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TAUBE: Hillary in 2016

She puts magpie tongues wagging again

Is Hillary Rodham Clinton going to run for president in 2016? It’s far too early to tell at this stage, but while most observers are predicting she’s going to head into the sunset, there are early indications that she may be thinking otherwise.

After a few months out of the public spotlight, Mrs. Clinton made two public appearances last week that got a few tongues wagging.First, she spoke at the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards in Washington, discussing accessibility to education for young girls and reducing domestic violence. Then, she addressed the Women of the World summit in New York. She said if “America is going to lead the way we expect ourselves to lead, we need to empower women here at home to participate fully in our economy and our society. We need to make equal pay a reality. We need to invest in our people so they can live up to their own God-given potential.”
Simon & Schuster Publishing Group also confirmed Mrs. Clinton would be writing a memoir based on her time as secretary of state. Even though she has written four books in the past, the timing of this particular project is eye-catching.

All of these things happening at the same time could be a mere coincidence, of course. If you truly believe this, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that’s currently for sale at a dramatically reduced price.In my view, Mrs. Clinton is seriously thinking about running for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. After all the scrutiny she deservedly faced during the Benghazi hearings, and after being hospitalized for a blood clot last December, I didn’t think she would run. While she may decide against it in the end, her political radar now seems focused squarely on the White House.What could have changed her mind? President Obama’s glowing endorsement of her “discipline, her stamina, her thoughtfulness, her ability to project” during their joint “60 Minutes” interview in January could have been a motivating factor. A Quinnipiac University poll in February showing she’s the most popular U.S. politician — ahead of prominent figures from both parties, as well as the president — couldn’t have hurt, either.

I think there are other reasons why she may choose to run after Mr. Obama’s second term. They could be used to counter the president’s horrendous political and economic positions.

While Mrs. Clinton is obviously a liberal, her liberalism isn’t cut from the same cloth as Mr. Obama’s. She is a Democrat who likely would have accepted bailout plans of the financial and auto industries, but not to the same degree and with the same zeal as Mr. Obama. She is a Democrat who would likely have blamed the Republicans for supporting tax cuts, but wouldn’t have made the same excuses for record unemployment levels and irresponsible fiscal spending. Moreover, she is a Democrat who likely would have withdrawn troops from Afghanistan and Iraq, but wouldn’t have shied away from the term “war on terrorism” or proposed establishing relations with rogue nations and totalitarian states.

Mrs. Clinton obviously isn’t the type of presidential candidate that conservatives, libertarians and other right-leaning individuals would want in office. That being said, she’s different enough from Mr. Obama and other potential Democratic presidential candidates to appeal to liberals, centrists, independents and even some disgruntled Republicans. This the type of core support she is banking on.
For potential GOP presidential candidates like Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, Mrs. Clinton would serve as an immediate political threat.

She would be attacked immediately for Benghazi, supporting the Kyoto Accord, reserved praise for free markets and private enterprise, and strong defense of the United Nations. After a few years away from the Obama White House, though, it will become more difficult for Republicans to associate her with any present or future political and economic problem. The further away she is from possible controversy and failure, the better her chances are to represent herself as an experienced and independent presidential candidate.
Additionally, Mrs. Clinton has one other important trick up her sleeve. Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, is still viewed in a positive light by many Americans. Like it or not, he’s a huge asset to have on the campaign trail — and would win her many votes that would ordinarily go to the GOP.
Mrs. Clinton may, therefore, be looking at Mr. Obama’s next four years to determine her next four years. If she enters the race for the White House in 2016, all bets are off.

Michael Taube is a former speechwriter for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a contributor to The Washington Times.

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