By DALE McFEATTERS
Scripps Howard News Service
June 01, 2005
One day you're helping out a laidback, aw-shucks guy from Texas who mangles the language and the next day you're Scott McClellan, White House press secretary.
The trick is to get in early. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton is the consensus favorite for the 2008 presidential nomination, but she's already surrounded by a strong staff and she can draw on a ready supply of her husband's former aides.
On the Republican side, there are Sens. Bill Frist and John McCain. But Frist's candidacy hasn't even left the dock and already it's shipping water, and there hasn't been a Senate majority leader in the Oval Office since Lyndon Johnson. McCain has problems with the Republican right, which is terrified that if nominated he'll win.
Jeb Bush might be a possibility. Apparently the family always felt that he, rather than George, would be president. Jeb has said he won't run in 2008 but political promises have a fixed shelf life. He has that whole Florida thing working against him - hanging chad, Terri Schiavo, Cuban-American pander.
What you need is a candidate with top name recognition and no baggage. Someone like first lady Laura Bush. Don't think people haven't thought about it.
On CNN's "Larry King Live," Laura intimate Lynne Cheney said, "You know, people are thinking of Mrs. Clinton running for president. I think Mrs. Bush ought to run for president. If we want to have a Bush dynasty, let's get Laura Bush."
Does that have trial balloon written all over it or what?
In case anyone missed it, Vice President and George intimate Dick Cheney said, "It's a great idea. And I think I know who would win."
Even the Brits have noticed. An article in The Independent speculating on Hillary's plans said, "There is also this: what about a third President Bush? Or, to be more precise, what about President Laura Bush?"
You think the voters wouldn't go nuts over "Bush-Clinton II: Hillary vs. Laura"?
Lately, first lady Laura who tended to keep out of sight during the first term is now adopting a much higher and more policy-oriented profile. She recently finished a five-day Mideast trip that featured some serious diplomacy. She addressed the World Economic Forum, thus establishing some gravitas. And she gave a well-received speech to the White House correspondents' black-tie dinner that showed she has a wicked and occasionally ribald sense of humor. As a further credential, she pointed out that unlike her husband she can pronounce "nuclear."
If she wants to make the big leap, she has a ready-made political apparatus at her disposal and the country's best political strategist in Karl Rove. And thanks to Hillary, there's precedent for abandoning one's final year of first lady duties to go off and run for office.
As for the dynasty thing, consider: If Laura Bush can hold the office for two terms, her replacement will be inaugurated in January 2017. That means that the fast-living first twins, Jenna and Barbara, will have just turned 35, the minimum age for a president.
And what a campaign slogan: "They put the 'party' back in the Grand Old Party."
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