Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pointless Presidential 'Pinion - Hillary's Term Off

When the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton steps down from her cabinet position in President Barack Obama's administration, she will be leaving the political stage. She's been on it for twenty years as the First Lady of Arkansas, a wife of a presidential candidate, the First Lady of the United States, a United States Senator from New York, a candidate for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, and her current job. I thought she was ready for the job then, and even more so now.

Once she's no longer in office, she should enjoy some time to herself as a private citizen and think about the possibility of running for the presidency. The outcome of the 2016 election isn't certain. Remember, Obama is the third president to get reelected to a second term and the terms switched parties after 8 years. Sure, the majority of voters in 2000 voted for the incumbent party's Vice President Al Gore, the Democrats, but the Electoral College ended up favoring the Republican candidate, Governor George W. Bush of Texas. Before 2000, Vice President George Bush was the first incumbent vice president to succeed to the president since the 1836 team of President Andrew Jackson and Vice President Martin Van Buren. But before Bush 41 followed Ronald Reagan in office, the Republicans hadn't succeeded each other since Herbert Hoover succeeded Calvin Coolidge in 1928.

For the Democrats you have to go back to the 1850s of a Democrat succeeding a Democrat, both served one term. James Buchanan followed Franklin Pierce in 1856. This was excluding vice presidents that succeeded through death and ran on their own and won the following election, like Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and Calvin Coolidge in 1924. There can be an argument made that is an example of another administration succeeding the one elected the previous election cycle but the president didn't complete the term. So all that is to show Secretary Clinton's non-guaranteed election in 2016 if she decides to run.

Just because she's a woman, with ambition, will be 69 in 2016, and she represents the past, not a move forward, are the things her opponents would suggest before digging up the things they threw at her as First Lady, but didn't seem to be an issue after two senatorial election wins, as the 2nd best vote getter in her party's race for the nomination, or her confirmation by the U.S. Senate to her cabinet post. Those people that hate Hillary, will bring up Benghazi since she was the head of the State Department when it happened and her vote for the Iraq War Resolution. In terms of Benghazi, she asked the Congress for appropriations to defend the embassy but was denied by Republicans. That needs to be answered and her role should not be a problem. In terms of Iraq, I can argue she made a political decision to look strong in 2002, she didn't face reelection like some of her other colleagues however. The Republican Leadership in the House put it to a vote in October of 2002, just before a mid-term election. Hillary probably didn't want to look weak as a future presidential candidate or just as women in politics, or she was just wrong. It hurt her big time in 2008, but somehow has faded away. What supporters of that belief, that her vote should mean something, forget that Bush 43 was president and pulled the trigger. She argues she didn't want to tie the president's hands in a time of war, just a year after 9/11. It didn't stop her from pursuing the nomination in 2008 and earned nearly 18 million votes in the primary, second to Barack Obama.

It's acceptable for all the men that have run for office to seek it no matters the odds against him, but not for a woman. If we lived in another time, a political party would step aside for someone with Clinton's background, but there might be some men that challenge her. If a woman wants to be ambitious, she should expect a man to treat her as he would treat a male opponent. But that could hurt the party if someone with less political capital won the nomination for some reason, since Clinton does so well with blacks, Latinos, and of course women and as the highest approval ratings as a politician in 2012. Her opponent on the left, and her would-be-Republican-general-election opponent, would only be able to offer "youth and inexperience," to quote Reagan.

Just like Reagan, she'll be 69 if she gets the nomination. Age shouldn't be a factor for her, but more so for Vice President Joe Biden if he decides to run as a 73 year old turning 74 about 2 weeks after the November 2016 election. Alben Barkley was 74 and told his age lost him his support. And Clinton's mom lived until she was 92, if like mother, like daughter.

While "Forward" was this year's campaign phrase for President Obama, a 69 year old former secretary of state on the political stage for so many years might not seem appropriate if she were the nominee. But it could be. Her age shouldn't matter to begin with just her health, so any woman candidate would be change, something that every election (reelection included) and new president bring. This would be the first female, since the office began in 1789. White males aren't the future, but there will be another white male president, there were 43 in a row. There might be one elected in 2016, Republican or Democrat...pretty sure no independent (but that would be cool). Her past makes her the most qualified female. Some would argue a female State governor could too, like a Nikki Haley, of South Carolina. Wouldn't that be interesting? The first female nomination for president is from both major political parties. Right now, no females are in the whisper campaign on the Republican side...it's also a week after the 2012 election and gentlemen with a brief political resume like Obama, Grover Cleveland, and Abraham Lincoln got their nomination verses someone like Buchanan, Johnson 36, Nixon, and Bush 41. A young woman can be ambitious too.

But everyone has time. A lot in our political system needs to change. Make the government something that every citizen can be proud of rather than disparage it. Especially the process to elect the president and vice president. When Hillary has time off these next four years, she should not only rest and relax but enjoy the United States. She's traveled the world these last four, she needs to get reacquainted with the home-front. But not run to Iowa and New Hampshire...all the 50 States in some non-political order. Shake things up. A small populated state of white Iowa, doesn't represent the United States. Also, save political candidates from all sides and the nation of news followers by having the States coordinate their primary elections into regional events. But that will never come, because change never seems to happen...or it does. But it's real slow.

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