Could Hillary mount a primary challenge to Obama in 2012?

Richard Carter | 10/12/2012, 4:17 p.m.
"One of the most beautiful ladies I ever met, I met in the rain. High...
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"One of the most beautiful ladies I ever met, I met in the rain. High heels and wet pavement..."-John Hoyt, "Brute Force" (1947)

In two of last weekend's biggest political stories, Black businessman Herman Cain trounced frontrunner Rick Perry in Florida's important Republican presidential straw poll, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is said to be reconsidering a run for the GOP nomination in the wake of urging by the likes of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Both developments could spell trouble for Barack Hussein Obama in 2012.

Another, perhaps bigger story is the intriguing rumor that has Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pondering a possible primary challenge to Obama. Why? The president's plummeting poll numbers, the terrible economy and growing discontent among Democrats-including some members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

For example, last month fiery U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) took Obama to task for ignoring Black communities on his ballyhooed bus tour. "We don't know why on this trip that he's not in any Black community. We don't know that. We want to give him every opportunity, but our people are hurting. The unemployment rate is unconscionable. We don't know what the strategy is," she said.

Making matters worse, a Sept. 23 USA Today-Gallup Poll found that 56 percent feel Obama has been a worse president than George W. Bush, and 53 percent blame Obama for the bad economy-not Bush.

An early, positive sign for Clinton may have been the Republican win in New York's heavily Democratic 9th congressional district in a special election to fill the seat vacated by the disgraced Anthony Weiner. Said Democrat David Weprin, who was beaten by the GOP's Bob Turner: "I think the voters looked at it as a referendum on the president."

A few weeks ago, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin put it this way: "How's that hope and change working for you?"

And as former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson colorfully cracked in last week's Republican candidates' debate: "My next-door neighbor's two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration."

Thus, for the ambitious Clinton, the time may be right. Lest you think talk of a primary challenge for her is hot air, remember that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) did it in 1980, taking on ineffective sitting President Jimmy Carter. And don't forget Clinton was edged out by Obama for the nomination in 2008 only because she delayed challenging him with working-class whites. When she did, she won most of the final primaries. Additionally, a primary challenge to Obama "would be healthy for the party," said U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio).

Ex-President Bill Clinton slyly boosted his wife by criticizing Obama's economic plans: "I think everybody is confused about whether he's proposing all this stuff at once. I personally don't think we ought to be raising taxes or cutting spending, either one, until we get this economy off the ground. It's a dead-flat economy."