Friday, February 15, 2008

Whither Goest Thou, Hillary?

As all pundits are saying, the next two weeks are crucial for Hillary R. Clinton. Her string of losses to Barack Obama put her in a do-or-die situation for the March 4 primaries. She must win both Texas AND Ohio, probably by substantial margins, to have a chance of securing the Democrat Presidential nomination. If she prevails, she lives to fight another day with still a chance to win the nomination. If she loses either contest, she is finished as a candidate. So the pundits say but are they right? As much as many of us would like to see Hillary and her Bill fade into the night, I think there is a good chance that we will not have our collective wishes anytime in the foreseeable future. In the remainder of this piece, I'd like to explore some options that may face Sen. Clinton in the future.

Option #1: Hillary wins the nomination and beats McCain
This would certainly be Hillary's favorite scenario, if not the most likely. Hillary would face John McCain in the general election. If she wins, we'll have her for a while.

Option #2: Hillary wins the nomination and loses to McCain
If she loses, she is done as a presidential candidate because Democrats do not care for those who lose to Republicans. She would not be viable for 2012 even though she might make a go of it. She would still remain a Senator and might try for Majority Leader.

Option #3: Hillary loses the nomination to Obama who beats McCain
If Obama beats John McCain, Hillary will never run for President again. She could not oppose an incumbent Obama in 2012 and would likely be too old in 2016. She would settle into her Senate position and maybe shoot for Majority leader.

Option #4: Hillary loses the nomination to Obama who loses to McCain
This would make Hillary the presumptive front-runner for the 2012 nomination. Obama would be a loser and not viable. Hillary would devote the intervening four years to campaigning for Democrats thus storing up markers that she can call for the 2012 campaign. McCain would be 75 then and might be viewed as vulnerable.

Option #5: Hillary pulls out all the stops to win the nomination even though behind
This is the nuclear option and the only one that could potentially sink Hillary as a public figure. It would be a high risk-high gain venture that might net her nothing. If she wrangles the nomination from Obama when Obama has more pledged delegates, it would generate much anger and resentment within the Democratic Party. Because of that she would definitely lose in the general election because many Democrats would not support her. She would be branded a loser and a divider and would basically have no place to go. This is the only scenario that I can foresee removing the Clintons from the public spotlight.

So, in looking at all these options, it is very likely that we will have the Clintons around for the foreseeable future. As much as we might like to think that her defeat by Obama would finish her, it actually might have the opposite effect, making her stronger for 2012. In any case, Hillary "ain't goin' nowhere."

-- Submitted by B. Bryant

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