Monday, October 08, 2012

October Surprise: Bill Replaces Hillary

If he can persuade Bill Clinton to be Secretary of State in his second term and announce it, Barack Obama would serve the nation, improve his reelection chances, give the Senate Tea Party a confirmation headache and open a new chapter in the nation’s most engrossing psycho-political family drama. 

Let’s take a deep breath to parse the multiple meanings of “if.”

Hillary Clinton has made it clear she will resign after four years of success. No one mentioned so far, certainly not John Kerry, has the stature to take her place.

Bill Clinton does. As the most popular figure in American politics, he is doing what he can to help Obama’s reelection. But with a debate debacle now clouding the prospects, every assurance that the nation would be in good hands during a second term is needed. The Comeback Kid could signal that by putting his body where his mouth is.

A Secretary of State Bill Clinton would be under no pressure to follow the 24/7 traveling tenure of his wife. Over time, the Grey Eminence model in that post has served the nation well, and a former President could have world leaders coming to court him, leaving the heavy lifting of constant coming and going to top assistants.

Senate confirmation hearing could sell more tickets than the Jon Stewart-Bill O’Reilly debate to see Mitch McConnell and his Tea Party cohort twisting themselves into knots to impugn the appointee’s qualifications.

Beyond all those benefits for the body politic, a reversal of roles in the Clinton marriage would be irresistibly fascinating. After decades of emerging from her husband’s shadow, Hillary Clinton could take over the Global Initiative while readying for a 2016 run at the White House. His cabinet service would help prepare him for the role of First Gentleman.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should reveal my last big proposal for a presidential campaign in 1952 when, as a voluntary speech writer for Adlai Stevenson, I suggested that Eisenhower might end the military draft as an October surprise.

Two days later, Stevenson called for discontinuing it and was pounded by Republicans as being soft on defense. Ike won the election and ended the draft. But that’s politics, isn’t it?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Your mouth to God's ears.