But should she do it? Would the bravest and best decision be for her to skip it? In the 2008 campaign the chronic negativity of the ladies and gentlemen of the press was relentless, and the gouging of Hillary was wholly unrelated to either her record or her behavior. It was just that her story had gotten old. It required new angles, or, heaven forbid, new facts, to make it interesting—whereas Barack Obama was a story that wrote itself.
The first black president was a hotter plot line than the first woman president. Bad luck for Hillary. Obama stole her exceptionalism, leaving the press only with the hair, the alleged cackling laugh, and the over-familiar back-story, which meant dogging Bill around, hoping he’d lose it once in a while. (He obliged.)
I joined the Hillary bus for a Newsweek story in 2008 I was fascinated how little attention in their copy the traveling reporters actually paid to anything she said when she got out. They were too busy filing recaps of blogs by commentators who weren’t there. Suddenly there would be media uproar about some killer soundbite from Hillary that someone had gotten traction for that in context wasn’t controversial at all. Remember that shit-storm when she said MLK’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act?
The LBJ library in Austin just spent a week celebrating that very same point of legislative history in April, but ginned up with a bit of screaming about how King had been dissed. It led the news then with a new Hillary-as-racist meme that went on for a week. Five years later the ADD of the political press corps has only deepened.
Does Hillary really want more of this? Being president you may have more power than anyone else in the country, but you quickly discover that you have much, much less than you thought you’d have going in. You’re hamstrung in ways you never dreamed of. That’s truer now than it’s ever been. It’s not that you can’t get anything done. It’s that what you can get done is so paltry compared to what you wanted and expected to get done. You are doomed to disappoint the people who elected you. You’ll disappoint yourself. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg of stress that awaits you.
So knowing all this, why indeed would Hillary run? It’s now clear that given the vile toxicity of the campaign experience and the grueling gridlock of the Oval Office itself, the only reason to run for the highest political office in the land is not the presidency but the post-presidency. The post-presidency, as Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton have proved, is a win-win. Money, Nobels, the ability to leverage your global celebrity for any cause or hobbyhorse you wish, plus freedom to grab the mike whenever the urge takes you without any terminal repercussions. No longer being President does wonders for your morale. Even the Bushes have seemed happier out from under it. Big George went parachute jumping. Little George medicates memories of his Iraq mistake by painting not-bad pictures.
Source: The Daily Beast | Tina Brown