From the moment she was sworn in as Secretary of State 4 years ago, Hillary Clinton has been dogged by questions about her own presidential ambitions.
Hillary for President 2016 would be the best/worst choice for Democrats.
Hillary Clinton is the only Democratic woman of sufficient national stature, today, to run a credible campaign for president. If she were the only woman candidate in the field – well, it could be an Electoral College landslide not seen since Reagan beat Mondale.
Hillary Clinton would be the best choice for Democrats because an early announcement of her candidacy would eliminate a primary fight. The Democrats would enter the general election campaign united and with their campaign coffers filled to overflowing. While Republicans fought another bitter primary contest, she could sit back, observe and plot strategy.
She would be the best choice for Democrats because former President Clinton has used the decade since he left the White House to build strong relationships with leading American and global leaders and entrepreneurs. He has acquired a very sophisticated understanding of global economics that he lacked during his own presidency. This time, we might really get two for the price of one?
Moreover, Bill Clinton is still the best retail, grass roots, down home politician in the country. Bill on the presidential campaign trail, Hillary has learned, is both a good thing and a bad thing. The Bill Clinton the nation saw in 2012 would definitely be an asset.
Hillary Clinton would be the worst choice for the Democrats in 2016 because the moment she declares her candidacy the record high 70% approval she currently enjoys would disappear. She would become, once again, a politician. Her approval ceiling then is not higher than 55% (even including the "sisterhood" factor).
Hillary Clinton would be the worst choice for the Democrats in 2016 because the moment she becomes a candidate, the Republicans know where to aim their covering fire. We have to assume that the RNC staff learned something from the Obama campaign’s successful use of negative advertising? Her support for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the questions surrounding the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack plus all the issues from the 2008 campaign and White Water, Travelgate etc. would come back roaring. Yes, even her remark about not staying home to bake cookies. That's a lot of covering fire!
Hillary Clinton would be the worst choice for the Democrats in 2016 because her candidacy would revive the talk about the Bush/Clinton dynasties. Wouldn't it seem, almost, undemocratic to elect another member of the same generation of that dynasty to the presidency?
Hillary Clinton would be the worst choice for the Democrats in 2016 because she will be 69 years old and, she hopes, a grandmother. As a surrogate for Obama in 2008, Hillary Clinton argued that 70-year-old Senator John McCain was "too old." The Republicans would, potentially even turn to John McCain, himself, to turn the tables on Hillary? It would, at the very least, provide fodder for late night comics.
And that brings us to the subject of Clinton's health. Her recent hospitalization for treatment of a blood clot on the brain – probably a complication of her recent concussion – led to the revelation that this is not her first life-threatening blood clot.
Nor would voters ignore the fragile heart condition of the former president. He has undergone two heart surgeries in less than 10 years and remains at risk. Would the former president’s condition become a distraction for Hillary as the first woman president?
But all of this is pure conjecture. Hillary Clinton has said she plans to spend 2013 "getting healthy" – resting, exercising, losing weight, and lobbying Chelsea to make her a grandmother.
If we find her on the Democratic Jefferson Dinner circuit in 2014, we will know whether she is planning to run.
If we find her installed as an Ivy League college president in 2014, we will know she really is "out of politics."