APRIL 1, 2012

An open letter to

Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton

You may yet be called to serve your country as President of the United States.  But you first need to carefully reflect on the state of the union, a luxury that your grueling schedule as Secretary of State simply has not afforded.  When you are able to think it through fully, we hope you will agree with the majority of centrist democrats who now believe that further association with President Barack Obama is toxic.  We all remember your “when the white house phone rings at 3:00 AM” campaign piece.  It was prophetic.  We hope you remember it, as well.

POTUS addressing the world – note the surrounding vacuum

So far you have avoided the worst of this damaging association through your demonstration of independent foreign policy leadership. In an administration more characterized by leading from behind, your personal, independent contributions as the diplomatic face of the United States are seen as evidence of your leadership, not that of a weak executive.

You have inherited a legacy that will serve you well – if you still choose to embrace it.  You are part of a tradition of foreign policy toughness, common sense compassion and fiscal prudence. You saved your husband, Bill Clinton, from political oblivion when he was drifting to the left.  It was you who called in Dick Morris.  It was you who called POTUS back to the creative, collaborative center, and rescued a presidency.  In the opinion of many centrist democrats, the current occupant of the White house is beyond rescue.  He is no Bill Clinton.

Some of us strongly believe that the worst possible outcome for the country and the Democratic Party would be for Mr. Obama to win a second term.  No one should be deluded that such a scenario would end well.

If Mr. Obama is able to inflict as much damage in the next four years as he has to date, no democrat who has not dissociated him or herself from this administration will be able to succeed this president.  We understand your dilemma.

Suppose you were to accept the nomination for the vice presidency.  Your best and probably only play for the presidency will not come for four years, after Mr. Obama is not reelected.  Better that you sit this one out. You have earned a break. In the unlikely scenario where Mr. Obama wins, you would not be saddled with the malign consequences of his next term.  If he loses, you will be perfectly positioned to run in the next cycle.

Your only viable “Vice President-to-POTUS” play depends on the unlikely scenario in which Mr. Obama does not serve a full second term.  You would be smart not to bet a career on that prospect, no matter what scandalous information about this president might be poised for release.

On Sunday, January 20, 2013, the president elect will face a daunting reality.  Among the challenges: a staggering US sovereign debt; deep structural underemployment; a wildly unsettled world economy; a powder-keg Middle East; energy cost inflation.  The odds are that any man or woman who assumes the office of POTUS in January 2013 will serve only one term.

History may yet call you to serve.  But not this year.


Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

Speaker Thomas Phillip “Tip” O’Neill

Copyright 2012 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

{The Policy Think Site –}  —

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