As Obama embarks on the final months of his first term as president, the internet is abuzz with speculation as to what the his right-hand woman will do next (sorry, Biden). With her approval ratings nearing the high 60s, Americans are finally comfortable with Hillary Clinton. In fact, they're pretty proud of her. The American public has seen this woman go through it all: they've watched her come up through the ranks, go through some hard and humiliating times and now, finally, reach what seems to be the unassuming role she was meant to fill, that of Secretary of State under her former campaign rival. Clinton is finally at ease with herself, and America is loving it. So, after her terms is up, what is she going to do next?
Political pundits are having a field day speculating as to what she will do. Will she run in 2016? Will she surprise everyone and run as Obama's vice president (again, sorry Biden)? The rumors abound, but Clinton is stern in her repeated answer: no.
In fact, more than anything it just seems as if Clinton needs a break. The Economist reported in late March that "since taking office, Mrs. Clinton has visited 95 countries (now 100) and logged some 730,000 miles, sometimes cramming more than a dozen meetings into a single day." That's some serious mileage, and the numbers have only increased since that report. In fact, it seems that Madame Secretary has been so busy that she's not even sure how tired she is. In January she stated "It would be a - probably a good idea to just find out how tired I am ... "
So, let's let her take a break and catch-up with herself. Let her rest, reflect and perhaps most importantly recoup.
But rest assured, this moment of leisure surely won't last long. Hillary Clinton doesn't seem to be the type to sit back while her beloved country is going through momentous changes; to say nothing about the changes ongoing in the rest of the world The Economist called her early departure "inconclusive" and it seems that many other political pundits feel equally disgruntled.
There are a few options for Clinton after she gets her moment of rest. She has continually denied that she'll run in 2016. But many remain hopeful. The next round of presidential campaign drama is over four years away, and a lot can happen within that time. With possibly one of the most impressive resumes for the job (years serving in the senate, bolstered foreign policy experience as Secretary of State, and don't dismiss her time as First Lady) it would be truly a shame if she didn't give it one more shot.
Some proposed nominating her for the position of president of the World Bank. But as Robert Zoellick leaves the position on June 30, Jim Yong Kim will assume the role. Clinton also flat-out denied this rumor months ago.
Here we arrive at what seems to be the most likely course Clinton will take, that of advocacy work, especially in relation to women's and girls' rights around the world. This will be a natural role for her to assume as she has already focused a great deal of her efforts at the Department of State on these issues. She also has a convenient platform to slip into with her husband's already established William J. Clinton Foundation and its sister organization the Clinton Global Initiative. These two organizations both provide great arenas and resources for future efforts in this area, and have in fact shown interest in furthering their efforts in relation to causes that affect both women and girls. Last year one of the three areas of focus at the annual Clinton Global Initiative meeting was "Women and Girls: Scaling what works." With a multitude of experience and a passionate drive for issues that affect ladies in particular, Clinton would be a respectable and great leader to champion these causes around the world.
No matter what she does, it will be great to see Clinton embrace her position as a role-model for young and aspiring government servants, especially women. With few ladies reaching the very top, it would be nice to have a strong and active role-model to encourage women to pursue these positions. Though it doesn't seem likely she'll go into a university and start teaching (the Clintons always were much more activist oriented), it would be pretty amazing to have Hillary Clinton as a lecturer of foreign policy. Maybe further down the road she'll consider this option.
For now, America will see her out to the end of her term, which is certain to keep her as occupied as ever (Syria, Afghanistan, the list goes on and on). Though she'll be missed when she departs, it certainly won't be the last we see of her.