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If Obama looks as if he'll lose in 2012, what about Hillary Clinton?

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On the foreign-policy front, his successful decision to go after Osama bin Laden was gutsy. But throughout the Arab Spring he was indecisive. On Syria, he procrastinated before declaring that the murderous Bashar al-Assad should step down. On Libya, he led “from behind,” as one White House aide famously described it. We should all be grateful that no American lives were lost. But how many Libyan freedom fighters’ lives could have been saved by earlier US forcefulness?

If the unemployment figures are nearly as bad this time next year as they are now, Mr. Obama’s reelection to a second term may be problematic.
If his defeat seems inevitable, will Democrats contemplate an alternative candidate? If so, who?

There is already some whispering. The name “Hillary Clinton” crosses lips. Despite a flurry of denials and her protestations that she will retire at the end of 2012, the issue has been raised by reporters at White House press briefings and on TV networks such as Fox.

In the curious way we elect our presidents – so bemusing to many foreigners – Hillary Rodham Clinton got more of the people’s vote than Obama in the primaries: 18,223,120 to his 18,011,877. Neither candidate received enough delegates from state primary races and caucuses to reach a majority at the party convention, but “superdelegate” votes pushed Obama over the top.

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