I’m thinking ahead. (Maybe I’m thinking too much. Is it possible to think too much?) Barring some unforeseen and bizarre chain of events, our next president will be either John McCain, Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama. Let’s look at things from each person’s perspective:
1. If McCain is defeated in November, he’s done as a presidential candidate. He’s already too old. He’ll be even older four years from now. (McCain will be 76 years old on inauguration day in 2013 and would be 80 by the time his first term ended.)
2. If Clinton is defeated by Obama, she will hope that McCain is elected, for that would allow her to run again in 2012. Why? Because if Obama beats McCain, he will be the presumptive nominee in 2012. While it’s not unheard of for a sitting president to face a primary challenge (think of Jimmy Carter in 1980), it’s unlikely. Clinton will be 65 years old on inauguration day in 2013 and 69 in 2017. Americans are not going to elect a 69-year-old woman to be their commander in chief. Maybe that’s sexist, but it’s true—and Clinton knows it.
3. If Obama is defeated by Clinton, he, too, will hope that McCain is elected, but not to the same extent as Clinton would, for he is younger. He’ll be only 55 years old on inauguration day in 2017. He can afford to wait eight years (two Clinton administrations) to run again.
What do you think? By the way, I’m assuming, for the sake of analysis, that Clinton and Obama care only about themselves. Things are complicated if they care about their party or their country as well.
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