The Hillary Chronicles
In the next installment of the Hillary Chronicles we have this...
Let's just get this out of the way now: She's running.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has a re-election campaign in front of her in 2006, but as far as many around her are concerned, the train has already departed for a destination two years farther out- the Presidency.
"She is going to focus on going for Senate and getting that out of the way, but the eye is always on the prize," a former aide to Mrs. Clinton told The Observer.
Mrs. Clinton currently is gearing up for her re-election with a campaign whose cost and intensity are taking on the scale of a national race. The first, slightly frantic fund-raising letters already have gone out, warning of coming Republican attacks. And a veteran national Democratic player, Ann Lewis, will start work at Mrs. Clinton's Washington, D.C., offices in January. Mrs. Clinton is on a path to finish her re-election campaign in November 2006 and- assuming she isn't the first New York Democrat in a century to lose a Senate seat- pivot swiftly toward the White House. A loyal circle of advisors led by her husband is urging her on, allies say, despite the doubts that some supporters will express privately.
And so the question isn't whether Mrs. Clinton is running for President. It's whether it's already too late to pull the brakes.
As I said in a previous post a week after the Presidential Elections, we're going to see a character transformation like none other with 4 years to do so. It's obviously already begun with her cutting from her party with her new immigration stance, obviously smelling the opposition's weakness on the issue, not to mention her new found love of the military, and stance against gay marriage.
The Washington Times recently ran a story arguing that she is "more conservative than President Bush" on illegal immigration- a notion which made the gleeful rounds of Fox News punditry, despite its being based on comments drawn from a year-old radio interview.
And while there's no real evidence of a rightward shift on immigration, Clinton supporters say the centerpiece of her drive toward the Presidency is a careful self-definition in the Senate, where she has carved herself a place to the right of where some of her allies, and her critics, might have expected to find her. (Though anyone who paid much attention to the eight years her husband was President might have been less surprised.) She supported the invasion of Iraq from a perch on the Armed Services Committee, for example, and opposes gay marriage.
Amazing eh? Naaaa... not really. Who would you like to see her run against?