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August 3, 2006
Walk, Don't Run 2006

According to the Washington Note, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has made Hillary Clinton an offer she will probably refuse. Reid, with his eyes on Clinton's negatives, has offered to step down from his leadership position in favor of Hillary -- as long as she pledges not to run for President in 2008:

Some high level Democratic Party political insiders have shared with TWN details of a potential shift in vectors for several of the major political stars in that party.

First of all, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, whom most give high marks for the manner in which he has stewarded the Dems in the Senate despite the absence of a clear Democratic Party chief, has sent private signals to Senator Hillary Clinton and other stalwarts of the party that he "would like to" step down from his post in early 2009. Reid has not stated definitively that he will -- but he apparently prefers "whipping" the Party from behind and the side rather than serving as commander-in-chief on the Senate floor.

What Reid is offering Senator Hillary Clinton is his total, robust support to succeed him as Senate Majority Leader if she elects not to pursue the Democratic nomination for President.

Many are realizing that the electoral map is not something one can wave a magic wand over and reverse the views of 42% of Americans who believe that they know Hillary Clinton well and have strongly formed views of her and will not vote for her under any conditions -- according to recent polls. Reports are that Senator Clinton herself knows this and that her own enthusiasm for running actually trails that of her husband, her advisors, and her staff -- whose enthusiasm for the race is ranked in that order with Hillary the least enthusiastic.

Imagine that -- Bill wants to get back to the White House, only this time without the bother of running things -- at least, not officially. Quelle surprise!

If true, it appears that the Democrats may have less enthusiasm than first thought for a Hillary bid. If Hillary has an enthusiasm problem, then Reid made the right call in proposing this face-saving alternative. She would provide a boon for fundraising and Republican GOTV efforts in 2008, just when the Democrats have a numerical advantage in contesting the Senate. A Hillary candidacy would have the same motivational impact on the GOP as a Jeb Bush run would with the Democrats.

My gut tells me that voters will want someone in the White House not named Clinton or Bush for the first time in 20 years come November 2008. The Democrats run the risk of Bush-Clinton fatigue if Hillary wins the nomination.

In an update, Steve Clemons notes that Reid strenuously denies this report. However, Clemons says he will stick with his sources.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 3, 2006 10:32 AM

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