A future President Clinton?

Pundits are already beginning to wonder if Chelsea might be the next family member to run for office.

Published February 27, 2008 5:32PM (EST)

The punditry's obsession with the Clintons might not ebb when and if Hillary fails to win the Democratic presidential nomination. It might just reattach itself to a new Clinton.

Wednesday morning, having already declared Hillary's presidential run all but over, National Review blogger Kathryn Jean Lopez anointed another Clinton as a political candidate. Lopez expressed her fondest hope/deepest fear in a post titled "My Clinton Prediction":

"When the House of Clinton falls next week, their exit from the presidential stage will not be the last we see of the Clinton family. Chelsea will return to do her parents' unfinished business in a few decades time. And she'll prove to be more Bill than Hillary in the political-skills department."

Lopez's prediction was only the latest in a week's worth of prognostications about Chelsea Clinton's future career as a politician. Of course, the fact that Chelsea has never expressed any interest in running for public office hasn't stopped the speculation.

Lopez's post comes in the wake of Lloyd Grove's lengthy profile of Chelsea in this week's New York magazine. Like Lopez, Grove seems to all but declare Chelsea's intention of running for office, though Grove acknowledges that Chelsea avoids speaking to the press and has never stated that she has any interest in becoming a politician.

In the piece, Grove suggests that Chelsea has inherited the best aspects of both her parents:

"Chelsea is in many ways the ideal amalgam of her parents' political talents -- as Bill Clinton himself put it once, 'She has her mother's character and her father's energy.' Somehow, this product of two of the most adored and loathed politicians in recent history turned out well-adjusted and yet also incredibly, unmistakably like her parents. Like her father, Chelsea is, in fact, a big flirt (not something her mother is known for). Approached by a tall model-handsome college jock at the University of Utah, she literally batted her eyelashes at him. 'Hell-o!' she said in a Mae West tone before posing for a snapshot with him."

Grove also sees Chelsea's decision to participate in her mother's campaign as evidence that she may be more interested in politics than she's publicly letting on, writing, "Chelsea Clinton turns 28 in a few days ... and she is, at long last, plunging into the family business, moving from prop to propagandist."

Even smaller papers are getting into the act. An article in the Tribune Chronicle, a regional Ohio newspaper, included this observation in a piece about Chelsea Clinton's speech at Youngstown State University on Tuesday:

"Clinton, who turns 28 today, won over many in the audience, even those who remain undecided in the Democratic presidential race between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama. Several members of the audience complimented her, and one said Chelsea Clinton should change her mind and run for office herself.

"'Flattery, flattery, flattery,' Clinton said. Her personal political aspirations 'stop at having my mom be my president.'"

By Vincent Rossmeier

Vincent Rossmeier is an editorial assistant at Salon.

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