Janet Napolitano, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was coy this week when asked about her Presidential ambitions in 2016.
The former Arizona Governor — beloved by Democrats for checking off all the right Pavlovian, heuristic boxes (she’s a woman; she appears “tough,” she had political success in a traditionally Republican western State) that often fuel low-information voting — has already received early buzz as a possible 2016 stand-in, should Hillary Clinton decide not to run.
The Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard explains Big Sis may appeal to moderate Democrats who’ve historically wanted a “centrist” candidate:
Some Democrats are excited about her potential candidacy because of her ability to win often in Republican Arizona and because she has been progressive in pushing for immigration reform. She also presents a non-nonsense, law and order demeanor attractive to independents.
As governor, Time Magazine in 2005 called her one of the best in the nation. “Positioning herself as a no-nonsense, pro-business centrist, she has worked outside party lines since coming to office in January 2003 to re-energize a state that, under her predecessors, was marked by recession and scandal.”
Napolitano deflected questions about a Presidential bid Tuesday at a Washington, D.C., breakfast gathering:
“I think my plate is so full right now that I think that contemplation would be the kind of thing that would keep me up at night,” she said. “And I lose enough sleep as it is.”
So is she saying there’s a chance?
From outside the mainstream media, the idea of Big Sis as President may look risible. But one thing Napolitano might have going in her favor is her potential appeal — depending on how her Department enacts the current President’s efforts at border and immigration reform — to the growing demographic of Hispanic voters.
Those voters overwhelmingly swung left in the 2012 general election, and they will likely to continue favoring Democratic candidates until Republicans figure out a way either to capture a chunk of the Latino vote or relegate their bloc voting power by cultivating other voting blocs to offset the numbers.
One question: If and when she leaves her DHS post, will Big Sis take all her bullets with her, or will she leave them for her successor?