Hillary After Obama?
I can’t even tell you what’s going to happen this week in Congress with the so-called “fiscal cliff,” which is really more of a slope that Ben Bernanke gave this really scary name. Somehow I have the sense we’ll emerge with some patchwork minisolution that will avoid massive tax increases for everyone but may hurt folks at the bottom end a lot more.
However, I can tell you what will happen sometime in 2015: I expect Hillary Clinton, assuming she’s healthy, to finally declare her candidacy for the presidency.
Given that, I can tell you definitely what will happen in November 2016: she will win a resounding victory over anybody the Republicans decide to put up against her.
Now this is not a highly original thought. Most of the political world, even Newt Gingrich—hardly my political guru—agrees. Fact is, the only thing that gives me pause is that Gingrich agrees with me, or worse, I with him.
The reasons are obvious. In the eyes of most of the world Clinton has been a remarkably energetic and capable secretary of state—granted she is a bit too hawkish for me. As such she has become, with Michelle Obama, one of the two most admired women in the world, completely flipping her image of a few years ago as one of the most controversial and polarizing people on the planet.
The Republicans, of course, will end their crossover admiration for her, most likely reviving and rebuilding a case against her because of the attack and killings at the Benghazi, Libya consulate where our much admired Ambassador Chris Stevens was murdered.
Though she took responsibility immediately (granted the failure lay with the CIA as well) and has been working on means of preventing such tragedies in the future, it is the only serious blemish on her record.
I don’t know if she will go down in history as a “great” secretary of state, having no overwhelming accomplishments, such as Henry Kissinger’s opening to China, but in the face of multiple problems at all points on the globe she has performed well.
Again, none of this is a unique analysis at this point, so why do I make it my year-end column?
A personal reason.
I was a major critic of the distaff Clinton during her 2008 run. In fact, the first column I wrote for the Chicago Daily Observer in the fall of 2007 was titled “My Hillary Problem and Ours.” It was pretty damn tough on her—which I remained throughout the primary.
The main issue was her Senate vote for the Iraq war and her refusal to apologize for it. Her aides, including her husband, also ran a very scummy campaign.
In any event, as she prepares to bow out, I thought it appropriate to say how much my view of her has changed in the past four years. (Not saying I was wrong in 2007.)
Though ideologically I would like to see Elizabeth Warren as our first female president, if Hillary runs she’ll have my admiring support.
Happy New Year.
Don Rose is a regular columnist for the Chicago Daily Observer
image Hillary and Bill Clinton with Obama financier Tony Rezko