Hillary Rodham ClintonSecretary of State Hillary Clinton said this weekend that she won’t run for President again.

Now, I know that even unequivocal statements can always be changed, but if Hillary means what she says, then who is our best hope for another woman to run for President in our lifetimes?  Sure, Sarah Palin is out there trying to build up her public relations image, but I can’t help wondering if there are other women who have the dynamic combination of experience, drive and ego – you can’t say you want to become the leader of the free world without a healthy portion of ego – to take on the challenge.

Things are always in a state of flux in the world of politics, so no matter what she says today, even if it sounds like Hillary has made up her mind, it isn’t written in stone (or in that glass ceiling with the 18 million cracks).  But if, as she says, she’s looking forward to retiring someday and she doesn’t have a Clintons-take-back-the-White-House plan, then who can I, as a politically progressive woman, look forward to taking on the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue boys club before I’m in the rocker at the old folks home gumming my oatmeal?

One of my favorites, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm isn’t eligible since she was born in Canada.  I’ve often thought that Katheleen Sebelius might be a good contender — before becoming Secretary of Health & Human Services, she was a blue governor in the very red state of Kansas.  But I’m not sure how her current stint in the Obama administration will impact a potential White House bid.

Sure there are some women Senators and Congresswomen who could run, but to make a full-fledged attempt at the big prize, you need more than qualifications — over-the-top ambition is a serious prerequisite.  I’m having a hard time imagining another woman on the political scene these days who has that unbridled desire.

In a way, I hope Hillary will change her mind.  I’ll be really bummed if we don’t have a woman President before PunditGirl starts thinking about giving me grandchildren! Even if Hillary doesn’t run until 2016, it could still work.  After all, 69 is the new 49!