Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!
What is her next move? Why do we care so much?
Hillary is a two decades-long prime time reality TV series that keeps getting renewed as the ratings surge higher and higher, and the show’s fascinating characters evolve and become even more fascinating year after year. The show revolves around two complicated multi-layered personalities who have a special knack for re-inventing themselves as they morph seamlessly into yet another phase of their lives. We watch as they become richer, deeper, mellower, more lovable, more in love, highly evolved, and personally involved in “saving the planet.” The glue that bonds all the show’s characters together and whose ups and downs propel the storyline into the future is Hillary, who just happens to be secretary of state.
She is after all, the “Real Housewife of D.C.”
The 2010 season is especially enthralling with slow simmering plotlines that, when fully developed, should yield Super Bowl-like ratings during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The stage is set because likely voters think Hillary is more qualified to be president than the current president, 57% vs. 44%. As Obama is falling, she is rising. Even Hillary’s husband, a former president once impeached, is feeling the love with a 61% favorable rating.
These poll numbers are encouraging because Hillary and her husband have a score to settle left over from the 2008 season. But will they engage?
That is the question. That is the anticipation leading up to the 2011–2012 seasons, forcing us all to watch, even those who would never vote for her. The reality is the economy is bringing down the man who defeated Hillary and thus positioning her for a 2012 smackdown if she chooses.
Meanwhile, not a day passes without the buzz growing about Hillary possibly replacing Vice-President Biden on the 2012 ticket. The current storyline goes, how can Obama win without her? Then there is the foreshadowing of the will she or won’t she tease, Hillary for President 2012, with its first real TV commercial, recently created and paid for by a dentist:
(Don’t you just love the media age we live in, when dentists are making their own presidential campaign spots and it is widely reported as serious news in the Washington Post and on Drudge?)
How about Hillary as the next secretary of defense? She’d be the first woman to hold that office – so Hillary-like! That is a plotline from the Wall Street Journal that appeared all over media land.
Taking this episode one step further, there is a wild dream sequence when Hillary as secretary of defense stages a coup and the current secretary of defense becomes vice-president, but that segment may not make it on the air.
Perhaps more realistically, Hillary will just battle President Obama in the snows of New Hampshire for the 2012 Democratic nomination, with her “I Warned You” buttons.
Since Hillary engages all three branches of government, let’s not forget the judiciary, with Hillary replacing Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the next Supreme Court justice. The story being … the sooner Obama convinces her to don a black robe, the better his re-election prospects.
(Full disclosure, back in February of this year, I co-wrote a piece with Mark McKinnon called “Justice Hillary.” It appeared on the Daily Beast; needless to say it went viral because speculation about Hillary’s next career move is a national obsession.)
But for all these future plotlines to unfold there is the important global issue of how long Hillary will remain as secretary of state.
- Can she find a lifeboat off the Obama shipwreck?
- Will the ship sink faster if she leaves?
- Surely she has already calculated the optimal timing.
In retrospect, this is such a small problem for the star of the world’s most popular reality series.
For Hillary is an adventure heroine to millions of women. Her life is legend, and she has confronted and overcome much greater issues than when to leave her day job. Whether you personally like her or not, you have to admire her strong character and fortitude.
Just look at the record.
When her husband had some embarrassing issues at the office, she invented a new enemy: the vast right-wing conspiracy. This helped him fend off his detractors, and by all accounts it was she who successfully led the charge.
When that battle was over she dusted herself off, changed her hairstyle, put on a new pantsuit, and ran for the Senate in a major state she isn’t even from. She won of course and then six years later got herself re-elected.
By that time, Hillary naturally thought she deserved to be president since she had already “served” as co-president for eight years and senator for six, making her more qualified than that new guy who had been in the Senate for about a year.
But some unfortunate plot twists occurred. Senate friends turned against her, the media was unforgiving, her “brand” was perceived as old and tired (when compared to that fresh and exciting Obama package), and she went down swinging.
Along the way she cried on cue, downed shots of scotch, and answered the phone at 3 am. People who at one time despised her were all of a sudden cheering from the sidelines because she would not give up. But that was the 2008 season storyline, which is now ancient history.
However, her fans remember her strength and how she got shafted — and they have stayed loyal.
Hillary has been in the past and even more now an inspiration to millions.
She shows us how to fight for what you want, how to reinvent yourself and move on to something better.
People love the fact that when Hillary gets knocked down and humiliated in front of the world, she changes course, keeps forging ahead, and comes back more powerful each time around.
So watch out world, Hillary the series is far from over because Hillary has many more acts.
On a more personal note, since I am a conservative Republican, I would never vote for her because she is still at heart a liberal, big-spending Democrat. (The National Journal listed Hillary as the #16 most liberal voting senator in 2007 — Obama was #1.) But I admire her as a woman, a politician, and a diplomat. She is also a successful mother and now, at least on the surface, it appears she even has that husband of hers on a leash.
So if I were producing the 2011-2012 Hillary series, I would suggest Hillary not run for president (been there, done that). She should just proclaim herself queen.