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Clinton for president speculation: stop the madness

Yesterday, the chatter was about a Biden-Clinton job swap for 2012. Today, it's about the secretary of state's presidential ambitions in 2016. I wish people would focus on the Democrats in 2010, since a new political landscape might take shape the evening of Nov. 2. But since they're not, I want to put some things out there for folks to consider -- one last time.

There are many variables at play in a possible Clinton run in 2016. The mood of the country is one. If it's anything like it is today, any Democrat at the top of the ticket better watch out. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan should be wound down by then -- or not. Age is another variable. Clinton would be 69 at the time of the 2016 general election. This assumes that some Democratic young gun doesn't come from out of nowhere to scuttle her chances of snatching the party's nomination -- again. But the key variable is President Obama's reelection in 2012. Clinton's chances of succeeding him four years later diminish greatly if he loses.

A Vice President Clinton isn't going to happen. But what does have the likelihood of coming true is Clinton taking over for Robert Gates at the Pentagon when he retires next year. Running the defense department would put her in charge of concluding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Assuming there's a second Obama term, she would have to then continue to make extremely tough and politically dicey budgetary decisions for the agency. The post could make her long for the simple days of negotiating Middle East peace and trading insults with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But here's the flip-side. As the civilian leader of the military (and assuming she does that job as well as she has done her current job at State), Clinton would put to rest any question that she has the strength and the right experience to be commander in chief in a 2016 run. She could even reprise that powerful 3:00 a.m. ad she used to attack Obama and his presumed lack of experience on the world stage during the 2008 primaries.

In 2016, that ad would be rooted in real decision-making experience -- not by osmosis as a former first lady or a former senator. But like I said yesterday, we're getting way ahead of ourselves. Unless and until she herself -- not some surrogate -- says otherwise, my Clinton 2012 and 2016 presidential speculation is over.

By Jonathan Capehart  | October 7, 2010; 12:17 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Hillary Clinton as SecDef. Now there is an image that even the best comedy screen writer in Hollywood would have dreaming up. She would go crazy seeing uniforms all day.

Posted by: staterighter | October 7, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

The only madness I see is in the Obama camp.Obama was confused from the very beganning.He couldn't figure out which side to fight for: The Democrats(whom he calls libirals) or The Republicans (whose attention he beg for to no avail).Clint is will grounded and respect for her Libiral views.She is not out to cut deals and reach across the isles.She just want America to be all it can be.Obama want to be a great world figure but that starts at home.How could he hope to be reelected if he didn't end those wars and bring our jobs back.The American People are not as nieve as Obama thought.And in 2012 he will see first hand that we dont want him back,nor do we want a Republican,WE WANT CLINTON AND WE WANT HER NOW

Posted by: apez54 | October 7, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Here is a thought for your Clinton fantasy....

why the he** should she do one ounce more clean up for Obama !!!!! He is incompetent.

She is competent.....Hillary for PRESIDENT in 2012 ! ! ! !

Posted by: DiscerningCitizen | October 7, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Mr Capehart,

FACE IT, BHO & the DIMocRAT Party will after 11/02/10 be the MINORITY PARTY (& mostly IRRELEVANT to the process after this December) in BOTH houses of Congress in less than 4 weeks & there is NOTHING that our LIAR-in-Chief can say/do to alter that result. - it won't even be close; instead it will be a BLOODBATH of epic porportions for the LEFTISTS/DIMocRATS.

furthermore, whoever runs as a DIMocRAT (and i'm not at all sure that BHO will run again OR that he can win the primary if he does) will be HUMILIATED by whomever the Tea Party endorses. - at the rate of our current growth (6-8% a week), we will be larger than BOTH current parties combined by 2012.

note to both parties "professionals": we TP folk are NOT "going to fade away". if anything we will PICK the next winners for the WH & many more seats in the Congress for years to come.- FACT.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | October 7, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

No, no. Not Hillary for Gates' replacement. Barney Frank. THAT's how you put it to 'em.

Posted by: wmadden1 | October 7, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

Lazy-shallow-vapid-jejune-mindless- pointless-purposeless-senseless-meaningless

Pick an adjective - they all apply to crystal-ball-gazing, speculation about the 2016 Presidential horse-race.

The U.S. is mired in truly significant financial difficulties. There is about to be a cataclysmic election, followed by years of unknown political, financial, and geopolitical upheaval. But a member of the WaPo editorial board, along with other "highly-tuned-in" beltway cognoscenti are weighing-in on Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Presidential race.

Has everyone in Washington, DC, lost their collectve minds?

Posted by: pilsener | October 8, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

No incumbent president has been denied his party's renomination since Chester Arthur in 1884. Speculation about Clinton's presidential ambitions are pointless.

Posted by: sjpatejak | October 8, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Stop writing about it. I can't stand these pundit-created news stories. Let the news become the story.

Posted by: lafemmejenn | October 8, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

You say "But the key variable is President Obama's reelection in 2012. Clinton's chances of succeeding him [Obama] four years later diminish greatly if he loses."

Yes, the chances diminish greatly--they diminish to zero! If a republican defeats Obama in 2012, she cannot logically succeed him in 2016. Love this quality commentary.

Posted by: CSfairfax | October 8, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

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