THE OTHER DOLE

It must be a slow news day. NYT is breathless that Elizabeth Dole is keeping a low profile in the Senate, following the path of a certain Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Elizabeth Dole — twice a Cabinet secretary, the wife of the former Senate majority leader and a former presidential candidate who ran a primary campaign against George W. Bush — is perhaps the most famous member of this year’s new Senate class. When she took her seat in January, the expectation in Washington was that Mrs. Dole, already well schooled in the ways of the capital, would quickly assume a high profile. Instead, the North Carolina Republican has gone underground, everywhere but in her state. She seems to be following the path of another well-known senator with a prominent husband, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mrs. Dole demurs at the question.

First off, it is only technically true that she “ran a primary campaign against George W. Bush.” As I noted yesterday, she dropped out of that race well before the New Hampshire primary; she essentially didn’t run. And she was Secretary of Labor and Secretary of Transportation. Quick: Who’s the current Secretary of Labor? Most freshman Senators are former congressmen or governors; it’s hardly likely that they’d have been awed by a former minor Cabinet official whose presidential campaign never got off the ground. Furthermore, it’s hardly news that she is playing it smart. She’s a consumate political pro.

So, why is this news, exactly?

FILED UNDER: Iraq War
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.