Thursday, August 03, 2006

Reed's master stroke

The man from Searchlight, Nevada seems to have made another cunning move. Steve Clemens of The Washington Note has sources that say that Senator Harry Reed offered Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton the Maj./Min. Leader's desk in 2008, claiming to be ready to give it up. I bet having to deal with all those egos especially going into 2008 when something like 5-10 Democratic Senators think they will be president (none of them will be) will be aweful.

But this offer makes sense for both Reed and Clinton (and Democrats generally), that's why it is a master stroke. For Clinton, she gets to turn down running for president, something she personally isn't that interested in. Clemons explains: "Reports are that Senator Clinton herself knows this [that she has a high unpopularity rating which will make it difficult to win, especially against popular McCain] 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." That is the most believable part of the story-- that Bill is dying to run again, as is her staff. Hillary loves the Senate it seems, and gets along well with conservative Senators, a skill necessary for being an effective a Democratic Leader. She also must like the fact that she is doing well where he husband never did, in the legislative branch. Bill ran for Congress in the mid-70s and was trounced. After that, he decided to go the AG-Gov-Pres route.

Hillary is dying to prove that she is her own person, that she isn't just Bill's wife. And even if she was to run for president, how many stories or mentions would there be about the First Gentleman? Bill loves the spotlight and would steal it from the first woman president, before and after the election.

This deal also would be great for Reed. He gets to spend more time being a king maker in Nevada, a crucial early state now in the 2008 Democratic Presidential Primaries. Right now, Edwards has a big edge with his links to hotel unions in Las Vegas, but if Reed were to endorse someone else, things could change fast. Reed also would get credit from all 2008 condenders for getting rid of their toughest competition. By falling on his sword, Reed would become even more powerful in a strange way. All those Democratic Senators would owe him, even Dodd might let Reed sink into the Whip position and give up hopes of gaining the Leader's chair.

To quote CNN's Bill Schneider, "Our political play of the week" is Harry Reed's overture to Hillary Clinton. Another deft move from the old boxer.

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