Three days after Governor Palin’s resignation announcement, the news cycle is still transfixed. All sorts of speculation and commentary on Sarah Palin’s political future. The media and pundit interest is so enormous that the news is driven not by facts or new information but by speculation and “commentary”. And not even on the basis of interviews with Palin herself or anyone close to her.
Compare that with the attention paid to Hillary Clinton the most popular and charismatic woman (and second most popular and charismatic person) in the Democratic party. Remember that she won the most populous states in the primaries and came within two-tenths of a percent of beating Obama in the (estimated) popular vote.
In December President Obama announced Clinton as his pick for secretary of state. The most popular, powerful woman in the Democratic party resigned her senate seat in midterm. A senate seat not from a small population state like Alaska, but the third most populous state in the Union. And Clinton is heir to the Clinton political dynasty to boot.
How much coverage was given to Clinton’s political future and what giving up her senate position and becoming secretary of state would mean for her presidential aspirations? Did it drive the news cycle for even one day–let alone three days? There were comments, but they quickly died away in the excitement of Obama and Clinton teaming up to make the Obama administration a success.
Has there been any real political focus on Clinton since she became secretary of state other than the odd story about her breaking her elbow or having to smile through the State Department’s reset button goof? Consider a low key piece in May by CNN’s Jonathan Mann who raises the question of Clinton’s presidential prospects and almost as quickly waves it away with a stunningly unjournalistic view that Obama is president now so there’s not much use in thinking about a presidency after his.
“And Hillary isn't the only Clinton who's gotten quieter. Bill Clinton remains one of the most popular figures in American politics, but these days, he's barely seen. He hasn't ceded the spotlight to Hillary; they have both backed away from it, in favor of Obama.
“Why? For nearly two decades, a Clinton was either running for president or holding the office. Now, neither of them is. Hillary Clinton tells reporters she loves her new job.
“And even if she still wants to be president, Obama has that job for the foreseeable future.”
But Obama’s current presidency doesn’t stop raging interest in and speculation about Sarah Palin’s presidential prospects.
The media is treating Clinton like it treated Nixon after 1960–ignoring her as a presidential prospect. And treating Palin like it treated Reagan after 1976–pooh-poohing and berating her as a presidential prospect. Will history repeat itself with a surprise similar to 1968 or 1980?
Cross posted at The Next Right