Saturday, November 5, 2011

Truly Outside the Box

I read an interesting, though as the writer suggested, out-of-the-box idea this week.  It was written by Scripps Howard New Service columnist/editorial writer Dale McFeatters, and suggested that the Republican Party’s best hope for defeating President Barack Obama is none other than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who just happens to be a Democrat.  Really?

McFeatters goes on to note that a Time magazine poll had her topping all leading GOP candidates by an average of 22 points.  But all this would mean Secretary Clinton would have to switch parties and do it quickly if she were inclined to take part in the not-to-distant primaries.

The party switch wouldn’t be the first for her.  In 1964 she was a volunteer for the late Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater in his unsuccessful bid for the White House, and in her college days at Wellesley she was a member of the Young Republicans, a group of Rockefeller-types, and was a supporter of the late mayor of New York, John Lindsey.  She was also a supporter of former U.S. Sen. Edward Brooke, a Massachusetts Republican.

It is said that her ideology changed during the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War, and she jumped onto the bandwagon of the late Sen. Eugene McCarthy, D-Minnesota.  She even embraced the ill-fated candidacy of Sen. George McGovern, D-South Dakota, an outspoken critic of the war in Vietnam.  Actually it was Richard Nixon who pushed her over the edge to the Democratic Party, because of the way he chastised Nelson Rockefeller and the 1968 GOP convention's alleged racist messages.

There is no question Clinton has a strong following eager to right what it believes was a wrong when she was denied the White House by Democratic Party leaders who favored Obama.  And there is little doubt these supporters would be on board quickly should she choose to launch a campaign.  But switch back to the party she abandoned?  I doubt it.

But since we’re talking outside the box here, how about this: Hillary Clinton as an independent candidate?  Now that’s what I call really thinking apart from the mainstream.
Foolish thinking?  Maybe, but consider the following.

Secretary Clinton has no financial backing to jump quickly into the primary races, though she certainly has a following that would come to her aid in time.  She is married to one of the more popular former presidents since FDR, William “Bill” Clinton, who labeled himself the comeback kid.  And, lets face it.  None of the GOP candidates to date are loved by the Bush family, which has demonstrated a great fondness for Bill Clinton.  Romney?  He's shaping up as the hold-your-nose and vote pick.  Herman Cain?  Yeah, like that will happen.  Rick Perry?  Please.  There are limits to reason.

Clinton has viewed her self as, in so many words, a fiscal conservative and social liberal.  And as U.S. senator from New York, she demonstrated an uncanny ability to work successfully across party lines.  Let's not overlook also the fact that she is known and highly regarded worldwide.  Not a bad asset for a president.

An independent candidacy would allow time for the dust to settle on the two major parties, and avoid the costly and probably unsuccessful primary wars.  And as things are shaping up now, we’re headed for one of the more boring presidential elections ever between Obama and whomever the GOP anoints as its flag-bearer…probably Willard Mitt Romney.  Secretary Clinton has openly called herself a morally and fiscally conservative and a social liberal.  Nothing wrong with that.

Outside the box?  Sure.  Way outside.  But maybe, just maybe it is time for a different approach to government, one that only a true independent can offer. 

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