Hillary Clinton is Poised to Strike in 2012. Will She?

11/03/2010 05:41 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In 1980, Ted Kennedy shocked voters by launching an insurgent campaign against his party's unpopular president, Jimmy Carter. Would Hillary Clinton dare?

If you're watching Sarah Palin, then your attention may be fixed on the wrong would-be female president.

Political addicts and analysts will be monitoring Hillary Clinton's behavior over the next few months. In particular, they'll be looking to see if she voices dissent against Obama's domestic policies, which are sure to be informed by the newly Republican House and the party's stronger presence in the Senate.

Next, they'll ask for her opinion on The Poll. The Poll, of course, is the impending media coverage on whether Democrats favor Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama and by what margin. Additionally, they'll be asked if they think Hillary Clinton, whose husband oversaw the largest expansion of jobs in U.S. history, would have done a better job with the economy.

We'll all be watching for an obvious sign: if Clinton resigns her post as Secretary of State. She will claim exhaustion as the reason, as she mentioned last year in a joint Newsweek interview with Henry Kissinger. If she resigns in early 2011, the reason will most certainly not be exhaustion.

How similar are Carter and Obama? Their presidencies are both marred by recession, they both installed solar panels on the White House (Obama's are going up soon), both supported nationally comprehensive healthcare and, well, they both bailed out Chrysler. Carter's approval rating was around 28% when Kennedy moved to unseat him. Obama's, according the Rasmussen Report, is roughly 46% today, due to the sizable economic woes of Americans and the administration's favorable treatment of Wall Street.

Obama's appointment of Clinton as Secretary of State can be seen as a cold-blooded political calculation, much like his dealings with Wall Street. You may have forgotten (and if you have, Peggy Noonan is here to remind you), but Obama's victory over Clinton was by no means overwhelming. Roughly half of Democrats voted for her presidential nomination.

For Obama, the Secretary of State appointment doubled as a prestigious position and a muzzle for Clinton. If you don't think so, why did he pass over John Kerry, the man who arguably launched his career at the Democratic National Convention in 2004, for the position? He brushed Kerry aside twice, actually, most recently on climate change. I'm sure Kerry would probably love to support a Clinton presidency.

The question is, would you?