Hillary Clinton’s five point plan for becoming President in 2016
As her term as Secretary of State comes to an end this week, Hillary Clinton steps off the American political stage with her popularity at an all time high. Having apparently survived her recent health issue unscathed, and being no older than Mitt Romney, she’s in an unexpectedly ideal position to run for – and win – the Presidency in 2016. But she’ll have to play it smart and remind the nation that she’s the Hillary who’s earned a seventy percent approval rating this year, and not the Hillary who couldn’t even secure her own party’s nomination four years ago against a newcomer. And she’ll have to fend off at least one potential challenger on each side. Here’s a five point plan for how Hillary finds her way into the White House in four years:
1) White a book, then disappear: Hillary Clinton only has one issue hanging over her, and that’s the fact that she’s stepping off the stage after having just gone through a very public brain surgery. She can’t allow health issues to be the last thing the public remembers about her before she leaves the cabinet. That means sometime around March, after President Obama has been re-inaugurated, and when she’s not stepping on his agenda, Hillary needs to hit the news circuit: The Today Show. The Tonight Show. Good Morning America. That way the public will see her fully healthy, smiling, and happy, and that’s how she’ll be remembered for the next few years. But she’ll need a proper excuse to do so, which makes now the right time to release a book. Not a tell-all about the Obama administration, as now is not the time to be divisive. Instead, a nice humble and cheerful book about leadership will do it. Then she needs to lay low and disappear, so she can re-emerge in 2015 as an energetic candidate. But that’s just step one in how Hillary will have to play things.
2) Become a grand old lady: By 2016, Hillary Clinton will be 69. That’s not old (Ronald Reagan was the same age when he took office), but it’s not young either. Advancing age can work wonders if it’s handled correctly. Bill Clinton becomes a more widely revered figure with each new wrinkle that appears on his face. But that’s because he’s played the aging process with grace and congeniality. Contrast that with John McCain, whose undying anger has marginalized him, fair or not, as a mean old man. Hillary didn’t win the 2008 nomination because she took an argumentative and perhaps hostile approach toward Obama, which caused him to come off as more likable. Her supporters were left squirming, and her haters had all the ammunition they needed to paint her as a shrew. When Hillary reappears on the scene this time she’ll have more strength among her supporters, and will be hated by fewer people (although still deeply hated by those who hate her), and must use that to her advantage by coming off as likable enough that her supporters come out of the woodwork and her haters have to resort to making up crazy things no sane person will believe. Majority wins, and your haters only get to vote against you once. She just has to make sure the majority feels good about supporting her this time.
3) Deal with Joe Biden: According to tradition, at the end of a two-term Presidency, the Vice President typically gets first shot at his party’s nomination the next time around. In this case would be Joe Biden. Those who’ve paid full attention to what he has to say know that he’s a brilliant outside thinker who merely misspeaks in bizarre ways sometimes, and is far removed from the doofus caricature the media has created out of those slip-ups. And he’s probably make a strong President. But Biden can’t win in 2016. Hillary certainly knows that. Obama probably knows it. Everyone in the country might know it, except for Joe Biden. In a primary race Hillary would easily outpace him to get the nomination, unless Obama throws the full force of the White House behind Biden. And while Obama and Biden are fiercely loyal to each other, Obama will probably have to be the one to break the news to Biden that for the good of the party, he can’t run. The question is how early in the campaign process Obama is willing to shut Biden down. Hillary could help that along by reaching out to Biden and making sure he knows she has plans for him. Don’t be 100% shocked if Hillary turns around and picks Biden as her running mate, although a cabinet position would seem more likely. Even once the democratic party is properly lined up behind her, Hillary will still have more work to do before becoming President.
4) Don’t be Sarah Palin: The last woman on a Presidential ticket turned out to be highly unintelligent, severely uninformed on the issues, and quite possibly insane. It’s entirely unfair that Hillary Clinton will even have to deal with the Palin factor, but those voters who don’t know if they’re ready for a woman in the White House may try to draw parallels between the two polar opposite women nonetheless. So while remaining congenial throughout the democratic primaries, once she’s got the nomination she’ll need to remind the nation of a few facts: she’s smart, she’s well versed, she’s level headed, and oh by the way, she arguably already ran the country from 1992 to 2000. But she’ll have to do all that without coming off as arrogant…
5) Position herself according to the opposition: Hillary Clinton holds positions on some issues which make her look like a liberal, and positions on other issues which make her look like a moderate. The reality of her nature is somewhere in between the two. There’s no need to pull a Romney by changing positions weekly depending on poll numbers. But she can position herself as one or the other simply by emphasizing her positions on certain issues. In 2016 she’ll most likely be running against either a moderate like Chris Christie, or an extremist conservative like Rick Santorum or Paul Ryan. If it’s the latter, then she merely needs to position herself as a moderate in order to gain the moderate and liberal votes. But if it’s Christie, she may need to position herself as more of a liberal so as to remind democrats that Christie is, after all, not a suitable choice for those who want the nation to move in a liberal direction.