The underlying question about Hillary Clinton's chances of becoming president in 2016 boils down to a few simple questions. Is she tough enough to do whatever it takes to win the election? More specifically, and infinitely more fun, is Hillary as ruthless as, say, basketball star LeBron James?
James used his free-agent freedom and bolted from his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers in 2010 because he reckoned that he'd have a better chance of winning the NBA championship. He proved to be quite savvy. In his four seasons in Miami, the Heat won two titles and made the NBA Finals in all four seasons.
But last season, cracks showed in the Heat's armor and the two-time defending champs were routed in the Finals by the San Antonio Spurs. James, again a free agent with the world at his feet, recognized that it was a team in decline in Miami.
Meanwhile, his hometown Cavs were apparently on the verge of contending for a championship, with him in the lead. So, James jumped back to Cleveland, announcing his decision last week. Naturally, long-suffering Cleveland sports fans were jubilant.
Meanwhile, Miami is heartbroken and bitter. James might as well have shrugged and told them, them's the breaks, Sunshine State.
James proved himself to be the ultimate opportunist.
So, the next question becomes, Is Hillary just as opportunistic? Is she willing to make tough choices?
Hillary has effectively been running for president for so long that it has practically been her self-appointed full-time job. She fell short the last time, in 2008, because she encountered a foe, in Sen. Barack Obama, who outflanked and outsmarted her.
He used the Internet shrewdly. He proved to be more telegenic than anybody had been since John F. Kennedy. He gave stirring speeches and represented hope for the future.
Now, the coast is clear for Hillary Clinton. Nobody with Obama’s charisma has emerged, in either political party. Victory appears to be hers for the taking, right?
But she has to earn it. She has to show the voters that she is more than a figure head running around saying, I want to be your president.
Right now, you might say, Hillary Clinton is applying for the position of U.S. president. Her vetting process is being conducted on every television news channel in the world. And anyone who has ever gotten a demanding job knows what quality finally put you over the top: your toughness. You demonstrated that you can criticism, adversity, and hardship and still keep your eyes on the prize.
LeBron was all but burned in effigy when he left Cleveland four years ago. Of course, it had to bother him but the two championship rings that he earned in south Florida made it all worthwhile. And now he is getting a chance to redeem himself, all over again, in Cleveland.
Hillary has a chance to redeem herself, too, in the buildup to the 2016 election. How tough is she? How opportunistic can she be? We’re about to find out.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Matrix blog for Indiewire.com. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution." Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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