Hillary Clinton is running for president in 2016.
This is neither confirmed by aides close to the former Secretary of State nor guaranteed by scientific evidence. But I've got a pretty good feeling she will. And, after scoping the political atmosphere in D.C. and mixing in a few recent events pertaining to the White House turnaround, it's getting clearer every day.
Here are four reasons "Capitol Hillary," as I liked to call her in the Senate, is one step closer to steering the executive branch.
1. The Anthony Weiner scandal will play in her favor. Even though the presidential election is still three years down the street, campaign season begins way earlier. And Weiner's sexting, whether or not Carlos Danger becomes New York City's newest mayor, will remain on people's minds through a vital proxy: his wife, Huma Abedin. Abedin will no doubt return to Clinton's side as deputy chief of staff if she decides to go for it, and during speaking engagements all the public will be able to see is the poor pregnant woman on whom Weiner cheated with activist-turned-porn star Sydney Leathers. The sympathy is involuntary, even if you don't know Abedin personally. That's a huge plus for a campaign trying to sway voters who currently see Clinton as "D.C. establishment."
2. The Democratic Party is in desperate need of a celebrity candidate. Democrats, by historical precedent, never win presidential elections in succession of each other. The last time we saw back-to-back administrations touting donkey pins was in the 1960s, and the only reason Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded John F. Kennedy was an assassination. The same thing happened in the early 1950s when Franklin Roosevelt kicked the can in office and Harry Truman stepped up to the plate without any election necessary. Case in point: if the Democratic Party has any chance at reversing a historical trend dating back to the 1800s, it'll need a household name (controversial or not) rather than a boring ol' boob to do so. And Hillary Clinton is no boring ol' boob.
3. Her face is about to be plastered all over American television screens. You don't hear anyone ask, "Who is Hillary Clinton?" You do, however, hear very polar opinions about her political career, specifically as Secretary of State. Renewing coverage of the department's response to the Benghazi attacks in 2012 will be an easy feat for Republicans, who know that the diplomatic assault was one of the last major events to occur before her resignation less than five months later. That being said, it'll be equally easy for the Clinton campaign to control her narrative, though they won't be doing it directly. Both CNN and NBC are producing features based on Clinton's life.
CNN's movie will premiere in theaters next year before airing on the network's own channel, and NBC's four-hour miniseries is also set to run before the 2016 election. And, since executives won't want to inadvertently offend either network's general-interest audience, we can assume the features will be pretty objective, focusing on Clinton's human side rather than on her policies. This barstool effect (i.e., "I'd really like to get a beer with her one day!") will boost her campaign in the same way Weiner's sexting will affect Abedin, and it will only be enhanced by the free advertising space the features will get on TV.
4. She's "in" with the current administration. Fret not that Clinton and Obama were bitter rivals preceding the 2008 election. The president gave her a cabinet post and they've been friends ever since. The pair sat down for a quick lunch last week, and, even though it's clear no explicit endorsement is in the works any time soon, these interactions are subtle hints to donors that the relationship is strengthening. Obama organizers are still lined up to continue tapping the Democratic keg, eliminating a costly and time-consuming campaign phase that Clinton would otherwise need to do alone.
Oh, yes. She'll announce soon.
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