Clinton, as she showed then and has shown since, is not one to walk away. She embodies that all-American quip about the going getting tough and the tough getting going. But I just hope that there are those, somewhere in her entourage, who are even now begging her not to do it, and to bow out while there is still time to do so with grace.
Reality must be looked in the eye. Clinton is a hugely divisive figure, including within her own party – and not primarily because she is a woman. There is the clan question. What does it say about the meritocratic credentials of the United States that two of the most favoured candidates for 2016 are closely related to recent presidents? Neither is to blame but in my book, this alone would be a reason for both Clinton and Jeb Bush to leave the field. It is also a reason why they may not be electable.
Then there is the Bill question. A large section of the Republican party hates the Clinton name with the same venom that many Britons reserve for Margaret Thatcher, blaming Bill, as they see it, for defiling the presidency. This should not affect Hillary Clinton’s support – but it will limit her ability to appeal across parties. Nor do US voters need to be dragged all over again through the intricacies of the (loss-making) Whitewater land deal, the involvement of the Rose Law firm, or the suicide of a close aide, but they probably will. And if these Bill questions are not enough, there is another where she really does have some explaining to do: it concerns her involvement with his post-presidential charitable fundraising at a time when she held public office.