PARKER: Hillary would have a good shot in 2016

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker

WASHINGTON -- No matter what Barack Obama does, he cannot escape the shadow of his former political opponent.

Hillary Clinton, back from her global travels visiting places and peoples hardly heard of on this continent, is stealing the spotlight without even touching the stage.

President Barack Obama visits the Middle East, makes history as he speaks war to Syria and Iran, and peace to Israelis and Palestinians, and the talk back home circles The Big Question: Will Hillary run?

The former first lady, the former senator and now the former secretary of state is everywhere -- and nowhere to be seen. Sent away by this president upon his unlikely victory in 2008 against the Clinton machine and the inevitable first woman president, Hillary is back.

Few people -- and far fewer women -- have attracted so much attention as Hillary Clinton. She carries the unique burden of being something to everyone: Loved, despised, admired, feared, a role model, a terrifying omen, politician, mother, wife, nemesis, scold, muse. She is a conundrum of one.

And she is running for president. Isn't she?

No sooner did Obama raise his right hand to begin his second term than the whispers began. This is true for Washington, at least, if nowhere else. With Clinton out of the public eye for the first time since she and her husband occupied the Arkansas governor's mansion, all eyes turned to find her.

Whether to run again for the highest office is surely on Hillary's mind -- searing and torturous. It was always (BEG ITAL)the(END ITAL) question. Her inevitability is legend. The erstwhile valedictorian who became the wife of Bill Clinton was bound for her own glory, in her own time, eventually.

Then came the most unexpected thing of all -- this man Obama, this deus ex machina who descended from some distant star to blind the masses with his light. His destiny, alas, was greater than hers and so, once again, Hillary had to wait.

Will she go for it again? Will she seize her destiny? Or is it her fate to fade into the pages of missed opportunities, bad timing and broken promises?

I've asked a half-dozen close Clinton associates if she's running and they all say the same thing: "I have no idea." I suspect this is true and that Hillary doesn't really know. Except that she does know, and all her colleagues really do know, and we all know. Really, don't we? How does Hillary Clinton walk away from the job that was meant to be hers? Forget fate. What about duty? Doesn't the first woman who has a real shot at becoming president of the United States have a duty to run? And win?

It would be exhausting. Time wears us down and Hillary would be 69 in 2016. The past four years have been brutal and she shows the effects of constant travel, immense pressure and a rather noble lack of attention to her vanities. A presidential campaign, though more familiar, would be worse. So much engagement, so many bad meals, a terrible pace for anyone of any age, but especially for a woman who may be musing about grandchildren and doting.

Then again, Hillary is no cookie baker, as we know. And the timing, finally, is right. Her popularity is at its highest level ever. She is admired around the world. She has earned her chops not by inheritance (married to Bill) but through her own sweat and, yes, tears. She has managed through hard work and quiet rectitude to erase most memories of her earlier years as first lady and of the woman who did, indeed, stand by her man when most wouldn't.

Not incidentally, the women's vote is hers. Even Republican women would find it hard not to cast a ballot for Hillary. If not her, then who? And when? The Republican bench may be full, but, with the exception of Jeb Bush, it seems full of vice presidents rather than presidents. A Bush-Clinton contest might drive the country into dynastic delirium, but there would be a certain poetic symmetry: Finally the right Bush and the right Clinton.

Clearly, the Hillary Clinton for president proposition poses more questions than answers. But the calculus comes down to this: She has been working toward this moment essentially all her life, diligently clearing away the brush blocking her path. The zeitgeist is ready for a woman president. Most important, she can win -- and few think the country would be worse for it.

Email nationally syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker at kathleenparker@washpost.com. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/kathleenparker.


kevin 2 years, 5 months ago

Does she think she is still that good? Never happen.


Why_not 2 years, 5 months ago

I hate to see you eat those words Kevin....hahaha


kevin 2 years, 5 months ago

Maybe Hillary can take over the job of handling the annual groundhog day ceremony. She would be perfect for that job. She would have something else to blame if the annual prediction is wrong. Time for her to go out to pasture and be with her "famous" husband.


kayak 2 years, 5 months ago

The woman (Clinton) is worn flat out as seen lately with her serious illness, but she has 3 years to rest up. Personally I have never been a Clinton fan, but as usual Kathleen has a pretty concise finger-on-the-pulse with this article. Hopefully, if it all happens the way this article presents, Clinton will have a more centered view of reality as a result of all her wordly travels. Still, Jeb would get my vote.


JV 2 years, 5 months ago

If Hillary runs, she will get elected. How about a few quotes?

"I have to confess that it's crossed my mind that you could not be a Republican and a Christian."

"God bless the America we are trying to create."

"We are going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good."

“We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what is best for society.”

"With all due respect, the fact is, we had four dead Americans! Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?

“If I want to knock a story off the front page, I just change my hairstyle.”


kevin 2 years, 5 months ago

If your son was one of the 4 killed on Clinton's watch, you would not be talking so big right now. I'd love to see what you would be writing then! The main ingredient to be a Liberal is: I want and do only what's best for "me" and without having to pay for it all. I want others to contribute.


Why_not 2 years, 5 months ago

Your ignorance never ceases to amaze me. You sir, are one of those faces of the republican party that's scaring voters away in droves. Stand up and be proud.


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