Hillary For Senate Majority Leader
by Gary Boatwright, Tue Aug 22, 2006 at 05:05:03 PM EDT
Ezra Klein has an excellent editorial in the LA Times today detailing an inspired strategy to offer Hillary the position of Senate Majority Leader if she stays out of the race for Democratic Presidential nominee. The Job Sen. Clinton Should Want:
Skip the presidential rat race and whip the Senate Democrats into shape
Earlier this month, Steve Clemons' blog, the Washington Note, quoted highly placed sources as saying that Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid had pulled Clinton aside and offered her a deal: Eschew the presidential campaign and succeed Reid as leader of the Senate Democrats in 2009.
Maybe there's hope for the Democratic Party after all.
Klein lays out the difficulties Hillary would face in Democratic primaries:
But if her candidacy gleams in theory, its reality looks a little dimmer each day. Clinton is a polarizing figure, commanding a strong base of support but little room for growth. A CBS News poll in late July found her favorables at 32% and her unfavorables at 39% -- a worrying ratio for a figure so well established in the public mind.
Many of her potential competitors score far better on likeability indices, notably John Edwards, who's turned his charm into a 4% lead in the crucial early presidential caucus state, Iowa. More troubling for Clinton, Democratic leaders have shuffled the caucus and primary schedule, placing Nevada after Iowa and South Carolina after New Hampshire. Nevada is essentially one big union town, mainly through the hotel workers union Unite Here, which Edwards is closely allied with. Then comes New Hampshire, where Clinton is ahead by single digits, and then South Carolina -- Edwards' birth state, which he won in 2004. It's a series tailor-made for Edwards, and thus daunting for Clinton.
And then there's the problem Hillary has with progressive bloggers (and yours truely of course):
Worse yet, the blogs -- the weathervane of the emergent left -- can't stand Clinton. Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, proprietor of the liberal megasite Daily Kos, even took to the Washington Post to write of his distaste. And her problems don't stop with the primaries -- surveys show she routinely loses to John McCain and Rudy Giuliani in head-to-head matchups.
The upside for both Hillary and the Democratic primary:
All those qualities would make her a superlative Senate leader, both for the health of the Democratic Party and the workings of the legislative body. Clinton, a serious policy wonk with a deep-seated drive to improve the world, could effect real change, possibly even more than the relentlessly partisan position of president would allow.
Better yet, her path to the Senate leadership is a far safer road, ensuring that Clinton's trailblazing migration from first lady to senator remained unmarred by a catastrophic defeat in a presidential campaign. She would be the first woman to occupy the august body's leadership position, and she would remain resolutely in the public eye, ready and waiting were the ground to shift and 2012 to look more inviting.
'Nuff said. Hillary is far better suited to be Senate Majority leader than President. It's a win/win for the Democratic Party and the American people.