an air of nobility, Hillary has others laying the groundwork for her ascension. These are crafty politicians who keep their eyes on the goal. Patience is not their strong suit, so waiting for 2016 was never part of the plan.
Bob Weir is a retired detective sergeant in the New York Police Department.