Majority Leader Hillary

Majority Leader Hillary A friend passed along yesterday’s WSJ op-ed from former RNC chair Rich Bond calling on Harry Reid to offer Hillary Clinton his job as Senate Majority Leader as enticement to withdraw her divisive bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Only the proffer of this consolation prize would likely persuade Mrs. Clinton to drop her divisive, and now futile, quest for her party’s nomination.

Make no mistake — because of the increasingly bitter Clinton-Obama fight, the Democrats are poised to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Every political indicator points to a smashing Democratic win this November. Their presidential candidates have outraised the Republican field by a huge margin; 2008 turnout in Democrat primaries has almost doubled over the turnout in 2004; the Democrats’ congressional campaign committees are swamping their GOP counterparts in fundraising; a record number of Republican incumbents are retiring from Congress, opening numerous opportunities for Democratic gains; President Bush’s unpopularity continues at record highs; the war in Iraq remains unpopular; and the economy is in, or near, recession.
[Hillary Clinton]

Yet, because Mrs. Clinton continues to try to win what has become unwinnable, John McCain now holds comfortable leads over both Democrats for the first time in this race. In her selfishness and grandiose sense of entitlement for the presidency, Mrs. Clinton’s continued pursuit of the nomination threatens to tear asunder what could otherwise be a dream Democratic year.


So will Mr. Reid, like Henry Fonda in the 1964 film “The Best Man,” nobly put aside his own ambition for a greater good? If he considers all the facts, he might. Mr. Reid has to know that, in this most peculiar of election years, only one individual has the power to end the Clinton-Obama war, and that is he. If he voluntarily passes his position to Mrs. Clinton in exchange for her withdrawal, history will likely remember him as his party’s best man.

One wonders why Bond is so eager to help the opposition party out of what he describes as a burgeoning civil war. At any rate, it’s not exactly a new idea. Steve Clemons, for one, has been banging the Hillary for Majority Leader drum for almost two years. Jerid Kurtz posted a “rumor” in February that Reid would offer Clinton his job as a consolation prize if she pulled out after losing Ohio and Texas but, of course, she won Ohio and is perceived to have won Texas.

While I agree that the Majority Leader slot would be attractive to Clinton — especially since the Republicans show no sign of wresting the majority back any time soon — I’m skeptical that she’d be amenable to dropping out of the presidential race before Pennsylvania. If she wins there — no longer a given but still likely — it’s going to be hard, indeed, to persuade her not to stick around for Indiana and beyond. The rest of the states are primaries and most are demographically favorable. It’s true that she can’t win the nomination before the convention but, then, it’s incredibly unlikely that Obama can, either.

Now, if Obama does pull off the upset in Pennsylvania, Reid’s job might start looking like a soft landing. Until then, though, I expect Hillary will fight on.

Photo credit: The Washington Note

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Congress, The Presidency, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dave Schuler says:

    A better enticement might be to assert that if she doesn’t pull out she will never be majority leader. I think that’s actually a pretty good bet. IMO Senate Majority Leader is actually a better job than president.

  2. Leon says:

    That is exactly what the Democrats need as speaker that can lie, cheat, and most especially one that has experience in how to duck and cover from all that incoming. Please let her go back to New York and take Sir Bill with her.

  3. Chris Paris says:

    We have not recognized Hillary as the excellent leader that she is entitled to be. If only she would strike out for the position of president of the communist party she would finally find her birth right.

  4. jainphx says:

    Come now, no one can replace Sir Harry.

  5. DL says:

    Please – the image of Pelosi and Hillary leading the country is too much to bear.

  6. glasnost says:

    He’s pushing the idea because he thinks that Hilary Clinton would be more of an obstacle to any aggressive or progressive agenda set by Barack Obama, than would Harry Reid. He thinks that she would screw with legislation and make right-wing arguments just to hog credit, make life hard for Obama, etc.

    He’s probably right.
    It’s a poison pill. And it’s a pipe dream.

  7. DavidL says:

    If Mrs. Clinton were to stand for majority leader, which, if any, of her fellow democrat senators would actually vote for her? Dick Durbin? Chuck Schumer? Schumer been doing the heavy lifting since he has been in the Senate. I don’t see him stepping aside for his junior lighweight.

  8. If she wants to be president, Majority Leader isn’t an especially useful route, methinks. Indeed, I have mused about that question several times, including here.