Journalists and pundits and even "regular," non-journalist Americans agree that the 2008 presidential election reached heights of both comedy and drama heretofore unseen in the world of politics. One little-noted fact, however, is how much Hillary Clinton was responsible for each.
Man, remember this character? For most of 2006 and 2007, it was just widely known/assumed that she would be the president in 2008. But then the Democratic primary season started up, and it turned out there was this other person, Barack Obama, who also wanted to be president. And what should have been a race that was over and done with by the first week in February dragged all the way into late May, to the amazement and disbelief of many.
We have Hillary Clinton to thank for this. She said she would never give up, and good heavens, she meant it. She would probably still be campaigning to this very day if President Obama hadn't offered her the Secretary of State position. And for the many, many months she ran in a three-person race against Barack Obama and John McCain, she made the lives of politics-watchers a little brighter by virtue of her audacity, her tirelessness, and her willingness -- some might say her eagerness -- to go to the mattresses on the most minor policy questions or procedural issues if it would get her a single extra vote.
So it's almost too bad that good manners will prevent her from running against Barack Obama in 2012. Hillary Clinton is too entertaining a campaigner to stay away from the field for that long. But knowing that, it's all the more encouraging that we're now hearing rumors about her running again in 2016. In a recent New York Times article about Hillary's senate successor, Kirsten Gillibrand, we find this nugget:
“Hard-core Hillary supporters are fully expecting her to run again in 2016,” said one New York official with deep Clinton ties who demanded anonymity so as not to be seen as speaking for Mrs. Clinton. “That is one reality. Kirsten is a more local reality. But for folks in New York, she gives them a focus.”
In the meantime, old Clinton staffers are apparently flocking to Gillibrand in order to stay in political fighting trim.
The news these days is so dull -- it's all TARP this and bailout that, and Jon Stewart feuding with some shouty cable dude -- that it makes a person yearn for those halcyon days of 2008 when Hillary Clinton could be relied on to toss back boilermakers with coal miners while riding a mechanical bull in a yellow pantsuit. Truly, 2016 can't come soon enough.