Vice President Hillary Clinton?

As the 2010 election approaches, speculation has already begun about who will run in 2012 – and not just on the Republican side. Some suggest the far-fetched notion that Hillary will challenge Barack for the nomination. Let’s be clear, that simply will not happen for many reasons.

More recently, a very intriguing idea has been toss around by Hillary supporters and the media. That rumor is that Obama may replace Biden on the ticket with Hillary, potentially making a direct swap that would result in Biden becoming Secretary of State and Hillary running for Vice President. Normally, I would be tempted to dismiss such a rumor as rubbish, but there are reasons not to dismiss such speculation out of hand:

  • Biden would be too old to run for President in 2016 (He would be 74 when he took office). This is a similar situation as 2008 where Dick Cheney was not fit (in terms of politics, health, etc.) to run for the presidency. Certainly, the Democrats would like to have a next-in-line rather than having another open election. Or would they?
  • The arrangement would seem to fit the interests of both. Joe Biden has deep knowledge and credibility on foreign policy and related issues while it would position Hillary for a potential 2016 run (She would be 69 when she took office. Still old, but not unreasonable).
  • It would especially be wise to take it seriously if Obama and Democrats have not recovered politically by 2012. Hillary would balance the ticket, increase traditional Democratic turnout, boosting numbers among women, elderly, and rural voters. She would help solidify many of the swing states Obama won in 2008 even in a difficult political environment. The effect she would have in turnout would also ripple through the halls of Congress and potentially recover some losses from 2010.
  • If the economy is still struggling to recover, a Clinton on the ticket would be an important symbolic move as President Clinton oversaw the strongest economic expansion in our history through pragmatic policies that balanced the interests of businesses and consumers.

I have never been a strong Hillary supporter as in the past I have felt her aspirations have had more control of her than the other way around. As Secretary of State, she has proven she can put politics and gamesmanship aside and act in a statesman-like manner. I am usually quick to write off rumors and insignificant speculation and I tend to be skeptical of this rumor materializing, but I am not ready to write it off just yet.

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