Today, we know Clinton’s party affiliation but we do not know her political intentions. And until we do, there is no campaign.
But it is more than that. She’s the favorite for the nomination — can there breathe a soul who does not know who she is and what she has done? — and so dominating a figure out of power, out of the public eye and out of the nastiness of today’s politics, that she has no incentive whatsoever to weaken her position by dipping back in.
How long could this last? As long as she wants it to, and she very likely will want it to last a very long time.
Why? The longer it lasts, the less time her putative opponents have to build organizations in Iowa and New Hampshire, still the indispensable first two steps toward a presidential nomination, and the less money the other potential candidates will have collected as the first voting nears.
But perhaps most important, the longer it lasts, the less opportunity for O’Malley and a half dozen others will have to build support and even name recognition.
“She’s the most qualified candidate in the field and perhaps in a long time,” former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in an interview, comparing the depth of Clinton’s preparation to that of George H.W. Bush, who had served in the House, as director of the CIA, as a diplomat in China and as a two-term vice president when he ran for president in 1988. “I dearly hope she runs. Here’s someone immensely ready — and she happens to be a woman.”
But there’s no hurry. In this case they also serve (their own purposes) who stand and wait.
North Shore native and Pulitzer Prize winner David M. Shribman is executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.