2016 is four years away, but that’s not stopping outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from positioning herself as the top Democratic contender for the presidency. Despite the almost obsessive coverage of this story, the media finally has some news pointing to her potential run. Bloomberg Businessweek reported that a group of about 20 high-profile Obama donors decided to pay off Clinton’s 2008 campaign debt, which was about $250,000, and then some. Her campaign, whose legal status still exists and which never officially shut down, now has about a $200,000 surplus. Additionally, the first Hillary Clinton super-PAC, Ready for Hillary, is living up to its name with already 50,000 twitter followers.
Although the election seems light-years away, this issue is not really about four years from now. Rather, it’s about how Clinton’s posturing will shape the Democratic Party and current legislative issues for the next four years. Her decision to run highly affects what bills are passed and what alliances are made within the party. From what Washington, D.C., insiders are saying, Vice President Joe Biden seems to be Clinton’s largest opponent, which gives the White House and the vice president more power in a sense.
This causes senators and congressmen to view him as the potential next president instead of an outgoing lame duck vice president. In other words, its easier to compromise with someone who could hold much more power in the future. Aside from this, Clinton’s decision to run greatly affects Biden’s relationship with President Obama. The president would be politically forced to choose to endorse and financially support one of them as every previous president in this situatation has done so in the past.
Regardless of the internal backdoor politics, it seems like Clinton has the upper hand. Because Clinton has been engulfed in international affairs, she enjoyed the ability to stay out of Obama’s highly controversial domestic decisions such as the Affordable Care Act and gun control. She is possible the most popular secretary of state since Thomas Jefferson and according to a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, she holds a 91 percent approval rating among Democrats over Biden’s 78 percent.
The only real controversial issue surrounding Clinton is the so-called Benghazi-Gate and the death of the Ambassador Stevens. Even so, Republican attempts to expose an alleged Clinton-led cover-up of what the U.S. State Department knew and when they knew it fell short of Republican expectations. No traction on the issue came about as most Americans simply don’t care about the issue and don’t see Clinton as the source of a deceptive coverup. Once again, Clinton escapes unscathed.
And it will remain that way over the next four years. Clinton steps down from secretary of state being viewed as one of the most successful secretaries in the history of the position. Now that she does not have an official role in government, she can pick and choose which topics she wants to come out and speak on as opposed to Biden who is inherently and irrevocably connected to one of the most controversial presidents in modern history. As with most issues in politics, randomness and chance tend to be important factors in how these types of things turn out.
For example, nobody expected an unknown and relatively inexperienced senator from Illinois to take on the most powerful Democratic name to become president in 2008. Perhaps that Democrat is out there waiting to be discovered or perhaps not. Only a fierce and determined examination of the political scene in the coming years will help figure this out.