What if Hillary doesn’t run for president in 2016?
I don’t agree with everything Maggie Haberman says HERE, but it’s food for thought:
For Democrats, there is no fallback: It’s Hillary Clinton or probably a long bout of depression ahead of 2016.
With expectations hitting a fever pitch three-and-a-half years out that Clinton is running for president again, every move she makes – a video endorsing gay marriage, a coy line about supporting a woman president – moves the excitement a notch higher. So too do endorsements from former critics – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, among others.
Democrats openly describe their surprise at seeing such consensus around a candidate so early. The hope of retaining the White House in an open-seat election is very real — and the letdown that will set in among Democratic activists and operatives will be very deep if Clinton takes a pass on a campaign, as she may well do.
She has said she has yet to make up her mind, but few in the party believe that. The Clintons’ ambition and the chance to make history as the first female president, they figure, will overpower any reticence about another grueling campaign or spending her golden years carrying the burdens of the world’s weightiest job.
But if they’re wrong, there is no obvious replacement. And the party would be looking at a mad scramble to fill the Clinton void.
“We would be at sea in a lifeboat with no food, no water, and no land in sight,” said one veteran Democratic operative who has worked on presidential campaigns, and who, like most people interviewed for this story, asked for anonymity to speak candidly about the former first lady. “There is no Plan B.”
It would be, the operative said, a “gut punch” to the Democratic party.
A blogger who calls himself BooMan DISSENTS from Haberman’s theories:
I have my problems with Hillary Clinton, and I have my problems with most of the likely alternatives to Hillary Clinton, but the idea that there are no alternatives is idiotic.
For starters, we have Vice-President Joe Biden. He might not be able to beat Clinton in a primary, but the premise here is that Clinton won’t be running. I’d argue that Biden is in a stronger position both with the base of the party and with the country at large than the Iran-Contra-embroiled Poppy Bush was at the outset of the 1988 campaign. Obama’s coalition is still bigger than Clinton’s, and Biden’s loyalty will be rewarded.
Whatever you think about him, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo would be a formidable and well-funded candidate. I can’t think of any sitting Republican governors from the last two cycles who were as well-situated as Cuomo will be if Clinton doesn’t run.
Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley would be a serious candidate who could easily hold together the Obama coalition in the event he secured the nomination.
Progressives would probably rally behind Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, who might be a sitting U.S. Senator by 2016. That makes it unlikely that he will run for president, but one never knows. He has the potential to expand the Democrats’ appeal in the West and among some of the more libertarian-minded folks, while simultaneously invigorating the base of the party.
I don’t think Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick should be underestimated. Nor should Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York or Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. While I’m now getting down into long-shot territory, all of these candidates make a mockery of the 2012 Republican field, and they seem superior to flawed candidates like Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, or Marco Rubio who are currently being discussed as 2016 candidates.
I think people recognize that Hillary Clinton has the potential to be a complete game-changer in terms of how large of a victory she could pull off. That has a lot of people salivating, hoping that she might have enormous coattails. But it looks right now like we can beat almost any Republican with almost any Democrat, and we have a huge bench while the Republicans appear to have an empty cupboard.
If I thought the GOP base was capable of picking a Mitch Daniels or a Jeb Bush or a Jon Huntsman, I’d be more worried. But they want nothing to do with such squishy candidates.
The Democrats will be just fine if Clinton doesn’t run, and most of us know it.