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Condi vs. HillaryThe Next Great Presidential Race
By Dick Morris
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2005 Dick Morris
All right reserved.
Setting the Stage
"I, Hillary Rodham Clinton, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, so help me God."
On January 20, 2009, at precisely noon, the world will witness the inauguration of the forty-fourth president of the United States. As the chief justice administers the oath of office on the flag-draped podium in front of the U.S. Capitol, the first woman president, Hillary Rodham Clinton, will be sworn into office. By her side, smiling broadly and holding the family Bible, will be her chief strategist, husband, and copresident, William Jefferson Clinton.
If the thought of another Clinton presidency excites you, then the future indeed looks bright. Because, as of this moment, there is no doubt that Hillary Clinton is on a virtually uncontested trajectory to win the Democratic nomination and, very likely, the 2008 presidential election. She has no serious opposition in her party. More important, a majority of all American voters -- 52 percent -- now supports her candidacy.1
The order of presidential succession from 1992 through 2008, in other words, may well become Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton.
But if the very thought of four -- or perhaps even eight -- more years of the Clintons and their predictable liberal policies alarms you; if you see through the new Hillary brand -- that easygoing, smiling moderate; if you remember what a partisan, ethically challenged, left-wing ideologue she has always been, is now, and will always be, then you can see what the future holds.
That 's exactly the kind of president Hillary Clinton would be.
But her victory is not inevitable. There is one, and only one, figure in America who can stop Hillary Clinton: Secretary of State Condoleezza "Condi" Rice. Among all of the possible Republican candidates for president, Condi alone could win the nomination, defeat Hillary, and derail a third Clinton administration.
Condoleezza Rice, in fact, poses a mortal threat to Hillary's success. With her broad-based appeal to voters outside the traditional Republican base, Condi has the potential to cause enough major defections from the Democratic Party to create serious erosion among Hillary's core voters. She attracts the same female, African American, and Hispanic voters who embrace Hillary, while still maintaining the support of conventional Republicans.
This is a race Condi can win.
And Hillary cannot offset these losses of reliable Democratic constituencies with other voting blocs. White men don't like her. That won't change. And there is nowhere else for her to pick up support. It 's simple: With Condi in the race, Hillary can't win.
The stakes are high. In 2008, no ordinary white male Republican candidate will do. Forget Bill Frist, George Allen, and George Pataki. Hillary would easily beat any of them. Rudy Giuliani and John McCain? Either of them could probably win, but neither will ever be nominated by the Republican Party. These two are too liberal, too maverick, to win the party's support; their positions are too threatening to attract the Republican base. Jeb Bush? Too many Bushes in a row make a hedge. He's not going anywhere. And Austrian-born Arnold Schwarzenegger can't run. In the next election, none of the usual suspects can stop Hillary. Without Condi as her opponent, Hillary Clinton will effortlessly lead the Democratic Party back into the White House in 2008.
There is, perhaps, an inevitability to the clash: Two highly accomplished women, partisans of opposite parties, media superstars, and quintessentially twenty-first-century female leaders, have risen to the top of American politics. Each is an icon to her supporters and admirers. Two groundbreakers, two pioneers. Indeed, two of the most powerful women on the planet: Forbes magazine recently ranked Condi as number one and Hillary as number twenty-six in its 2005 list of the most powerful women in the world.
As Hillary and Condi emerge as their party's charismatic heroines, they seem fated to meet on the grand stage of presidential politics. These two forces, two vectors, two women, and two careers may be destined to collide on the ultimate field of political battle. Two firsts in history. But only one will become president.
The year 2008 could, at last, be the year of the woman -- indeed, the year of two women. Suddenly, the timing is right. Eighty-five years after the Nineteenth Amendment gave women the right to vote, the planets seem suddenly aligned to challenge history. American voters are surprisingly ready for a woman in the White House. Public opinion is rapidly settling into a consensus that a woman could actually be elected president in the next election. For the first time in our history, a majority of voters say they would support a woman for president. In a May 2005 USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll, an amazing 70 percent of the respondents indicated that they "would be likely to vote2 for an unspecified woman for president in 2008."3
What a revolutionary shift in thinking! No major American political party has ever nominated a woman for president. And only one woman has run for vice president -- Democratic Party nominee Geraldine Ferraro in 1984. But now there are two star-crossed, qualified, and visible women who may be presidential contenders in 2008. And the voters like them both:4 53 percent of those questioned in the May 2005 survey had a favorable opinion of Hillary Clinton, while 42 percent rated her negatively. Condoleezza Rice fared much better: 59 percent liked her and only 27 percent didn't.
Hillary Clinton has always wanted to be the first woman president of the United States. Shortly after her husband's election in 1992, the couple's closest advisers openly discussed plans for her eventual succession after Bill's second term. Of course, things didn't turn out quite that way; Hillary has had to wait a bit. But her election to the Senate in 2000 gave her the national platform she needed to launch her new image -- the "Hillary Brand,"5 as we called it in Rewriting History -- and begin her long march back to the White House.
Excerpted from Condi vs. Hillary by Dick Morris Copyright © 2005 by Dick Morris. Excerpted by permission.
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