Hillary Clinton

Maureen Dowd, called the most influential columnist in America by Vice President Joe Biden, has said “enough already” when it comes to questions of whether Hillary Clinton will run for president or not.

The answer, says Dowd, is clear -- she’s running.

Writing in her Sunday column, Dowd says, “It’s such a silly question. Of course Hillary is running. I’ve never met a man who was told he could be president who didn’t want to be president. So naturally, a woman who’s told she can be the first commandress in chief wants to be."

She memorably quotes James Carville, a key Clinton advisor for years.

“Running for president is like sex,” James Carville told me. “No one ever did it once and forgot about it.”

Vice President Biden wants the job she reveals, buthe’s a realist when it comes to Hillary.

“Joe Biden wants the job. He’s human (very). But he’s a realist. He knows the Democratic Party has a messianic urge to finish what it started so spectacularly with the election of Barack Obama — busting up the world’s most exclusive white-bread old-boys’ club. And he knows that women, both Democratic and Republican, want to see one of their own in the White House and became even more militant while listening to the G.O.P.’s retrogressive talk about contraception and vaginal probes last year. Also, Joe genuinely likes Hillary. These two have no appetite for tearing each other apart.”

Dowd says Hillary will definitely be in the field.

“As long as there are no more health scares — the thick glasses are gone — Hillary’s age won’t stop her. The Clinton...Hillary is a symbol and a survivor, running on sainthood. Ronald Reagan, elected at 69, was seen as an “ancient king” gliding through life, as an aide put it. Hillary, who would be elected at 69, would be seen as an ancient queen striding through life.”

Dowd says Hillary’s schedule since retiring from the State Department makes it clear she’s running.

“She was supposed to go off to a spa, rest and get back in shape after her grueling laps around the world. But instead she’s a tornado of activity, speaking at global women’s conferences in D.C. and New York; starting to buck-rake on the speaking circuit; putting out a video flipping her position to support gay marriage; and signing a lucrative deal for a memoir on world affairs — all as PACs spring up around her ...”

Hillary even has a new hairstyle, Dowd notes, “a sleek new layered cut that looks modern and glamorous.”

Dowd ask the pertinent question -- Has Hillary learned from her mistakes?

“Did she learn, from her debacle with health care ... Did she learn, after voting to support W.’s nonsensical invasion of Iraq without even reading the intelligence estimate ...”

Dowd refers to Hillary’s dark side, "...This is the side that causes her to make decisions from a place of fear and to second-guess herself. It dulls her sense of ethics and leads to ends-justify-the-means wayward ways. This is the side that compels her to do anything to win, like hiring the scummy strategists Dick Morris and Mark Penn, and greedily grab for what she feels she deserves.”

Her challenge, Dowd concludes, is "to add fresh people and perspectives and leave a lot of the nonsense of the past behind.”

And America’s top political columnist will be watching.