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.