Skip to main content

Hillary, don't run for president

By James Moore, Special to CNN
September 25, 2013 -- Updated 1359 GMT (2159 HKT)
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, pictured in October 2012, has become one of the most powerful people in Washington. Here's a look at her life and career through the years. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, pictured in October 2012, has become one of the most powerful people in Washington. Here's a look at her life and career through the years.
HIDE CAPTION
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Photos: Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Photos: Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
Hillary Clinton's career in the spotlight
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
51
52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • James Moore: Hillary Clinton is brilliantly qualified to be president
  • Moore: But it is time for America to move on to a new generation of leaders
  • He says age is an important factor; do we want another Clinton dynasty?
  • Moore: Hillary can make a gracious exit; U.S. should look forward rather than back

Editor's note: James C. Moore, a Texan, is a business consultant and partner at Big Bend Strategies. He is co-author of "Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential" and a TV political analyst.

(CNN) -- Don't run, Hillary.

Nobody is saying the former secretary of state, New York senator, U.S. and Arkansas first lady, and Yale-trained attorney is not qualified for the White House. In fact, she may have one of the most impressive résumés to ever be submitted for the job. Clinton has a breadth of experience that indicates she has every capability needed to be president of the United States.

But it is time for America to move on.

James C. Moore
James C. Moore

The first argument against another Clinton candidacy is generational. Baby boomers need to release their arthritic fingers from the torch of leadership and pass it off to another generation. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama will have accounted for 24 years of the presidency by 2016, which seems more than sufficient. Clinton's election potentially extends boomer influence in a manner that risks creating a generation gap that further increases political disaffection among young voters.

Age is another important consideration, regardless of howls of outrage on this question by her supporters. Clinton would be 69 when she raised her right hand for the oath of office. She would be the second-oldest person to become president -- younger than Ronald Reagan by several months.

The pressures of the White House amplify the afflictions of time. Arguably, an optimal president combines an earned wisdom and natural intellect with the residual energy of youth. No one does this by turning 70 during their first year as president, which would be Clinton's status.

How long can Hillary Clinton wait?

Although doctors pronounced her perfectly healthy after a recent scare with a blood clot on the brain, the probabilities of geriatric disease in office are very real for someone who might be 77 at the end of a second term.

Hillary Clinton's hidden hand
Clinton 'wrestling' with 2016 run
Obama, Clinton join forces at conference

Reagan's comportment during his last years suggests that he had already begun moving behind the veil of Alzheimer's. This is not ageism. An accumulation of years defines our range of capabilities, physically and intellectually, and the Clintons as well as the nation need to confront the question of whether a person in their mid-70s is the best to serve as president. The obvious answer is no.

There is, nonetheless, no underestimating the cultural importance of the first female president and the glory it will bestow upon history's grandest democracy. The Democratic Party, too, will have an interest in being the political organization that gave the country its first female as well as African-American presidents.

Clinton, who is properly positioned with experience, has other challenges that impede her getting a chapter in future textbooks as the first woman in the Oval Office.

America is weary of limited political choices and dynasties. A second Clinton presidency might culminate in 28 years of Clinton-Bush control. We are, more than ever, a nation that desperately needs to renew itself with what is different and hopeful and visionary. Unfortunately, there is too much that is predictable with a second Clinton candidacy.

No one needs a time machine to look into the future and see the grainy video in TV attack ads with a baritone voice rattling on about Benghazi or mumblings about how her husband enriched himself by accumulating a net worth of $55 million since leaving office.

Hillary on possible presidency: 'I'm realistic'

"Don't the Clintons have enough?" the voice would ask. "And hasn't America had enough of the Clintons?"

In spite of the fact that Clinton's accomplishments as secretary of state are significant, including diplomatic efforts that averted a war between Israel and Hamas, she is likely to be forced to endure campaign onslaughts accusing her of character flaws for forgiving her husband's indiscretions, which means the electorate probably has to endure at least some painful flashbacks.

This is not, however, a recommendation to back away from a fight. Clinton has proved that her political knuckles are toughened with gristle, and she can skillfully marginalize absurd allegations from her opponents. Instead of running and winning a fierce campaign, there might be a more honorable endeavor for the former secretary of state.

There is always a right moment to leave the stage, and failing to recognize that timing can lead to a lingering image that, in the longer term, overwhelms the accomplishments of a person in the prime of their powers.

Hillary Clinton can make a gracious exit. Yes, she has every right to run for president and is brilliantly qualified for the job. That does not mean, however, she is the best person at this time in America's narrative.

There is also nothing inexorable about anyone's presidential candidacy, regardless of how vehemently it is argued by Clinton's backers. Presumptive candidacies, which appear initially like logical choices that are the consequence of devotion and hard politics, often tend toward failure. The Dole, McCain and Romney nominations, presumed candidates with generationally disconnected politics, have sundered the GOP's power for possibly decades.

Running for president because it is expected and seems like an obvious decision are clearly not the right motivations.

Clinton's service to her country has already transcended even the starry-eyed youthful dreams she shared with her husband. Beyond her time in office as U.S. senator, and as secretary of state, and as counsel to Bill during his presidency, the namesake foundation she leads with her husband and daughter is having a profound impact in this country and internationally, facilitating education, health care and nutritional programs. That nonprofit needs her guidance and initiative.

America, though, is ready for different choices representing a new generation for president.

Don't run, Hillary.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of James C. Moore.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1653 GMT (0053 HKT)
Jeff Yang calls Ello a wakeup call to Facebook and Twitter, and a sign of hope for fast-rising upstarts Pinterest and Snapchat.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2248 GMT (0648 HKT)
Paul Waldman says the Secret Service should examine its procedures to make sure there are no threats to the White House--but without losing the openness so valuable to democracy
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2049 GMT (0449 HKT)
Jesse Williams says the videotape and 911 call that resulted in police gunning down John Crawford at a Walmart reveals the fatal injustice of racial assumptions
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 2303 GMT (0703 HKT)
Mel Robbins says officials should drop the P.C. pose: The beheading in Oklahoma was not workplace violence. Plenty of evidence shows Alton Nolen was an admirer of ISIS.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1911 GMT (0311 HKT)
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, William Piekos says..
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1911 GMT (0311 HKT)
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, writes William Piekos.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1413 GMT (2213 HKT)
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits America, Madeleine Albright says a world roiled by conflict needs these two great democracies to commit to moving their partnership forward
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1404 GMT (2204 HKT)
John Sutter: Lake Providence, Louisiana, is the parish seat of the "most unequal place in America." And until somewhat recently, the poor side of town was invisible on Google Street View.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says in the run up to the 2016 election the party faces divisions on its approach to the U.S.'s place in the world
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1419 GMT (2219 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says Common Core supporters can't devise a new set of standards and then fail to effectively sell it.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1329 GMT (2129 HKT)
Earlier this month, Kenyans commemorated the heinous attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1859 GMT (0259 HKT)
David Wheeler says Colorado students are right to protest curriculum changes that downplays civil disobedience.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 0158 GMT (0958 HKT)
Sally Kohn says when people click on hacked celebrity photos or ISIS videos, they are encouraging the bad guys.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1155 GMT (1955 HKT)
Loren Bunche says she walked by a homeless man every day and felt bad about it -- until one day she paused to get to know him
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1332 GMT (2132 HKT)
ISIS grabs headlines on social media, but hateful speech is no match for moderate voices, says Nadia Oweidat.
September 29, 2014 -- Updated 1233 GMT (2033 HKT)
A new report counts jihadists fighting globally. The verdict? The threat isn't that big, says Peter Bergen.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 2137 GMT (0537 HKT)
Ebola could become the biggest humanitarian disaster in a generation, writes former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1658 GMT (0058 HKT)
ISIS has shocked the world. But will releasing videos of executions backfire? Four experts give their take.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
Eric Holder kicked off his stormy tenure as attorney general with a challenge to the public that set tone for six turbulent years as top law-enforcement officer.
September 26, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
LZ Granderson says Obama was elected as a war-ending change agent, not a leader who would leave behind for his successor new engagement in Iraq and Syria. Is he as disappointed as the rest of us?
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0910 GMT (1710 HKT)
Gayle Lemmon says the question now is how to translate all the high-profile feminizing into real gains for women
ADVERTISEMENT