Tzipi Livni continues to be coy about her political future, refusing to commit to joining another political party and working under another politician, but providing regular commentary on her Facebook page. This isn’t benefiting anyone. If I were an advisor to Livni, this is what I’d tell her:
You need to be more far more realistic. Let’s be honest, you weren’t the most inspiring politician out there, and you weren’t the most successful party leader. But you are popular, you can be firm in your convictions, you have ideas, and your name carries cachet. And you’re being courted by both Labor and Yesh Atid.
I realize you aren’t interested in taking a secondary or tertiary position to others, but face it: you’ve lost your political base after you left Kadima and politics. You don’t have a political vehicle for returning to the game. Drop the delusions of grandeur and don’t sulk: you’ve got a real opportunity here, and you need to seize it.
Think of Hillary Clinton. She lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama. She could have left politics and the party, but she accepted the position of Secretary of State—with responsibility for foreign policy but still subject to the overall guidelines from the president, her former political enemy. She may indeed still harbor political ambitions. But by agreeing to join the government she not only came across as interested in the greater public interest, she built herself up as a serious candidate should she decide to re-engage for the nomination.
Let’s take a page from her playbook. Yesh Atid and Labor are both polling well, under the circumstances, and you didn’t lose an electoral contest to either of them. Labor, especially, under Shelly Yachimovich is rebuilding itself, and there’s a good chance it’ll be in a strong position both in the coming election and the next one.
If you lend your name to one of these parties, it will strengthen that party, the political opposition (necessary for a strong democracy), and your own position for the future. You’ll also be close to the top, so you’ll have influence.
If you don’t pick a party, you’re taking yourself out of the game. While Israeli politicians often do come back after being away for some time, the political game is changing, with new faces, new tactics, new priorities. Get in now, while you can.