It seems like everyone is talking about whether Hillary Clinton will run for president. There are several basic questions that come in to play. I’ve already written about the impact of her age here on PolicyMic. The next most obvious question is about her electability. There are plenty of opinions and she appears to be working hard to develop an answer herself.
An important element of her testing the waters is Clinton's pitching in to help Terry McAuliffe in his run for governor of Virginia. McAuliffe is an old friend of the Clintons and politicians frequently help old friends in their campaigns, but in this case she has an ulterior motive. She’s still helping out by showing her support in the governor's race, but her ability to draw a crowd and raise money will be closely monitored to help evaluate her credibility as a candidate herself.
Then there’s the Super PAC Ready for Hillary which everyone hopes will draw significant traffic and early contributions to the campaign coffers. The success of Ready for Hillary could play a huge role in her decision to run, or not to run.
Besides convincing herself, Hillary must convince the leadership of the Democratic Party that she's electable. It’s hard to imagine anyone in politics who has made a better recovery, politically, from the early days of her husband's presidency when she was vilified for a brutally failed attempt at addressing universal health care. She also faced a general dislike by the American public after the allegations of corruption regarding her work in Arkansas and their involvement in a real estate debacle on the White River.
She demonstrated tremendous courage in running for the Senate after she and Bill left the White House by facing her critics and distancing herself from Bill's bad personal choices. As Bill Clinton worked hard to ameliorate his image, she distinguished herself in the Senate and made a spirited bid for the presidency in 2008.
Hillary's star shined the brightest after she accepted Barack Obama's nomination to be Secretary of State. She is considered by many to have done an excellent job in that role. There were certainly some troubles along the way, but on balance she handled her responsibilities well. It would certainly be hard to argue that any secretary of state has worked harder or visited more countries — both characteristics that should weigh heavily on evaluating her capacity to serve as president.
Making the commitment to run is based on a number of factors, including the success of the current administration, world political developments, and her own health. As of now, she seems to be strong and vibrant. As long as she has no health setbacks in the next year or so, that shouldn’t be much of a factor. If Hillary chooses to run, she doesn’t have to declare for at least a year to a year and half. Much can change on the world stage between now and then. She's going to be watching very closely.