1. She hasn’t made up her mind yet — indeed, far from it. People who have spoken to Clinton about her future and, importantly, who have spoken with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, are not ready to bet on odds any greater than 50:50 that she decides to run. In fact, Clinton discourages speculation within her inner circle not by swearing them to omerta but by simply laughing off the possibility that she needs to make a decision anytime soon. Clinton will be a private citizen soon after the inauguration. She will spend time traveling (without portfolio and for leisure), she’ll read, see movies, and get plenty of sleep. It will be her first break in years. From this period of mindfulness a wellspring of different possibilities might emerge. Retirement is one of them. She’s earned it. …

4. Clinton is not unbeatable. This is heresy to some Democrats, but it’s true. For one thing, general elections concentrate partisan minds. Her approval numbers WILL decline, and when they do, that decline will provide momentum for a narrative that will dog her throughout any presidential campaign: Is the Old Hillary (the Clinton-era Hillary) giving the New Hillary (the Obama-era Hillary) a reputation problem among working class white voters? This is a false narrative, because there is only one person running, and she is the sum of all of her experiences. Her coalition is not Obama’s, although there is plenty of overlap. Clinton may not be able to achieve the turnout among African Americans or younger voters that provided President Obama with his margins of victory in several key states like Ohio and Florida. If I had to guess, however, whether women will vote for the first female president in record numbers… well, I don’t really have to guess. It’s self-evident. Damn right they would. That said, even the best of politicians can make gutter-ball mistakes, and if the Obama administration mucks things up and doesn’t pull the economy out of its doldrums, then voters will rightly wonder whether electing another Democrat, even someone as beloved as Clinton, makes sense.