What Now For Hillary?
Is it the VP slot? A place in Obama’s cabinet should he win? A Senate Majority Leader position?
My best guess is she won’t get the VP slot. It makes sense for electoral reasons (nearly 35 million votes when you combine their totals), but would really undermine Obama’s change message and may bring the anti-Hillary vote out in droves. Still he is supposedly a pragmatist, so that could be the first compromise (but I certainly hope not).
As far as the cabinet goes, she doesn’t really fit there as it diminishes her voice to just one topic. Also, the only place that would seem fitting given her campaign’s theme is Health & Human Services, but I think it’s doubtful that Obama will let her touch the nuts and bolts of that proposal.
So that leaves the Senate Majority Leader position, and that does make sense for a lot of reasons. She can help the President set the agenda, be a voice for her home state, always be in the limelight and potentially set herself up nicely for a 2016 bid.
However, the Wash Post gives us a few thoughts on how likely getting that Senate Majority Leader spot is…
The climate on Capitol Hill has changed considerably in the 18 months since Clinton began her presidential campaign. The Senate leadership path that she had once viewed as a viable alternative is now all but blocked. Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) has gained clout in his role, and he will grow even more powerful if Democrats succeed in expanding their narrow majority in November by up to half a dozen seats.
Reid’s deputies, Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin (Ill.) and Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.), also have enhanced their status in recent months and are quietly laying the groundwork to succeed Reid whenever he decides to step down.
“Within the caucus, there’s strong support for Senator Reid, and those who speculate otherwise don’t understand the Senate,” said Durbin, who was the first senator to endorse Obama. When Clinton returns to her old job, assuming she does not win the nomination, Durbin added, “she will be an important part of the future. But I can’t tell you that anyone has approached me, or anyone in the caucus, with any specific suggestions about what she would do.”
Is Reid really that popular? Really? Because from where I’m sitting, he doesn’t seem to be setting the political landscape on fire. And forgive me for being so shallow, but he’s always seemed exceedingly dull and prone to throwing really weak, petty salvos at the competition. Still, I’
So where does that leave Hill?
One would be to champion a major piece of legislation, such as the health-care bill Obama has promised early in his first term.
A member of three prominent committees, Clinton remains a junior member on all three panels and does not stand to become a committee chairman for at least another decade.
But another option would be to assume the chairmanship of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a demanding but high-profile post that is an appointment by Reid. Sen. Robert Menendez (N.J.) is a potential successor to Schumer, who has led the committee for four years, but Democratic sources said Clinton could get the job if she wanted it.
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.) pointed to the late Hubert H. Humphrey (D-Minn.) as one example of life in the Senate after a losing White House bid. A senator in the 1950s and ’60s, Humphrey became vice president in 1965 and then narrowly lost to Richard M. Nixon in the 1968 presidential election. He won another Senate term in 1970 and returned as the most junior member. “He realized he could command an audience anywhere in the world. He threw himself into the issues. He had the time of his life,” Leahy said.
On the other hand, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.) returned to the Senate after his failed 1988 presidential bid and became a formidable voice on both the Judiciary and Foreign Relations committees.
I don’t know about you, but none of those really sound high profile enough for her. Rightly or wrongly, the Clintons always like to stay in the spotlight and my guess is she’ll be vying for that Senate Majority Leader spot if Obama wins.
In other words…watch out Reid!