The result of my unscientific investigation culminated in a commentary published by the Orange County Register entitled, "Democratic women want more Gore." After interviewing nearly 150 women coast to coast that summer, my skepticism was confirmed. In part, here's what I wrote seven years ago:
Dick Morris, the former Clinton strategist, knows a lot about politics. He recently created a stir when he wrote in the New York Post, "If Hillary runs for president, she will bring out single women in unheard-of numbers. Those extra votes will be hard to offset. Hillary will not so much win more support from the electorate that turned out in 2004 as she will expand the electorate in ways that the Republicans cannot hope to match."
I don't know what cloud Morris is on because I just spent the better part of the summer asking 148 Democrats one critical question: Whom do you want to head the ticket in 2008? Much to my surprise, not one person said Hillary Clinton. I say "surprise" because I only talked to women.
If Clinton is out, then who's in? The majority (53 percent) said John Edwards, followed by Evan Bayh (26 percent). The rest of these Democrat women were divided among Mark Warner, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold. (Interestingly Barack Obama's name never came up!)
Nobody mentioned Al Gore, until I did. Then, without hesitation, they all replied, "Me, too."
Today, Hillary Clinton's name continues to be mentioned as her party's presidential nominee in 2016. This time around I'm a believer, and here's why: She is a woman. Not just any woman. Hillary Clinton is a very, very qualified woman.
These aren't just partisan Democrats I have been talking to in 2013. No, some are Republicans and some are Independents.
According to the Washington Post, Hillary Clinton took to a Toronto stage in June before about 5,000 supporters, many of them women and many looking for a hint that she might run for president -- and she gave them one.
“Hypothetically speaking, I really do hope that we have a woman president in my lifetime,” Clinton said coyly, making an implicit nod to the history she might make herself. “Our country,” she added, “has to take that leap of faith.”
If I had to guess, I'd say New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd is ready to take that leap.
In her Aug. 11 column, "Madam President," Dowd reports that, "While President Obama seems drained and disgusted at the idea of punching through the Republican blockade that awaits him on his return from Martha’s Vineyard, he told Jay Leno that Hillary 'had that post-administration glow' when they met for lunch recently."
And speaking of the Republicans, their party is on the war path, ready to scalp anyone interested in airing Hillary's life story. Witness the GOP's recent obsession with NBC and CNN. National party chairman Reince Priebus boasts that whichever outlet airs a Clinton docudrama will not be allowed to host any of the 2016 Republican primary debates. Really?
I don't know about you, but I think this Priebus mandate smells like a moldy birth certificate being waived around at a Tea Party convention. Sure, it will fire up the GOP insiders during the primaries, but it won't translate to the rank and file during general election.
Check your internals, Reince. A growing number of Republican women want a female to be the next President of the United States. Since the GOP doesn't have one of their own waiting in the wings, this leaves only one person standing.
I can't wait for the 2016 election to begin.
Freidenrich is a writer based in Laguna Beach, California.