May 3, 2014

JAMES TARANTO: Dear Tina: A journalist writes an advice column for Mrs. Clinton.

Tina Brown doesn’t think Hillary Clinton should run for president. In a column for the Daily Beast, the website’s founder and former editor lays out her rationale.

Does Brown disagree with Mrs. Clinton on matters of policy or doubt she would be a good president? One assumes the answer is no, though the column doesn’t say. Nor does Brown offer a more coldly political rationale–say, that Mrs. Clinton would be unlikely to win, or that a different candidate would better enhance the long-term fortunes of the Democratic Party.

Brown sums up her argument as follows: “She should forget it. If she wins, it’s too much stress for too little return.” By “return,” Brown means nothing more than “personal benefit.” By forgoing a campaign, Brown writes, Mrs. Clinton “can have her glory-filled post-presidency now, without actually having to deal with the miseries of the office itself.”

That advice is very precisely targeted. Of all Americans constitutionally eligible to serve as the 45th president only seven other than Mrs. Clinton have the option of a “post-presidency”: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, George H.W. and Barbara Bush, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama. As far as we know, none of them are considering a run for the presidency or any other public office. And of course Mrs. Clinton has already been a part of her husband’s post-presidency for more than 13 years.

An obvious question is why Brown offered this advice publicly instead of in a private conversation with Mrs. Clinton.

The real message is to the Democrats: You’d better have a Hillary alternative ready!