I can't imagine being in Hillary Clinton's shoes right about now.
At her news conference last week, she really did look like the cat that swallowed the canary when asked about the reports that Barack Obama was considering her to be his Secretary of State.
If offered, would she dare turn it down? That depends on where she thinks her power base is higher and what puts her in a better position to run in 2016 (I can't believe that even Hillary would take on Obama in 2012, though you know nothing is impossible!)
In truth, her Senatorial position isn't that high profile, other than the fact that she is one of only a handful of women there (17 out of 100 -- roughly the same percentage of women in other high profile positions like women law firm partners and large business owners). Plus, her comparatively junior status and her current committee assignments don't give her a lot of clout there, compared to more senior Senators.
But if she stays in the Senate, she's IN Washington and can try to have sway over the agenda. She'll be in the Senate chamber and in the DC spotlight, something that won't be shining on her if she has to be jetting off to the Middle East or Afghanistan.
So, if Hillary's ultimate goal is to run for President again, does accepting the slot as Secretary of State get her where she needs to be? If she becomes part of the Obama cabinet, a candidate Hillary would be tagged with being the equivalent of another Obama administration against the GOP.
So even though my initial reaction to the speculation of a Madame Secretary title for Hillary Clinton was that it was a brilliant and inspired move, I'm now wondering whether the Clintons' pride and their wish for more Clinton legacies allow her to say yes, if offered.
If she accepts a still-pending offer, Hillary would have to make the calculation that she'd be OK with Secretary of State being her last stop on her political adventure. Can she make a mark on her own in that position such that she would be judged more in her own right than if she was President, which, if she was ever elected, would mean daily -- no, hourly -- comparisons with her husband? Now that's a quandary worthy of a 3 a.m. phone call.
The British newspaper The Guardian claims that Hillary already has accepted the position, but nothing is being reported here other than that Barack Obama's people are still vetting her (and Bill).
Some people think it's a lock, but I say the fat lady hasn't sung on this one yet. One thing I am sure of -- Hillary has a plan. She always has a plan. And I'm not sure this step is in her playbook.
Joanne Bamberger is a political and media analyst and writer based in Washington, DC. She is the editor-in-chief of the political blog, PunditMom. She is also a Contributing Editor of Politics & News at BlogHer.
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