Hillary’s Calculation

At the request of Conservative Gal, here is a re-post of a blog written in October of 2009.

Hillary’s Calculation

October 1, 2009

I know, I know; we’re only nine months into an Obama administration and projecting three years down the road is foolhardy.  But come on; loosen up, have a little fun.  If President Obama faces a primary challenge for re-election, a’la Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy, where would it come from?

Who has the clout to do it?  There seems to be a singular answer to that question, Hillary Clinton.  Mrs. Clinton was the most significant critic of Barack Obama during the primary season and one cannot utter the word Clinton without an immediate consideration of the word calculation. 

Remember her key criticisms during the campaign.  Hillary accused Obama of inexperience, not much more to him other than speeches, naïveté regarding the realities of a dangerous world and of how things work in the real world, she said.  When it comes to nailing the problems Hillary hit the nail directly on its hard little head.  Their health care plans were essentially the same but Hillary has the opportunity to say that she would have managed it differently.  Can’t refute it, it’s a hypothetical. 

During the campaign Bill Clinton was sure that the Obama campaign had the race card firmly in hand just waiting to play it against him.  Bill was seriously unhappy with that turn of events and to say Hillary was as well, would be an understatement.  Hillary was just not sure who to be more upset at, Obama or Bill. 

Hillary was in the running for Vice President until, if reports are to be believed, Michelle Obama killed the idea.  For Hillary the Vice Presidency was the last stop along the way to a nearly guaranteed Democratic nomination in 2016.  Hillary, despite a carefully constructed speech accepting defeat could not, understandably, hide her anger and disappointment. 

There are already key differences between the positions of Mrs. Clinton and President Obama, chief among them defensive shields, Iranian engagement and policy in Afghanistan.  She has been frozen out of U.N. policy as Ms. Rice reports directly to the President.  Key strategic meetings find her underlings invited in along with her.  While the President engages the sexy foreign policy issues of the day Hillary is sweating it out in third world Africa.  So far she’s been a good soldier, but for how long?

What does Hillary Know?

Hillary likely knows that the economy, as an issue, is not going away.  She is likely projecting that the stimulus won’t stimulate.  As Secretary of State she has a good size Chinese Wall between her and economic policy which she is taking full advantage of.  You may notice that she’s had very little to say about domestic issues despite many opportunities to opine.  When she has opined it has certainly not been in the strongest terms, just enough not to get in trouble.

Hillary knows that a centrist Democrat like Bill Clinton can have a significant degree of success.  She also knows that the hard left turn of the Obama administration is not playing in Podunk. 

Hillary knows that the Obama domestic agenda could be checkmated at any time by international crisis or terrorism.  She knows that we have stretched well beyond the time when we should expect more attacks and that engagement relative to Iran has a low likelihood of working out. 

Hillary probably knows more about what is going on in the inner sanctum of the White House than anyone outside of the White House.  Many of Bill’s former people are there now; “call me”!  There is no doubt a little diary identifying exactly the position of each wart and error in judgment is in progress.

She knows that by comparison to President Obama she’s looking pretty good, the recent polls say just that.  You likely know someone who has asked you, “wouldn’t you rather have had Hillary”?  You probably answered, “Yes” no matter who you voted for.

She has, according to reports, staked out a position in favor of more troop commitments to Afghanistan along with Richard Holbrook.  She stands in opposition to the National Security Chief Mr. Blair, VP Biden and Rahm. If Mr. Biden’s “limited footprint” idea was run up the flag pole without her knowing it was coming, you can be assured that she is seriously pissed.

She knows that the President has hand delivered a set of policy differences that you could drive a “Clinton For President” bus through. 

So, what’s the calculation?

It is not difficult to imagine that Hillary is still thinking; “this guy stole my job!”  She is likely convinced she would be a better President; Hillary has probably been thinking that exact thing since her initial day as the First Lady.

In the event that Hope and Change don’t do the trick, that the economy continues to stagger, that her agenda is not being addressed, that Ms. Rice, Mr. Ross and Mr. Holbrook, Mr. Biden or Mr. Blair get in her way, what does she do? 

She waits for the inevitable crisis somewhere in the second or early third year of the administration.  The likelihood of things being exceptionally difficult is much higher than things going swimmingly, for any President.  Luke warm Presidential approval ratings are a current reality with no indication that the trend line is about to change.  It is also possible that Republicans make up some ground in the mid term election; a consistent historical trend for the minority party.  The probability that the left is unsatisfied with the political necessities the Obama administration faces are becoming more evident by the day.  Republican gains in Congress will be blamed on the President.  The Stage is then set for the Hillary reaction to the hypothetical but likely “crisis”.

If the hypothetical “crisis” is not handled correctly in her estimation (whether it is or is not does not really matter it’s just a means to an end) she can resign with all the moral indignation and high ground that she can muster.  She can step aside for reasons of irresolvable differences of opinion within the administration.  She can cite her inability to support a policy she does not agree with and therefore, on moral grounds, has to resign.  She will resign with heroic music playing in the background.   Hell, we all know this girl can “sell it” and “sell it” she will!

She will look back at Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy’s challenge.  She will analyze and identify the mistakes.  She will correct them.  The odds that she is the smartest person in the room are high regardless of the room.  

She will wait a respectful amount of time and then reluctantly cave in to a well orchestrated effort to draft her.  No, no, really I couldn’t!  But in the final analysis she is compelled by duty, a moral imperative; she will humbly offer herself to the party as their only viable alternative.  She sells the idea that she is the one who can bring about the promised Hope and Change that may not yet have been delivered to satisfaction.  She will, in so many words, say, “I told you so”! 

She will deliver the message that “Now you have a chance to fix this”.  The chance to “fix this” will be the underlying yet unspoken theme, both public and private.

Will she do it?  Hell, I don’t know. What I do know is that if anyone can, she can.

  • JD

    I have had similar thoughts on this. I had wondered if the arrangement between Hillary and Obama was just a tactical one. A sort of chess move.

    No matter who became president they were going to get their hands dirty laying the ground work and surviving through this political and economic climate. That in mind, Obama could step down in the 2012 election which would kill much of the argument against the DNC since he is the target and giving a clean slate for Hillary since she hasn’t been a part of most of his programs.

    It would drum up fresh supporters as well. Again, I wouldn’t be suppressed to hear that Obama is stepping down in 2012 and Hillary is stepping up. Quite brilliant if you ask me. America wouldn’t know what hit them. lol. and the media would have nothing more to talk about than that news for a solid 6 months starting the presidential running.

  • It is a fascinating prospect but I just can’t see it actually happening.

    The following items would have to be admitted as true or some other such reason for Hillary running in 2012:

    1) It would be an assumption that Obama was a failure either by policy or by the “Bush’s fault” argument and he couldn’t fix it.

    2) Obama wasn’t ready for the presidency, it ate him alive so he is stepping aside for a professional politician.

    3) Progressive policies caused 10% unemployment, Hillary will run to the middle as a centrist Democrat.

    Pick one or two of those as story lines, the media will have to answer the major question of “WHY?” Hillary would be taking Obama’s place in 2012. None of the answers fit the media narrative of “thrill up the leg” and hope and change politics.

  • JD

    I think the “WHY” would be simply to fill the open position.

    I mean, if Obama announces that he is not seeking re-election bid for any reason and I am assuming the DNC can come up with a creative one claiming neither blame nor responsibility then it is just a simple fact that the job is open to be filled.

    The question wouldn’t be why Hillary but rather we would be distracted with why Obama isn’t seeking re-election. The Why Hillary would be easily answered with she was the #1 contender before, she now has “foreign policy” experience, and Obama is stepping down.

    I don’t think Obama stepping down would mean failure on his part not to say Republicans won’t see it this way but they wouldn’t vote for a democrat anyway so as bad as it sounds it doesn’t matter what they think. But for others he could say his reasons for stepping down is that he has become a symbol of division despite his policies…just spit balling here.

    The question is again, if this was orchestrated. All it would take is a big picture point of view. We all would be kidding ourselves if we think any other person including Hillary or McCain wouldn’t have been just as much attacked. It is the nature of the game so you have to come up with a play that already accepts the aggressive nature of the game.

    On a big picture scale it would look much like a running Flea Flicker where “After the snap the quarterback hands off or laterals the football to a running back (or another player on his team), who then runs towards or parallel to the line of scrimmage. Before the running back crosses the line of scrimmage, he laterals the football back to the quarterback, who then looks for an eligible receiver down field to throw a pass to.

    If the defensive players think it is just a normal running play, they will leave their defensive positions guarding against the pass to run up field and cover the running back, leaving the quarterback free from any immediate pass rush, and leaving receivers potentially open to catch a pass.”

  • BARB

    I supported Hillary financially..and in every other way possible…BUT I will never support her again. Not only was she silent as her nomination was stolen by Obama and his team (see NoQuarerUSA articles by Dr. Lynette Long)…but then she goes on to become part of his administration. One thing I’ll always thank George Bush for! That $600 check his administration sent us, came too late for me to add it to the contributions I’d already given (wasted on) Hillary.

    Have ordered “Do you miss me yet?” George Bush T-shirt!!!!