Hillary- Our Next President?
Is it time for President Obama to step aside and assure a Democratic victory in next year’s election? That’s the provocative thesis of this article by two Democratic pollsters (neither of whom are Obama fans): http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203611404577041950781477944.html?mod=WSJ_hp_mostpop_read
In brief, their argument is that an unpopular Obama cannot run for re-election on his accomplishments, since we are clearly not better off than we were four years ago. And he cannot run on what one wag called recently “hopium”. So the only way he can win is by waging a scorched earth, divisive and relentlessly negative campaign that if he wins will render the country hopelessly polarized and ungovernable.
Thus Caddell and Schoen ask the President, in effect, to resign at the end of his first term, like Truman and Lyndon Johnson, and permit his popular Secretary of State and former first Lady Hillary Clinton to run in 2012. There are numerous problems with this scenario. One, unlike Truman and Johnson, who had virtually no hope of being re-elected, Obama stands an excellent chance of winning, given the state of the Republican nominees and national party. Two, a major part of Clinton’s present appeal (she destroys any possible Republican nominee in head to head matchups) is that she has not transparently sought higher office. Three, she ran a terrible, undisciplined 2008 Presidential campaign riven with factionalism and backbiting, a poor sign that she would run a disciplined, unified White House.
There is tremendous anxiety about Obama inside the Democratic party right now. Much of it is a function of his persistent outsiderness, and the dragons slain on the way to the White House. Caddell and Schoen may well be right- that the only way to re-election is for the President to ignite a class war. But how many powerful people surrender power willingly? The Hillary scenario, as Herman Cain recently said, “ain’t gonna happen”. Would you give up a comfortable retirement on Martha’s Vineyard for four years in what Truman called “the crown jewel of the federal penal system”?