Hillary in 2016? Not So Fast

Democrats can cheer and pundits can lay their bets, but it’s an awkward moment for political royalty like Mrs. Clinton.

Comments: 253

  1. If there were any powerful Democratic spokesmen or women on the horizon they would have spoken up by now. On the depressingly fair-and-balanced Sunday pundit shows, Republicans speak with the absolute certainty and conviction of shameless liars, while Democrats whimper and whine in rebuttal. No powerful Democratic voice has emerged. The closest we came was when Bill Clinton re-energized Obama's campaign, laying out a Democratic vision that Obama seemingly couldn't do. Such clear, down-to-earth talk is the antidote to Republican vitriol. Hillary may not be up to the task, but neither is any other Democrat.

    By design, Republicans have soured politics to such a degree that many people are likely to vote for change. I can't imagine voters returning a Republican to the White House, but an affable, humorous, disarmingly candid Christie might have a chance, especially against a less scintillating Hillary Clinton, a candidate who, after all, was derailed by Obama in 2008. The prospect of her being the first female president is a plus, but it may not be enough. Obama was the first black president, but apparently being first, although emotionally satisfying, is no guarantee of success.

    As long as political discourse consists of defensive whimpering by Democrats and mindless obstructionism by Republicans, it hardly matters who the candidates are. I don't know who will win, but I'm certain it's the American people who will lose.

  2. "On the depressingly fair-and-balanced Sunday pundit shows, Republicans speak with the absolute certainty and conviction of shameless liars, while Democrats whimper and whine in rebuttal."

    Oh yes indeed, and you point up an essential problem we liberals --I haven't abandoned the term, out of defiance to those who have caricatured it and made it toxic, although I may have to abandon it as I become increasingly radicalized-- face:

    By definition, we are reasonable people with a nuanced view of the world and we are up against people who speak exclusively in phrases that will fit on bumper stickers. "Tax and Spend" will always trump a windy discourse that opens with "Well, it's complicated; you see..."

    Somehow we need to learn how to speak succinctly and powerfully without selling our souls to the twin devils of demagoguery and mendacity.

  3. gemli, Boston

    If there were any powerful Democratic spokesmen or women on the horizon they would have spoken up by now

    I disagree. Throwing Hillary's name out now only serves Hillary.

    It is not the time for a democrat to emerge as democrats face some very rough times between the ACA launch and the budget negotiations. The party is about to undergo its own internal disruptions.

    A smart democratic candidate will wait.

  4. There is one voice that been heard, and one person who has made their mark since being elected to the Senate.
    That is Elizabeth Warren.
    She is a strong person, without the baggage that Hillary Clinton carries.
    She also has the distinction of being respected on both sides of the aisle. Something quite rare in this partisan age.

  5. Traditionally, parties have looked to experienced governors of large states where that party is dominant.

    The Democrats will have to pass on California because Jerry Brown is too old, Illinois because of widespread corruption, and Massachusetts because Obama has ruined the market for biracial hope and change. That leaves.......New York.

    The most likely Republican nominee might well be the governor of a neighboring state.

  6. There is always Sanders/Warren...

  7. Rima,

    Bernie could not head the ticket and as vice would guarantee Warren would lose.

    Not to mention he hasn't got the weight to handle the job.

  8. Tribes will never, ever support Warren. Never.

  9. What does it say that the nation picked Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton? What does it say that her numbers have tumbled? I think it is less indicative of disenchantment with her on a personal level, or related to job performance upon review, but more indicative of people's growing awareness of her associations over decades and disenchantment over their continued influence in Democratic politics.

    Larry Summers' complete rejection by the public is a symptom, in my opinion, of Mrs. Clinton's poll woes. Her deep ties and associations with people from the first Bill Clinton administration on to today's Obama administration, over time, will become more and more problematic. The appearance, through her associations, that she is more to the right than she is a progressive, will be a problem. The disenchantment with the decidedly right turn that congressional Democrats have allowed and some of the more spectacular concessions our president made, at times before negotiations even began, will be a problem for Hillary. In order to win the trust of Democratic voters, especially with a more moderate sounding Republican opponent (say, Christie) she will have to make specific campaign promises to middle class voters who got very little from the economic recovery. She will also have to be specific about what she will do to fix money in politics and the basis for current NSA policy.

    The left-leaning electorate won't just trust the same old people this time. That's a very good thing.

  10. Even the "dimmest of bulbs" understands viscerally that Larry Summers and Hillary Clinton represent the 1%. They are also coming to the realization that President Obama and Janet Yellen do too. As a result the President's numbers are going down faster than Hillary's numbers.

    It's not just a "Democrat thing" though. The Democrats are in control of a majority of the federal government so they receive most of the bad press for things like the A.C.A. Website. However it doesn't stop there. A few days ago a deranged person closed L.A.'s primary airport for most of a day.

    The rank and file public safety officers did a splendidly professional job in stoping what could have been a slaughter. However the Homeland Security officials and those that run the state of California as well as the city of Los Angeles demonstrated before the world that they never given the slightest thought about how to deal with the thousands of men women and especially children held prisoner by circumstance.

    As in Katrina the innocent were left to fend for themselves. The television images of hundreds of passengers walking down Century Boulevard towing their luggage behind them was yet another inditement of a system that never considers individual citizens as real and seems incapable of planning to care for their needs during or after an emergency.

    Contrast this with the images from the Blitz & Pearl Harbor of a different generation. Is it any Wonder that all government is down in the polls?

  11. Bernie Sanders? Same question.

  12. People keep harping on Chris Christie. Will someone please explain to me how the Republican primary voters, who have even mossbacks like Mitch McConnell quaking in terror, are going to nominate Christie? How eactly is that going to play out?

  13. ' “Competence,” said one prominent Democratic strategist.'

    Heaven preserve us from political strategists, especially the Democratic ones because mopst of them haven't a clue. Anyone who thinks "competence" is an automatic ticket to election might want to check with President Dukakis who highlighted it in his acceptance speech.

    And if competence wins, it isn't automatically for the good. Bill Clinton who was competent at "triangulation" brought us NAFTA and the Telecommunications Act, both of them derived from conservative ideology. The former pretended to be about free trade but freed capital to work its will on the north American poor and middle class, while Clinton himself acknowledged the latter to be his biggest mistake.

    The danger to the Democrats next time is that their strategists will extinguish any fire in the belly of their candidate on the altar of competence, while the GOP runs a malevolent but passionate candidate who ends up winning.

    President Obama ran on the noble principle of health care being a right, but I believe that his aspiring for competence once in office made him water down his legislation into the excessively complicated ACA, just so he could compromise with an opposition that wanted no part of it at any price. Which led to his present problems.

  14. Yes, and his opposition, apart from himself, were unions and nervous dems too cautious even to bring us a public option. So we got insurance care instead.

  15. I really don't think that President Obama's "aspiring for competence once in office" had anything to do with what came out as the ACA. The prolonged "action" on framing the ACA legislation occurred almost entirely in the Senate where -- like with comprehensive immigration reform -- compromises were forged in the hope of attracting some Republican support as well as to garner or retain the support of a few right-leaning Democrats. It was, as I recall, the Senate that determined that a "public option" would not fly, to which the President (perhaps too willingly) acquiesced.

    If "competence" is to be the measure of electoral success, then Republicans really have nothing to offer. Wasn't Mr. Romney's only redeeming virtue his self-proclaimed "competence"?

  16. Obama has already given us a Democrat who is soft on Wall Street, and willing to use drones and torture. Soon he may sign off on the Keystone pipeline and provide a death knell for the planet.

    Hillary would be more of the same. No thanks.

  17. Right in the middle of the bullseye.

  18. So, ANY Republican likely to run for the Presidency would be better? Wall Street, in case you haven't noticed, and corporations are by default and Adam Smith the territory of the GOP. The GOP is all over the Keystone Pipeline; they wouldn't care if it ran through your momma's living room. I can't imagine any GOP President wouldn't uses drones if it would protect American lives, and torture is not exclusive to any political party or President, never has been, never will be, no matter what they say, because it's basically a "what I don't know won't hurt me, so I don't want to know" proposition for most politicians.

    You're going to have to look long and hard to find a candidate that meets your specifications, I'll tell you that! Rather than knocking Hillary and Obama, why not provide an example of who you have in mind.

  19. but better by far than a 'publican.

  20. I hope that the Democratc nominee in 2016 is Tom ViIsac.

    But I expect to be disapointed.

  21. That's a realistic expectation.

  22. I will vote for any Democrat over any Republican for one reason - the Supreme Court. With the legislative branch basically standing still due to Republican obstruction, the Supreme Court has more power than ever before.

    The Roberts Court has given us Citizens United, the decimation of the VRA and consistently put business interests over consumers, workers and women's rights.

    They will not be stopped by the election of a Republican president who could possibly appoint 2-4 new justices.

    Republicans have given us Scalia, Thomas, Kennedy, Roberts and Alito. With that dismal record, a Justice Ted Cruz would not be out of the question.

  23. This is exactly the problem. Most liberals can't see through their own shelfish vote who is going to beat the Republican choice. That Republican is going to have strong Tea Party credentials- and as I see it - Hillary will bring those sympathizers out of the woodwork. She is simply polarizing justs like Obama turned out to be. Vote for who you want - but this is a Republic. And we have to have primaries and a primary choice without consideration of winning could be a real problem for Democrats as it was for Republicans in 2012.

  24. Yes, this is the key, and it is surprising that we don't see more in-depth coverage of this. The average age of the oldest 5 SC judges must be well over 75 (?). What has been the average retirement age of previous judges over, say the past 20-25 years.

    A 2-term president (with the clock starting in 2016) would almost certainly appoint at least 2 SCJs.

    Of course, Obama himself could have the opportunity to nominate/appoint 2 SCJs if Ginsburg (age 81) and Breyer (age 75) announce their retirement b/w now and the next election.

  25. You should be thankful of the Roberts court. It legitimized ObamaCare and gay marriage. Doesn't sound very Republican to me...

  26. Some ex-Presidents, having had a chance to reflect, recognize where they could have done better. Hillary's appeal is in part that she has had this opportunity once or even twice. She was always smart and has the best shot of anyone in contention to be wise. If she comes out again proposing panders such as a constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning, then she learned little and we should move on. But I'll listen with much more interest to see what she says than to any of the others.

  27. From your lips to God's ears (with all due sarcasm)

    It is three years to Election Day. Two before they really start to run in earnest. I know all the gleeful little 'new populist conservatives' are tossing pixie dust and mumbling magic words to turn Christie into the Republican front runner. Not going to happen.

    Three possible outcomes in 2014.

    First possibility: Tea Party Republicans primary their way to firmer control of the House and parity in the Senate. Obama is a prisoner in the White House. Ted Cruz is the GOP nominee. In panic the Democrats rally behind Hillary, who has no choice but to run.

    Second possibility: Tea Party Republicans stir things up but the status quo continues. Obama is a hamstrung lame duck. Ted Cruz is the GOP nominee. See first possibility above.

    Third possibility: Tea Party Republicans shoot their own party in the foot. Parity or loss of the House and lose ground in the Senate. Obama is encouraged for a couple months then realizes he is a lame duck and has run out of time. Republicans lose their minds. Ted Cruz is the GOP nominee. See first possibility.

    Get ready Ross Ted is your new populist savior, even if you want Christie.

    As Ted rises Hillary becomes inevitable.

  28. Being popular with blue collar white people does not make Cruz a populist. He is another faith based zealot who doesn't give a whit about blue collar white people. He is smart enough to not talk about the religious part in public.

  29. NB,

    Indeed. But Frank's colleague Ross Douthat has been pushing a new sobriquet for these fellows in congress such as Ted, Mike Lee, Paul Ryan, Rand Paul and others as a new breed of Republican populists. They base their argument on the Tea Party being a fiscal movement rather than a social conservative movement.

    Thus the Tea Party talking point of lower taxes and reduced government involvement in peoples lives (read payment of benefits) is in their view populist.

    I am constrained by the lack of italics in my ability to indicate sarcasm.

    Just know that to these ivory tower conservatives 'populism' means power to the common people.

    The power to starve on your own.

    The power to school your own children, even if you cannot afford books.

    The power to choose to live without healthcare.

    The power to return to the 18th century.

    As to religion. Ted does too invoke his faith. After all he is proud of his paternalist pappy. Who does not speak for him, except when he does. It is part and parcel of his 'new conservative populism'.

    He wants his supporters to have the power to thrust their faith upon their friends and neighbors without interference from the government.

    Being popular with Tea Party constituents does not make him a populist, no. Espousing a desire to empower his Tea Party constituents to do as they will makes him a 'new populous Republican'.

  30. Hillary has a messaging problem in that, thus far, her primary argument for her election thus far rests on the notion that we are overdue for a female President. While that is something with which I wholeheartedly agree, it's not a particularly convincing rationale for electing someone who'd be 69 at the time of their inauguration. Which is as old as Reagan in '80, by the way.

    That said, it's premature to be handicapping the 2016 race. Obama's performance in office to come, the result of the 2014 midterms and a whole host of other factors both known and unknown are going to come into play in shaping the backdrop against which the 2016 contest will be conducted. This could work to her advantage or disadvantage depending upon how things shake out over the next 2 years.

    I don't know how this will play out, but the thrust of the article is spot on in questioning Hillary's inevitability.

  31. Wrong! not just ready for female president, but her resume, First lady 8 years, Senator, Secretary of State represent knowledge and experience greater than most presidential candidates if not all past entries.

  32. Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have all had a female head of state or government. These are the four nations with the most Muslims.

    Germany, the U.K., Ireland and Australia have had female leaders too.

    The U.K. had two ER's. And one VR. Ancient Egypt had Hatshepsut. Russia had Catherine.

    America is exceptional in all of it's white Christian male misogynist racist supremacy.

    We can do way better than Hillary's yesterday destiny. And that is not Chelsea. We already had one Clinton too many.

    Elizabeth Warren? Amy Klobuchar? FLOTUS Obama? Tammy Baldwin? Mazie Hirono? Kirsten Gillibrand? Maria Cantwell?

  33. I completely agree with this. I don't like that we now seem to have competing "royal" families, something those who wrote the Constitution would certainly not have envisioned or wanted although, of course, early on the Adamses, father and son, were elected presidents. I am of the opinion that this country probably isn't governable any more, that no matter who the president is, she (or he) will spend the entire time being viciously attacked, that with a media that is always in a frenzy to something new to gnaw on, that no one can really do the job that is required.

  34. I would never vote for Hillary Clinton unless of course she were the candidate. I know that is a contradiction but I would have to do this grudgingly because she voted to authorize the war in Iraq. She tried to squeeze out of this decision very unsuccessfully but couldn't.

    Why has Obama not been more successful? Simple but I'll leave that to a guess on the part of the readers. My prediction: Rand Paul, the plagiarist and an angry man against Elizabeth Warren. Rand Paul will win all of the south and the red states and Warren the blue states, large urban areas, California, New York, and the large population blues, Paul everything else. Chris Christie? not a chance. Why? He doesn't like women and while that may appeal to some, the image of him pointing his finger and yelling at a female school teacher who asked him a simple question will stick with me. See:


  35. I wrote a comment a few hours ago but it disappeared. So did one I wrote to another article tonight. (Am I on some list?) Last week I wrote three longer comments which stayed, and ended up in 'readers' favorites'.

    My comment about Hillary Clinton reminded readers she was on the board of Wal-mart; was reported to have known about the coup against President Zelaya of Honduras three days before he was surprised by the military in the middle of the night, -- the Clintons'' friend was consultant to the coup and said it was due to Zelaya's not supporting 'America's interests'; she shouted 'Nothing is off the table!' to reporters' questions about Iran during her presidential campaign. I had forgotten about her vote for the war in Iraq.

  36. Please do tell us why Obama has not been more successful. I wonder that each and every day.

  37. I don't particularly agree with all the author's premises. One factor I have never heard mentioned is physical capability. Sec State is undoubtedly a very demanding job, but the presidency is surely moreso.
    As Hillary's Sec State tenure progressed, to my eyes she became more and more haggard appearing, and in the last year, correct me if I'm wrong, was to a significant degree hampered by physical issues. Starting a presidency at 69 years old, I wonder if she would have the physical endurance to last on the job.
    I'd definitely vote for her in a general election, and hope that she would pick a strong vice president.
    Too bad Jerry Brown's not ten years younger.

  38. @don ~ Agree that the Presidency is more demanding than SOS, but don't underestimate the tiring effects of jet lag. Hillary experienced much more jet lag during her tenure as SOS than Obama has as POTUS. And she traveled in a smallish plane without the luxuries and comfort of Air Force One.

  39. John Kerry looked just as tired after a few months as Secretary of State..... in regards to any physical issues the only one that comes to mind was after she had a viral illness that resulted in dehydration and she became faint and it resulted in her head injury. Otherwise she had no health issues that I can recall.

  40. I think, as I look back over the presidential elections since about 1976, that both the left and right have been looking for new leadership. First, the left chose Jimmy Carter, a Southerner who came out of nowhere to win. Then came Ronald Reagan on the right, an actor with limited understanding of how government works. Next we had Bill Clinton on the left, again another unknown Southerner. Then the right threw just about everyone at us in the last election. And, of course, there was Obama on the left, not only unknown, but the first Black to be elected as well.

    Clearly, middle of the road voters decided all these elections and the only similarity I see between them and those to their right and left is their desire for change. As the problems with our country and its government mount, I don’t see that thinking dissipating.

    If Hillary couldn’t win against Obama, I see no reason for her being any more successful against another unknown in 2016 and there are a fair number of attractive alternatives out there just waiting for that moment of fame as Obama did to kick start a run at the presidency. I just hope someone with brains, courage and political skills gets that opportunity. It seems we've had all of these in recent decades, just not at the same time.

  41. Poppycock, Frank.

    The well-meaning, naive idealism of Democrats who wish to elect the ideal, likable, lovable candidate doesn't cut it any more.
    This is an unrealistic strategy for a President that today must have extensive political experience.

    Obama had and Warren has short resumes of the practical experience required in the current political arena.
    A start as a VP candidate, simply waiting their turn, is a better start. It is called learning on the job.
    We do not need another naif with little tough-as-nails political experience and little time-in-grade in the dog-eat-dog political arena. He wasn't ready for his close-up and neither is she.

    Many have expressed disappointment in the performance of Obama vis-a-vis the destructive, uncompromising Republicans.
    Their disdain for him and by extension for the Office of President has been rude and unacceptable.
    The Republicans will be not changing their tune or drumbeat - surely that is obvious.

    As Hillary noted about Obama during the 2008 election - "He doesn't know what he is up against." And he didn't and neither does any Democratic contender who hasn't had the requisite experience.

    Imply what you will about Hillary Clinton or her sidekick Bill, but they have both been there and done that. They know their way around the current political arena of hard knocks and hard-as-nails and for that reason I do believe that we should wise up and come out fighting with the right candidate - this time.

    Politics is not beanbag.

  42. I think Warren knows exactly what she is up against and what the situation of the country is. Name to me anything that Hillary has done that comes close to Warren driving through the CFPB, being blocked out of the appointment, and then winning her seat. The problem with Hillary is that she is a Clinton corporate democrat in outlook and will propose no substantial changes to a system where 70% of workers wages are stagnate or in decline and inequality is reaching levels not seen since the gilded age. If a neo-New Deal Democrat emerges, Hillary will have a hard time of it in the primary.

  43. Sing it!

    Bill Clinton's campaign strategy, very early on, was to hit back immediately and hit back hard, every time a smear was hurled at him. I hope the 2016 Democratic candidate, whoever that may be, will adopt this strategy.

    I can agree up to a point with Bruni's column: nobody is inevitable, and we shouldn't take any one candidate for granted. But, to imagine that Hillary Clinton should somehow be disqualified because of her association with Obama is ridiculous. Most people, even Obama supporters, will now concede that his political inexperience has been a liability. If we can't nominate an experienced politician and legislator, and we don't want to elect another inexperienced politician, where does that leave us?

    And the idea that she's actually tainted by association because she worked with Anthony Weiner's wife? Just for entertainment value alone, I'd like someone to explain that one. Is Bruni actually suggesting that Anthony Weiner's wife is responsible for his bizarre sexting? And that somehow Hillary Clinton is involved? We keep hearing the Republican Party wants to re-brand itself so it's less offensive to women voters. Are they going to make a campaign issue out of blaming wives for their husbands cheating?

    I have the highest admiration for Elizabeth Warren, but right now I want a Democratic candidate who knows exactly what she's up against.

  44. Looks like the good American people who have been mislead by the politicians and their self interests and self righteousness have finally woken up to face some harsh realities. Just electing a new bunch of politicians will change nothing. What this beguiled nations needs is a new constitution for the needs of this nation and the people in this 21st Century. The Legislative, Judicial and the Executive branch of the Govt. need radical reforms and in that order, if this nation is to survive. All the changes need to made through majority referendum by the people, and for the people. We do not live in the era of 1787.

  45. “Over the long run, Chelsea (would make the better president)". Oh pu-lease! I think we've had enough so-called political dynasties without Hillary, Jeb or even eventually Chelsea climbing back on board to feed their power-fix entitlement. We need fresh ideas and a complete political rethink from energetic new talent with some backbone – without the glad-handing and money grubbing.

  46. John Adams son was also president. I don't get the dynasty problem.

  47. OK, this is definitely trivial and petty but isn't that what politics has come to be all about? I had never heard Chelsea Clinton speak or be interviewed and I was very curious (she was on The Daily Show) and I had to turn it off because of what she does with her eyes! Some politico must have told her to widen her eyes or something, but she 'pops' them way open in a very weird way and I could not watch it. OK, very petty, I know.

  48. Chelsea ? Really, we are talking about a Chelsea run for the Presidency?
    As I understand it, she's a part-time reporter for NBC.
    How many kids in America can say their first gig out of college was an on-air job for one of the big three networks?
    And now we are talking about her chances at the Presidency?
    We're crazy.

  49. "Voters are souring on familiar political operators, especially those in, or associated with, Washington." and even more especially those who have cashed in on public office to join the 1%.

    Is there a more extreme case than the Clintons? Cashing in on the Presidency began in earnest with Ford and Reagan, but they were pikers compared with Bubba and spouse amassing a net worth of or approaching nine digits.

    As the weak economy of the 99% muddles through the ordained aftermath of an epic financial bust, public awareness grows of the 1% accruing nearly all net income growth since 2009. At some point the public will recognize that the huge share of income going to the U.S. population near the top of the income scale is effectively a tax on everyone else.

    Then there is dynasty fatigue. For 32 years starting in 1981, either George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, or Hillary Clinton was President, Vice President, or Secretary of State.

    This is a toxic combination for someone wanting the preceding sentence to read "For 40 of 44 years starting in 1981 ..."

  50. Actually it's been 26 years, not 32. Bush 1 was elected in 1988 amd was President for one 4 year term

  51. Vice President Bush, 1981-89; thus 32 years.

  52. Just wait until Obama gets out. Its the whole reason he went there to begin with....well that and his ego.

  53. Much too early for any candidate, Democrat, Republican, or T-Partyer.

    Let's first see who among the current fore-runners (mostly from GOP & T-party) gets thrown under the bus by their own people, when and how.

    Hillary can wait.

  54. A good friend of mine, whose judgment I respect has said, simply, Hillary is too old to become president. By 2016 she will be a year younger than Reagan was when he became president.

    Our double standard as a culture demanded that she be held to a much higher standard than most men who have aspired to the position of president (think Kennedy and Obama). And, now that she has accrued more credentials than any, she can reasonably be viewed as too old for the position.

    There should be a woman president. But our culture has not yet dealt with its profound issue of misogyny in over 200 years.

    I get so tired of hearing about American Exceptionalism. We are not exceptional or excellent so long as we harbor such bigotry as we exhibit towards women, minorities and the poor.

  55. Higher standard? She married Bill; otherwise we would never have heard of her. By the time she ran against Obama she was a fairly junior senator with few accomplishments, just as he was. She had just been in the public eye longer, again, thanks to her marriage. I have never understood the Hillary-worship we see from many on the left. As Bruni implies, her major accomplishment as Secretary of State seems to have been to run around the world a lot while accomplishing little. There are many, many self-made female Democratic possibilities, Elizabeth Warren for one, who seem to stand for something besides preserving the family dynasty.

  56. Reagan was too old to be president too.

  57. You're right, of course.

    But age is necessarily a factor. Reagan really was too old, and it became increasingly obvious that he wasn't all there in his 2nd term. Look at how much President Obama, a rather young man, has aged since he was elected, and he's not done yet.

    If Mrs Clinton is truly smart, she'll stay out of the fray, write her autobio, work for their foundation, give speeches, and make herself available as an 'eminence grise' to the next Dem candidate.

    That said, if she runs, I'll vote for her – or any other Dem.

  58. A wonderful speculative exercise run rife Mr Bruni, supported by the foregoing entertaining comments. The "entrenched entitled ruling class" is a concern, most especially following the results of past generations which have most decidedly not been of optimum benefit for the nation.

    Given the current state of the nation, as we lurch from crisis to crisis centered in Washington, as the current establishment, both administration and on Capitol Hill display a level of "Liberal Firebrands" and "Republican Vitroil", in competition to muddy the waters for the future, the prominent candidate has yet to emerge. The considerable baggage attached to the current "front runners" will, as the tenure of President Obama advances in time, likely make association with him, most especially the current chaos, unappealing to the voters in 2016. Should Hillary Clinton prevail as the Democrat choice, the Republicans will have considerable heavy artillery with which to oppose her, for all the reasons Mr Bruni has enumerated above. The "entrenched entitled ruling class" is not the least of them.

    The mood of the country will evolve over the next year as the voters assess how they are affected by the emerging fallout from Obamacare. Whatever assessment they make will have a major effect on the 2014 mid term election and clearly the 2016 Presidential election will soon loom large in considering the future direction of the nation. Hillary is a contender and is by no means a certainty to run.

  59. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that Washington "makes up crisis after crisis", thanks mostly to the undue influence of reactionary and righteous extremists.

    I suppose the reference to Republicans' "heavy artillery" is a commentary on the weight of Gov. Christie (and perhaps Jeb Bush?). Either of those would be better than a politician like Sen. Paul who seems unable to understand the meaning of the act of plagiarism - and thereby illustrates a severely limited sense of integrity.

    Maybe the way to address the country's serious needs is to actually get beyond partisan extremism. What about a Clinton-Christie ticket in 2016 including a commitment from Mrs. Clinton that she'd be a one-term President? That would be a practical recognition that the politics of yelling (or worse lying) from the extremes is simply an unworkable waste of time, money and opportunity.

  60. I have never in my life voted for a Republican and probably would not do so if Hillary Clinton ran in 2016, but I would not vote for her. Aside from anything else this is the woman who supposedly advised her husband to play politics with the Rwandan genocide and advised in relation to Bosnia, 'those people have always acted like that' in reference to mass murder. This is not the sort of person I would want as president. The incidents I refer to have been written about repeatedly by commentators on how the United States responded to genocide in Rwanda and Bosnia. Warren yes, Clinton no. Even Biden yes, Clinton no.

  61. shb: "supposedly advised her husband"? Are you speaking
    a truth, a rumor, a right wing lie? If this is your reasoning,
    it surely lacks weight and defies reality. I suggest you
    come up with some better excuse to deny this rather
    remarkable woman her run for the presidency.

  62. I am and have long been a Hillary Clinton supporter. Just as I was and am still a Bill Clinton supporter and fan. For the most part America was a better place during the Clinton years and most Americans were doing well and better off.

    That being said, the Clinton years were a long time ago and our nation had to suffer through the disastrous 8-year administration of Bush-Cheney and our nation is still suffering from the mess of the Bush-Cheney administration.

    While I would strongly support Mrs. Clinton if she decided to run for President in 2016, I almost hope she decides not to run because she has done enough for her country and she left office as our Secretary of State with her head held high and a great record of accomplishment. I shutter to imagine the dirty politics by the radical-Tea Party Republicans if Mrs. Clinton decided to run, it will but awful!

    However, if by next year there are no other good, progressive Democrats seeking to run and Mrs. Clinton wants an other opportunity, then I will be there to again strong support her candidacy.

  63. Is it true, Monica would be her VP? You know the expression about keeping your enemies close. As for 'dirty' politics, they are always trumped by personal dirt, I think. How will we hide Bill?

  64. @Coohunter ~ Your snarky comment did not advance the discussion of this article. It serves no useful purpose.

  65. I think people are bored with Hillary. She is too close to Wall St. and she has too much baggage. However a lot can happen in 3 years. People pay attention to her, and if she is Presidential material she will be able to get them excited about voting for her.

  66. Frank, don't miss that Hilary's greatest unique and personal contribution as Secretary of State was to raise the status of women as a global issue, and connect it with most other global issues. That was her historic issue, it made her a great Secretary of State, and she could and can in the future do more for that issue at State or the Clinton Foundation with Chelsea, than either can do as President. That is where her greatness will lie.

    For all her properly vaunted competence, Hilary's greatest flaw as a Presidential candidate is that her style of leadership is not well-suited to the Presidency, and especially to dealing with the likes of John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and the crazies on the right, who would make her life miserable with their cynical and unscrupulous shenanigans. Wonkish hard work counts as nothing with them and their loony constituencies of garden-variety bigots. The "vast conspiracy on the right" is an unworthy enemy for her political destiny.

  67. All politicians 'style' is lies, dishonesty and corruption, Hilary;s would be no different.

  68. She worked very well with right wing Republicans when she was a Senator something Obama did not do.

  69. While I'm pretty well convinced that Hillary will run, I am far from convinced she will be the best nominee, or in the end, the nominee. As the election of Elizabeth Warren and other liberals (and the probable election of Bill DeBlasio) show, the grassroots of the Democratic Party, while not as loud or organized as the Tea Party, is pretty well fed up with centrist DLC type Democrats, willing to compromise away the soul of the party, and the American people's interests, for some undefined "grand bargain". The ACA would be both better and simpler, and the recipient of o more GOP ire, if it had been Medicare for all, or at least contained a public option. The Bush era tax cuts should have all been allowed to expire, and the money used for infrastructure. And above all, Bush officials and Wall Street bankers should have been held to account for their actions in the 2000s. A real liberal might have done all those things, Obama, instead, wanted to make friends with the opposition, the opposition who never saw him as legitimate. (And after the coronation of Bush by their lackeys on the Supreme Court, they know illegitimate when they see it).

    It's time for someone new. A real Democrat in the Democratic Party and at the top of the ticket. He or she would be a clear winner, and we won't have to listen to Rush, Sean and the others spew 8 years of Hillary-hate.

  70. But Warren and DeBlasio are (or will be, in DeBLasio's case), elected in NY and Mass. It is very unlikely they could be elected nationally. What good is it to nominate a far left liberal who shares every one of our values and supports our policies 100% if they cannot be elected president? It might make us liberals feel good, but it would be selfish, since that person would likely loose and the country would be stuck with a right-wing president for 4/8 years. The president of the US is president of everyone. And, like it or not, not everyone agrees with us. So we need to elect someone who shares MOST of our values but can also win. And, like it or not, someone who listens to the other side. Meeting right-wing stubbbornness with left-wing stubbornness only produces head-butting and gridlock.

  71. I voted for Obama in the primary back in 2008 rather than Hillary for the same reasons you espouse. i thought that Obama would help us avoid 8 years of toxic vitriol that would inevitably dog a return of the Clinton's to the White House. It would appear that I was wrong, the vitriol was not avoided by Obama and certainly awaits any Democrat who has the audacity of winning the Presidency.

  72. mary, maine:

    Meeting right-wing stubbbornness with left-wing stubbornness only produces head-butting and gridlock.

    Couldn't agree more. Earmarks and wheeling and dealing are looking not quite so bad right about now. Grease does have its uses.

  73. The misogyny, racisim, bigotry and hate that has popped up in
    my country now is a trend that makes me fearful for Mrs. Clinton
    or any woman to reach the top. Thanks to a Republican party
    that can elevate Cruzism and its like, and a lack of strong
    democratic voices to combat it.Not to mention a press that spews
    nonsense and rarely calls out the lies we hear daily. The election
    of a black/white , exotically raised President, who came to us
    with so much expectation to do great things , opened a Pandora's
    box of nasties to try to destroy and negate anything he does.
    I can only imaging what these forces would do to a woman,
    even a tough one like Mrs. Clinton. I fear for this country if
    this trend continues. We need a swing back to good government
    if we are to go forward as a great nation. Conservatism , as a
    movement, has gone over the cliff, and needs to reclaim it's
    soul. And so does the country.

  74. Conservatism by its very nature starts to line dance with fascism. That's the untold story. At this point they are one in the same.

    The corporations control all our candidates. They call the tune.

    From underneath that rock from whence they came comes an intolerance for women's reproductive rights, and a very, very thinly-veiled racism.

    Right now it's all about the .1% and what they want and need.

    Everything is window-dressing.

  75. @ P Kay

    At what point could "top" be considered a mother who stays home and cares for her family? I'm a Democrat, but it bothers me that women who stay home caring for their children, making sure they have every opportunity to succeed, are somehow viewed as not reaching the top. By golly, staying at home isn't easy, and on a limited budget is even harder --- so how about some recognition from the group who claims to care for women? (It has never made a bit of sense to dump ones' children in the lap of another, believing somehow the absent mother was due more wage than the mom caring for the child. Who are these women that keep this going?)

  76. Hillary's inevitability is premature, but so is this column predicting, or anticipating, her demise. Elizabeth Warren is avoiding the limelight and is too leveled headed to get caught up in this hysteria. Bill DeBlasio has even won yet or served one day as mayor and already he's presidential material? That's not premature?

    Clinton fatigue is a real danger, and pushing Chelsea is over the top as only Bill can be. Right now, Washington is anathema, yet when that feeling fades as it certainly will the electorate will return to its small "c" conservative roots and choose a candidate it knows and with whom it is comfortable. That candidate may not be Hillary but it won't be because of the Clinton Foundation or incompatibility with Twitter folk.

    Neither party has as yet a compelling platform for 2016. Some Republicans are fortifying their anti-Obama bona fides but Republicans can't run on the nihilism of the last 3 years. Democrats need to say more than "we're not them". In fact, the Democratic primary will be shaped by next year's midterms, how they are fought, their results, and the opening battles of the next congress.

    Which is why all of this is premature. The electoral cycle can't be 3 years and the time to govern less than 1 year. It's out of whack and those poles need to be reversed. By constantly focusing on the horse race we get shabby government, ignorant politicians and voters, and sensationalist journalism.

  77. Exactly. Many of us are tired of politics all the time. Give us a break.

  78. I wonder whether the performance of her successor as secretary of state has something to do with her decline in polled popularity.

    I'm tired of being asked to support an image instead of a record. For me, Hillary Clinton's record includes a bunch of scandals during Bill Clinton's presidency.

    I worry that part of our problem with people now in the public eye is that too many of them either "read their own press," or are surrounded by people who do. I think it separates them and us from reality. I worry that it both keeps too many unhelpful people front and center and keeps too many lesser-known people from being recognized as more helpful -- as is reflected in how someone with just name recognition can out-poll someone with far more capacity for the office.

  79. I agree. It's striking to see John Kerry so actively engaged in diplomacy after Hillary's mostly having traveled and been an ambassador for women. His objectives are very different from hers. I commend him for returning the role to its proper function.

    There is definitely a bubble in DC. The Clintons are the royal couple in there. It's a trillion-dollar eco-system made up of lobbyists, politicians and, often, the media, which seems to like its insider status.

    It's a shame that for a politician to succeed he or she has to operate effectively within that bubble, which is separate and distinct from the lives of Americans. I, personally, have no problem with upstarts who refuse to operate by its rules or seek its approval.

    Unfortunately, selecting an outsider who eschews all things "DC" is no guarantee of success. The disdain for DC must be accompanied by competence; otherwise, we just get more dysfunction.

  80. And why no mention that she has never held elective office? Running for office requires a team, which surely she can assemble, but also a candidate who can lead the team and, after election to an executive position, lead the government. When has she exhibited broad leadership qualities?

    For the worshippers of all that is Clinton, it is enough that Bill will be there to help. The same is true for those who can't tolerate the Clinton name. But for the rest of us, Hillary's candidacy seems hardly more compelling than if Nancy Reagan had taken a run at the presidency after Ron finished his second term. (OK, by that comparison at least, Hillary would have the advantage of relative youth.)

    Hillary is very intelligent. But after her effort at health care reform, she has always reminded me of another highly intelligent Democrat who, unlike her husband, exhibited a knack for details, but not leadership--Jimmy Carter. Busily flying around the world during her term as Secretary of State--with no notable foreign policy achievements--did nothing to dispel the image that I have long had of her as a Carter knock-off.

    And the attempt to extend the brand to the next generation is distasteful. Whether it is the House of Clinton or the House of Bush. If one of the children or, in the latter case, great grandchildren (of Prescott) can earn an election on his or her own merits, great. But let's not bestow offices upon them due to their lineage.

  81. Never held elective office sir just what do you call a U.S. Senator appointed ? Hillary was an elected U.S. Senator from NY State. Perhaps you brain does not function just like the memory.

  82. She was NY senator when Bush was in presidency. She ran for the office and earned it. It gave her a great platform for the 2008 campaign, though it was not enough because of Obama's newness. If I am mistaken, please, let me know.

  83. She was elected as a Senator for NY in 2000 and did a fantastic job. We need someone who knows how to play politics, who can sell policie. sAfter an ineffective Obama we need another LBJ or FDR. At the moment Hillary is the closest we've got.

  84. I'd love to see Hillary get the nod and then nominate Amy Gutman, the President of Penn for VP or someone like her. The Dems should have two women on the ticket and make clear it's the year for women. Gutman would be a non-political choice that would have appeal to those who want to make a change. Secretaries of State don't make foreign policy, the President does. And it worries me that no Republican that might run has any foreign policy experience. There is value who knowing in the world leader are. And really - you're dumping on Clinton because he dared to say he takes pride in his daughter. Really.

  85. It has always impressed me that Hillary wants, above all, to be the first woman President. She seems to want that more than any clear vision for the country. I think her as malleable for all the hard work she is capable of.

    The memory of her so poorly run campaign for President lingers. And, the thought of even 4 more years of Republican antics and vileness against a sitting President is too probable, especially with Hillary and Bill's too long exposure to Washington. There is too much to do to get caught up in another soap opera. Please, no more Clintons of Bushes.
    Christie does not have the temperament for world leadership and has his own baggage.

    Sadly, with the ascendance of the Tea Party, it seems we cannot run a candidate just whose platform we like. We must consider one's ability to swim with the sharks, to outmaneuver the vile and ignoble intentions of a Cruz or a Boehner. I suppose it is too early for Bill Diblasio, but he seems really smart, not one to mess with, and a heart for the common good.

  86. I see nothing wrong with wanting to be the first woman President. She's certainly paid her dues. A succesful law career, a First Lady, a two time Senator and a Secretary of State. If she was a man, would there be any hesitation to think she should be President? And the Republicans are going to be rotten no matter who runs on the Democractic side. Better to have someone who knows how really rotten they can be.

  87. "The Dems should have two women on the ticket and make clear it's the year for women." And that's appealing to me as a male voter because why?

    How about "The Dems should have the two best-qualified people on the ticket and make clear it's the year for merit." That's a ticket I'd happily support.

  88. Every woman, and men too, pining for a woman president, which would be a fine thing in my mind, should remember in Hillary Clinton they'll be voting for a woman who participated in the further humiliation and intimidation of women who had been harassed by her husband and, in one case at least, probably raped. The willingness of so-called feminists to totally ignore the sordid history of the Clinton's in their treatment of women is unforgivable and casts serious doubt on what they actually want for women.

  89. I've been mentioning this exact point since she ran for the Senate. How simple life would be if we could all ignore inconvienent truths. Excellent post.

  90. What's going on in Michigan these days?

  91. No one gets to be nominated to be a presidential candidate without being vetted by the powers that be. So that means Americans don't get what they want, no matter who runs. There might be slight adjustments to the left or right, but you can bet that the big money people have it all locked up well in advance. Even the two party system is more or less in lock step, with them being incorporated and owning the presdiential debates. It is truly outrageous that they get together and decide what questions they will allow to be asked. So it doesn't matter if Hiliary is nominated. Americans don't get what they vote for either way, or we would have a much different country now.

  92. Anyone who will continue to stymie white male conservatives is fine with me.
    The one thing this country does not need is a conservative President who would lend an ear to radical Tea party Caucus members and the religious right.
    No thanks, I'll take a Donald duck democrat over a seasoned conservative, ANY DAY.

  93. So we'll all get another Donald Duck because you have an issue with "white male conservatives"?

    It's time for some serious self-examination on your part.

  94. Two words THE COURTS

  95. We already had Alfred E. Neuman as President, MAD was the key word, With his evil cohort Darth Vader. Oh yes they were wonderful, war criminals

  96. Name for me one candidate, in either major party, that doesn't have baggage (granted some heavier than others).

    Just as she went to work, quietly and with determined forethought, in the Senate after being elected, the run up to 2016 will be the same.

    She proved it there, did the same as Secretary of State, and in the long run the benefit to our country of her experience in the art of negotiation will make the whole world a better place.

    She has conversations. She talks with people, not at them.
    That is where the future of American leadership lies.

  97. The US is a right of centre country and Elizabeth Warren's poential for success would depend on the Republicans selecting an extremist.

    Warren has some admirable qualities but another US senator with little of consequence to show for time served in the Senate would require a miracle to capture the White House.

    Remember Barack Obama in 2008 benefitted from an almost collapsed financial sytstem in the closing weeks of the campaign.

    McCain had no credible answers.

  98. Ted Cruz is taking the same route - short time in Senate, on to a run for the White House. Let's see how that works out (I hope it doesn't). I'd much prefer Warren over Hillary but I don't think it will happen. Maybe Hillary will surprise us all and not run.

  99. "There's no poetry in them [the person and her vision]": half-right, for there's no prose either, from the standpoint of the democratization of American society. Hillary is to all intents a man in woman's clothing, given her unabashed militarism (e.g., calling for an Afghan surge greater than the Pentagon asked), her hard-nosed foreign policy (including sanctioning drone assassination), in sum, her total commitment to US global hegemony, which is a plus, as Democrats see it, and a moral aberration for the few of us who view America as on the path to a totalitarian society.

    Hillary on the NSA and massive surveillance? Not a word. Hillary on eavesdropping on world leaders (occurring on her watch as well as before and later)? Silent as the tomb. Hillary on CIA-JSOC paramilitary operations intended for regime change and/or destroying socialist governments? Ditto.

    Those who dwell on the beauties of a women president represent the reification of GENDER as a desideratum in its own right, regardless of policy. Fine, we'll see Hillary (and Schumer) with the same Wall Street banking crowd, the same gospel of deregulation Bill worshiped before to bring on the financialization of capitalism, to the detriment of American working people as well as the integrity of the system itself.

    I expect Hillary to receive the nomination in '16, showing the Democratic party's journey of moral bankruptcy since the days of FDR and the New Deal. Her liberalism is tarnished, unworthy the name.

  100. Clearly, written from a republican point of view. Not a surprise there.

  101. Hi rati mody--wrong, written from a Left point of view. Democrats obviously find militarism, surveillance, drone assassination, complicity with major banks, all fine and dandy, else you would not have mistaken the direction from which I wrote. Again, two things: I find gender irrelevant; and I think Hillary a corporate-oriented warmonger. Period.

  102. Chris Christie has eviscerated New Jersey's once outstanding educational system. Is such a person a viable alternative to become President?

    The only reason I can think of at the moment is the mainstream media's effort to treat everything said by politicians equally.

    Income inequality and lack of demand resulting in lack of jobs are very real problems. As is the education of future generations.

    Serious questioning of any of those proclaiming to run for president will be the most important contribution of the fifth estate.

    Can we count on it? I'm not sure.

  103. How about choosing candidates based on the policies the promote? Would we have favored Obama over Clinton if we had known that he would not pursue the Wall Street crowd or would accelerate the use of drones or would outsource responsibility for implementation of the ACA. All I know is that the GOP plans to end Social Security and Medicare if they ever win the presidency. So in a way it doesn't matter who the Democratic candidate is so long as that person wins the presidency.

  104. Since you enjoy conjecture, let me add one more: How do we know that Clinton wouldn't have done those same things? Clinton is hardly anti-Wall Street, she was part of the Administration which pursued the policy of using drones and her health insurance program could have had as many defects in the roll-out than Obama's.

  105. Everyone mentioning Senator Warren for a potential Presidential bid, please shut up. Let her do her job in the Senate first. We spent a lot of time getting her elected to the Senate. There will be time enough for a presidential run down the road.

    And why not Hillary for President? Some commenters just hate the Clintons, but I remember Bill's presidency as a very good time for the country. I think Hill would be great. She will make up her own mind.

  106. You think NAFTA and CAFTA are good for our country? You think dissing poor people for rich people good (his triangulation with the welfare reform)? Clinton talks a good game, he's very, very smart. But I think there are NO JOBS in this country anymore because of Bill Clinton.

    I don't want Hillary particularly because I do not think she accomplished one thing while Secretary of State and did not deal with Benghazi well, but, like Kevin Rothstein, I'd vote for Bo the dog before voting for a Republican.

  107. As Paul Simon might say " Where have you gone Mrs. Clinton America turns its lonely eyes towards you". Except that Mrs. Clinton has never gone away and few fond memories can be formed of someone who has never left the public spotlight or refrained from being front and center in the public's eyes - except when it was inconvenient like Benghazi -Ambassador Rice front and center. .

    Unlike Joe DiMaggio which was role model for heroic sized competence and achievement yet personal self restraint in the Simon and Garfunkel song "Mrs. Robinson", Mrs.Clinton and the Clintons in general have amassed fortunes and titles galore to prove that you can do very well financially in the pursuit of doing the "good" of public service. (We earned our royalty the hard way).

    The Democrats may be in danger of taking a nostalgia trip to the nineties ( "Don't Stop Thinking About Yesterday?) if they coronate Hillary as their one and only nominee for the President In 2016. The Fleetwood Mac song lyrics include the phrase "Yesterdays Gone, Yesterdays Gone".

    I would suggest that the Democrats remember that yesterday is gone and encourage a competitive process with fresher faces briskly striding forth with fewer bags to carry. Hillary's role may be like Moses bringing women politicians to the Promised Land yet not stepping into the White House as the first female President. Maybe this act of self restraint in pursuit of breaking the glass ceiling for a female President would be her real legacy.

  108. Competence will most likely come from a governor's office. Hillary has demonstrated neither competence nor incompetence in governing, although Benghazi's handling was borderline incompetence. (Slow walking is not a wise strategy when innocent Americans' lives are ended violently by terrorists.)

    Hillary chose to spend her time as Secretary of State traveling the world to acquaint herself with it. Her efforts were more ambassador-like than those of an executive of State. Her legacy is her having been schooled in foreign affairs.

    Once again, she used the position for her own gain. The country's affairs were secondary. Now we will be treated to her re-interpretation of her time as Secretary of State, which will be spun to embellish her own credentials.

    And once again, democrats will be swept up in another "identity" first. Let's hope they are more demanding this time than last.

  109. Excellent comment.

  110. Clocking millage, time on tarmacs, and attending Potemkin conferences do not give one an education in foreign affairs. (The term itself is a convenient metaphor that hides the real complexity of of realpolitiks.)
    It was a four-year fancy dress party for Mrs. Clinton, and she left our relations—see "reset w/ Russia/ China/the Americas/ the Middle East, in worst shape than Mr. Bush.

    The truth is, advertising campaigns and positionings aside, she has accomplished nothing but name recognition in her long career. What she has accomplished of value exists solely in the minds of her supporters, who project their unfulfilled dreams and ambitions on her.

  111. She messed up on the 3am phone call that became popular during her campaign, and people died.

  112. 2016 is a million years away - in political years that is. Those of us who live in this country, and not in pundit world, are worried about a government that is not working now.

    We are concerned that every three to six months there is a new fiscal "crisis." We are concerned that since January 2011 not one appropriations bill got through the House of Representatives, from where they are supposed to originate. Not even Paul Ryan's Republican caucus could vote for those spending bills once they were translated from that exercise in fantasy of a budget so many pundits called a "real idea" from a "serious" Congressman.

    Some of us are concerned about the huge and growing economic inequality in our country. We are concerned that millions of our young people may be unemployable in the world economy. Industries, whole work places, are disappearing and not being replaced with some new kind of employment, at least not in the US. We are behind other industrialized countries in healthcare, education, child care, in the kinds of services that make life liveable for people.

    Pundits lurching from the past election to the next election the day after the past election is over, without even a passing nod to substance, is not getting us anywhere. If you want to be helpful as a journalist, lets talk about the hollowing out of the American middle class.

    Let's talk substance, not process. Let's focus on what matters now - 2014 - and worry about November 2016 in 2016.

  113. I fervently await an article from the columnist with equally scathing comments about Jeb Bush.

    I admit I am an unabashed leftist partisan.

    I don't want any of the current batch of Republicans near the White House anytime soon.

    Absent a meaningful third party choice, I want a winner.

    If Ms. Clinton decides not to run, so-be-it.

    I'll take anyone from the Democrats; I'll take Bo, the Obama's dog.

  114. "I'll take anyone from the Democrats; I'll take Bo, the Obama's dog"

    You may get that chance yet.

    How low are you going to lower the bar before you realize it's this blind partisanship that promotes not only mediocre candidates but the status quo?

  115. @Andrea: I'm willing to go far, far, under the bar, given the opposition.

    Shall I vote for candidates with borderline personality disorders, who deny global climate change and think they are anointed by God, or a loyal canine that has not a mean bone in his body?

    Arf, arf!!

  116. Kevin, don't underestimate Bo; dogs are non partisan lovers of humans. Not only are they cool with either men and women, they are (I think) colorblind. That already gives them an advantage over the GOP meanies.

  117. Watching the early stages of this effort, it is hard not to feel as if we've seen this movie before--particularly if the reality is that the Clintons or their inner circle are stage managing it--and it didn't end well.

    It sure is a similar strategy to 2008--roll up big name endorsements, raise a mountain of money, create the aura of inevitability and use it to scare off other contenders for the Democratic nomination.

    I'm hard pressed to see what reasons there are that make a compelling case for greater confidence that it will play out better in 2016,

    For starters--I'm not sure how many Democrats--let alone independent voters--are pining for a return to the days of the "Third Way" Democrats--shameless in their corporatist coziness with Wall Street.

    I'm hard pressed to see how the sinking of Larry Summer's candidacy for Fed chairman is NOT a clear demonstration of that political reality.

  118. Mrs. Clinton was a disappointing figure as First Lady, Senator, and Secretary of State. As president, she might be expected to travel extensively, to compromise shamelessly, and to back away from controversial issues that would trigger the ire of the crowd who will always see her as a human lightning rod.

    The Democratic Party needs its own equivalent of Chris Christie, and needs to find him/her before the Republican Klown Kar Kranks get rolling again.

  119. Ok, so Hillary is not your pick. The essay leaves me wondering who is because you sure try to find every Hillary negative you can.

    I'm not sure whether or not she is right. Hillary is very smart; has vast international knowledge and connections; understands how gov't works (despite our fondness for "outsiders" when we elect those we get someone who surrounds him/herself with unelected insiders - think 'W'); and has liberal credentials without being on the lunatic fringe.

    Elizabeth Warren has said that she is not interested. DeBlasio, assuming he wins today, will need more time as mayor to be really ready to step into a national race. I'd love to see a woman in that Oval Office.

  120. Anne-Marie, smart isn't the answer we seek. Consider the current President who is purported to be the smartest man in the history of the world.

    What we need instead of smart is wise. What we need instead of politic is idealistic. What we need instead of the party is the people.

    Don't seek a woman. Don't seek a color. Seek a leader who inspire us to be the great country we once were.

  121. Since no one else will point to the elephant in the room, I will. Clinton will be too old, turning 69 before the 2016 election. Recall the doddering Reagan during the final years of his presidency; the office takes too much out of its holder to elect a senior. It requires the vigor of a younger person, although hopefully someone with sufficient experience and wisdom to form sound judgments.

    I have great respect for Clinton and the service she has given her nation, but 2008 was her last real shot at the presidency. While I would like to see a woman elected, that is less important to the country than choosing the most qualified candidate. Who that may be for Democrats is unclear at the moment, but I doubt he or she will be any worse than the dregs and loonies offered by Republicans the last few cycles.

  122. Mr. Reagan did indeed, falter during the last years of his presidency. This was not due to age,,, as we eventually came to know he was the victim of Alzheimers. One of the biggest flaws in our society is the belief that the ageing process automatically means loss of both physical and mental capability. As a result we wind up with people who fit the age bracket that is promoted, but not always with the experience and knowledge that comes with age. Many years ago my class was allowed to interview a candidate for the dean's position of our school. She looked at us and said, " I see that many of you are checking out my hair (it was flaming red and she was in her fifties) Yes, it is dyed. I found out some time ago that when the silver begins to show they figure the old lady cant think anymore." We all laughed, now I know its true

  123. What we really need are no name politicians who really care about the American people and society, not just the rich and powerful. A politician who advocates a living wage, single payer healthcare, affordable education, heavy spending on infrastructure, dismantling the NSA, expansion of the arts and public spaces with money now thrown away on defense/security, etc. Outside of Bernie Sanders, and possibly Elizabeth Warren, I see absolutely no one who will prioritize these issues. They are all bought off by the powers that be.

    We really do need to get rid of most of the incumbents (including most Dems) and start over. Instead, money rules and whoever can buy there way into Congress or the Presidency is considered a front runner.

    Democracy is long dead and we are left with a menu of selections that is analogous to having to decide between the Waffle House and Dennys for breakfast.

  124. I think that the absence of messianic fervor surrounding Hillary is a major plus. Dems got to have messianic fervor in 2008, some of us still felt it in 2012. Do we need it with every election? Messianism is tiring. Messianism is disappointing.

    Let 2016 be about wisdom, let it be about connections, let it be about having a woman President, let it be about "competence."

    All of that is fine too.

    Back when Republicans were the party of straight-laced competence and organization (if any of you can remember back that far), it used to be said that "Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line."

    The Dems that used to have to fall in love also used to lose almost every Presidential election. There's no reason to go back to that. At all.

  125. Let me explain my reservations about HRC.

    Although historically she has a more liberal record than President Obama, she's deeply indebted to the wing of the party that saw nothing wrong in 2008 with filling Wall Street back up with money and sending it on its merry way.

    There is nothing in her record that suggests that she is the person who can stand up to the enablers of our bloated, overextended military. Nothing convinces me that she would have the courage not to use the military in yet another dubious cause.

    Perhaps HRC's image has changed because many Americans are finally realizing that just because you can butt into any conflict in the world doesn't mean you should. They're starting to understand that supporting the troops is not synonymous to sending them to meaningless deaths among strangers in exotic lands.

    Rather, supporting the troops is doing everything in one's power to ensure that each soldier leaves military service whole in body and spirit. Yes, sometimes it's not possible not to fight a war. However, it would be good if America didn't look so eager to send these kids off and then extend their tours of duty when it's time for them to come home.

    So, we "cult" members who support Elizabeth Warren believe that our leadership should reflect America's war-weary, financially strapped, socially progressive majority. Should HRC be the nominee, I will support her, of course, but in the meantime we should have a conversation about our future plans for America.

  126. It will take a long time for the broader public to catch the faith in Ms. Warren's ideology that those who know her best profess. Then, after that, it will take a yet much longer time for everyone who is not enamored for her NOW to be convinced that she has the depth of executive acumen and political skill, breadth of policy and political relationships, and pure grit in the face of high complexity and adversity to be ready to be a solid president yet. She is simply NOT a realistic choice for 2016 in terms of providing the kind of creative, yet seasoned leadership that the country will need and crave. She may well have what it takes to obtain these qualities with time. However, after enjoying all of the sparkling qualities of the Obama 'beaujolais', I would say that it is time for the nation to have a period of a different, more variegated pallet of leadership. Let Ms. Warren develop and season as whatever leader on the national stage she would be. But no more ideological fantasies please or boosting the idea of a person before they fully are prepared to serve The Democratic Party needs to be entering a period of progressive pragmatism and savoir faire to solidify fairly and sensibly foundations of social and fiscal policy, economic growth, and regulatory balance; neither it nor the nation needs another leader, however promising on policy and ideology, prematurely thrust forward.

  127. Reading Mr. Bruni's column for substance is not a productive endeavor.

    Hillary Clinton's polling numbers have be the target of the Republican media take down machine since she stepped down to a well-deserved hiatus.

    When comparing Hillary's popularity and performance rating to congress's or even the president's over the same time period, the resilience of her numbers is actually what's remarkable.

    Hilary is a woman comfortable with power. That simple fact guarantees a certain core negative in any polling numbers. To be sure there are certain conservatives who obsess on her and on the Clintons. So, the Bruni tag paragraph can't so much hang its final point on that peg as have it collapse because of it.

    One thing is certain. If Hillary Clinton really wants the presidency she will have to fight for it. But, Mr. Bruni's piece does little to illuminate that fact any more than it succeeds in pointing out any great weakness on her legacy by trying to dismiss it as 'uneventful.'

    This nation could uses eight years of Clinton uneventful economic growth and centrist consensus governing my a mature woman leader. It certainly seems like a more palatable enterprise than a collection of Republican candidates that resemble nothing so much as a casting call for a cut rate production on the fall of the Roman Empire to be aired on the History Channel.

  128. Beautifully said!

  129. "Hilary is a woman comfortable with power." That is a big problem because she also knows how to wield it to benefit herself and not the country. He problems go back to the Clinton years when she thought she had power to make a healthcare law, but she was just a First Lady. She could easily strive to be the dictator Obama wants to be.
    Under Obama we have the weakest recovery since WWII Why would electing Hillary result in anything different? She never ran a business or handled a huge budget, or knows anything about economics. We'd be trading 1 empty suit in Obama for another empty suit in Hillary.
    We need someone qualified to be president.

  130. This women is comfortable with power as long as it helps to line her pockets. She is a phony and a fraud and would make a Horrible President of the US. Upper Mongolia maybe.

  131. What concerns me is what a divisive figure Hillary was during the Clinton presidency. Republicans hated Bill but despised Hillary, especially during the Clinton health care reform debacle. There were the controversies over Whitewater and the travel office. Can anyone think of any equivalent controversy involving another first lady in recent memory?

    It has been argued that part of Obama's failing to live up to his promise as president is related to his race: like it or not, there is a certain proportion of the population that sees their status threatened by an Ivy-educated black man. They made it there goal that he fail, and to a large extent they have thwarted his attempts to enact his agenda.

    Hillary may face similar obstacles. There is a portion of the population that will not accept a liberal white woman as president. They may not be numerous enough to defeat her in an election, but they are probably numerous enough to block anything she proposes out of sheer spite, just as they have been doing with Obama.

    Which leaves progressives with a dilemma. Do we kowtow to the prejudices of the opposition and nominate a white male, preferably moderate, with the hope that he has a better chance of governing, or do we nominate Hillary and brace for another 4 years of gridlock?

    I like Hillary. I just worry that she has too much baggage to be an effective president.

  132. The best reason to vote for Hillary Clinton is that fiscal reform requires that the 2-earner/2-parent family be acknowledged, no?

    All our federal tax and benefit systems are built around sole breadwinners and stay-at-home parents (whether married or not). These include (a) income splitting in the tax code, which creates creates subsidies to sole breadwinners and "stacking effect:" problems, (b) 2x Social Security and Medicare benefits for one set of taxes, (c) welfare programs, and (d) even the ACA, which in its preventive care provisions assumes (to the point of being a medical fiction) that women are the only biological and psychological parents of children and the only ones responsible for meeting their needs.

    Nearly all the $17 trillion debt can be traced to these unconstitutional subsidies (many of them unfunded) to patriarchal families.

  133. A good reason to vote for HRC is to get a better a rights of the child concept in our legal system, perhaps into the constitution, that establishes a default rule that both parents are responsible for meeting financial and personal needs of children would make our system much better. Parents could transfer this to a single parent only if the single parent consented or to willing adoptive parents, but absent this, both parents are responsible.

    Births to illegal immigrants in the US are again on the rise; births to Latinos are also high and these families are more likely to do the sole breadwinner/SAHM set up and then taxpayers have to pay for a lot of remedial work to help how this distorts these children's upbringing.

    Mexican women in the US have about 3 children per woman. In Mexico, 2 per woman. The US subsidies to patriarchal families have to be the reason.

    Meanwhile, 40% of college-educated Gen-X women and 30% of college-educated Gen-X men have not had children, in part due to bias against the 2-earner/2-parent family and related work-life balance issues (there would be more marketplace reform if the federal system didn't force subsidies to patriarchal families).

  134. It's pieces like this that really add some wind to the Tea Party's sails - is that really Mr. Bruni's intent?

    There are two things you cannot deny Hillary Clinton - she is brilliant with an encyclopedic knowledge of the issues, and she is tough as nails and probably better prepared than any other politician to take on the looming battle with the far right.

    I love Elizabeth Warren also - she is fantastic. But the election is far away, and there is plenty of time for her to further emerge.

    There are many people who now wish Hillary had won the last election instead of Obama, and these are people who voted for Obama.

    There is also a lot to be said the for gracious embracing of Obama by the Clintons after the election. Bill Clinton was a key player in the recent re-election of Obama, which of course Obama failed to mention in his victory speech.

    Despite the freight train full of baggage that follows the Clintons around, I think a majority of the American people will be more than happy to return this power couple to the White House.

  135. Paul Shindler,

    I believe that I speak for many when I say that had Hillary Clinton exhibited an ounce of political courage in 2002-03 and opposed our bogus invasion of Iraq in reaction to a terrorist attack by Saudi Wahhabis or even admitted prior to the 2008 race that her political calculation to support the war had been a mistake, she would have enjoyed my unqualified support.

  136. Howard Dean, to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.

  137. Being of the same age as the Clintons, I feel it is not out of place to ask, "When are you too old to be President?" Typically, persons assume the office when in their fifties, though there have been exceptions. Mrs. Clinton would not be the oldest President at the start of her term, but close to it.

    Having been through it once before, I cannot imagine her wanting to experience a multi-year campaign and then the stress of a four year term around age 70. She (and her husband) have already had health scares.

    I recall Republicans bemoaning the loss of an election with, "We never should have nominated the 'old man.'" While being a woman might fire up the female electorate, the novelty of gender is not always enough. Youthfulness and appearance do enter into elections and these can be serious disadvantages as one gets on in years.

  138. Hillary Clinton has earned a chance to run for president. In 2008, no. She went about the nation crowing about "30 years of experience" when she had only a few years in the Senate and lots of other good things on her resume, but presidential they weren't.

    Yet, as far as I can tell, she has no vision for the country and our future, other than being the first woman. It appears that by 2016, we are going to need a president with a very broad vision indeed and lots of nitty gritty political skills, too. We are going to need a forceful leader who can unite vision with action and help show us a way out of the mess and into some kind of new era.

    I don't care if she is female, green skinned or blue haired (she might achieve the latter by then), the question is whether she is capable of thinking on a larger scale than her tight, elite education and life experiences have shown so far. She is well known for always doing the right thing, right on schedule and working very hard at it. We need more than that and there has been little sign, other than the bold move of running for the Senate from NY state in the first place, that she can pull that off. Bold is not her style. Safe and aggressively competent is what we have come to expect.

    My hope is that she will take a good measure of herself and decide either to offer up a larger vision or, please, sit it out and have a happy post-politics life. She's done enough.


  139. With the experience of her global travels as SOS, her connections and her demonstrated whip sharp smarts, I welcome her high fashion hat in the ring.

  140. There is nothing new here. Since the modern presidency of FDR, the nation has sought to move forward generationally, as an attempt to change the status quo.

    FDR, Truman and Eisenhower were World War I generation presidents. JFK ashure in the World War II generation of LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush 41. Bill Clinton and Bush 43 were Vietnam generation presidents. Obama, a baby boomer candidate, beat two Vietnam generation candidates (McCain and Romney).

    Hillary Clinton (Vietnam generation) has other significant drawbacks. Invincibility and battle tested? It didn't work in 2008; why would anyone presume it will work 8 years later? Executive experience? Her 2008 campaign was a disaster and there is no evidence that she ran the State Department well. As a matter of fact, she will be most remembered by being asleep at the switch during Benghazi. And then backing up the bus on Susan Rice.

    Add in the Clinton fatigue factor and their shady dealings and it is hard to see the country turning toward her as a change agent.

    As an independent voter, from my relatively unbiased perspective, the DNC has no bench outside of Washington. While the GOP has 30 sitting governors to pick from.

    All of the DNC talk of HC is simply a futile attempt to whistle in the grave yard. Knowing a GOP president outside of Washington is more likely in 2016.

    Otherwise HC is a perfect candidate.

  141. Excellent point about her failure in the 2008 primary, a time when she had it all: the money, the momentum, the expectancy. All the same things she is supposed to have now.

  142. Is this the same Frank Bruni who wrote this in December?

    "The media has a wearying tendency — a corrosive tic — to put everything that happens in Washington through the same cynical political grinder, subjecting it to the same cynical checklist of who’s up, who’s down..."

    Wearying is right. Et tu, Frank?

  143. As we have seen, it matters less who is in the White House and more so who has Congressional majorities. Obama was not elected as a visionary really - he had a vision socially perhaps, but not one using the levers of government - he was a local community organizer in his vision. He was elected as a pragmatist as one to lead Bipartisan progress. Well that was torpedoed with McConnell's mantra in 2011 - "our single most important goal is to make Obama a one term president". and since then its been zero about the American people, government and the economy and entirely the politics of getting the GOP back in the oval office. So any legislative successes that can be attributed to the Obama administration are simply long-overdue, highly compromised visions of past administrations - many of them from the Clinton years.

    Hillary will run. she will have a vision appropriate to the time that she needs to have one. And i think the 2014 election will bring democrats and moderate republicans back to the chambers who will be willing to engage in a New Clinton Progressivism.

  144. On the road to the coronation never forget that a week can be an eternity in politics. And never forget that the deadliest act against the American poor was Bill Clinton's abolition of the Roosevelt-era Aid to Families with Dependent Children, an act that has cast millions into the deepest poverty (offset somewhat by increases to the earned income tax credit.)
    Never forget that there are a whole bunch of urban congressional districts where Dems get 80 per cent of the vote, and there is a bigger bunch of suburban districts where the GOP gets 60.
    There has not been a real liberal Dem presidential candidate for eons.
    Eizabeth Warren 2016, or Cory Booker, both will bring hope for distributive justice. Hillary Clinton, 1992, not so much. Wrong on Iraq, wrong on Rwanda, and wrong for a party needing a New Deal to champion.
    No more dynastic privileges and melodrama.

  145. Even someone as new to the national stage as Elizabeth Warren has a much better defined position on the issues than either of the Clintons whose course of choice was to “triangulate.” At least with Warren we have someone who spoke of the dangers posed by financial deregulation whereas the Clintons raised vast sums from those pushing deregulation that were only used to pursue their personal ambitions.

    I predict that history will not deal kindly with the Clinton presidency. The shock & awe capitalism & rush to privatization of assets in Russia imposed by Clinton cronies as a condition for aid led directly to Putin. The decision to invade Iraq is the only foreign affairs fiasco of the same magnitude.

    Some misguided souls credit the Clintons for a period of so-called prosperity & growth. But the newly minted Nobel prize in economics laureate Robert Shiller detected irrational exuberance to such an extent that Shiller was even able to get the recalcitrant Alan Greenspan to admit to it in one of the few intelligible utterances Greenspan made. So perhaps it was just dumb luck that the Bubble did not burst until Bill left office.

    So if the criteria is that it is time for a woman then forget about Hillary & keep your eyes upon Elizabeth Warren & you will see a real person with down to earth American values who has the ability to penetrate to the core of the problems confronting the US & then to propose common-sense practical solutions that are truly evidence, not ideology, based.

  146. Frankly, there's an Oklahoma City girl who's got more fire in the belly and much more authentic populist DNA than Hillary Clinton...and her name is Elizabeth Warren, the senior senator from the great liberal state of Massachusetts.

    Warren, Oklahoma's top high-school debater, won a debate scholarship to George Washington University and has a law degree from Rutgers.

    Warren voted as a Republican for many years, but is now a staunchly progressive Democrat who saw the GOP's evil darkness and fled like any decent human with a conscience.

    She's a former University of Pennsylvania and Harvard law professor.

    Warren was an early champion of the creation of a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) established by the Dodd–Frank Reform and Consumer Protection Act signed by President Obama in 2010.

    Warren worked on implementation of the bureau as a special assistant to the president.

    Liberal groups and consumer advocacy groups pushed for Obama to nominate Warren as the agency's permanent director and she was strongly opposed by financial institutions, Republican members of Congress and other economic vultures who believed Warren would be an overly zealous regulator.

    Progressives are grateful for HIllary's service, but the times they are a changin' and the time has come for the United States to get progressive and re-establish the common good of 315 million Americans.

    The smart girl from Oklahoma has the brains, moxie and popular support to be our next President.

  147. Don't forget she'd be the first with Native American Indian ancestry. I mean, claiming to be has worked for her for awhile..

  148. From our lips to God's ear.

    Would that it could be so.

  149. IMO, the two best progressive females in the country are former or even current Republicans; Elizabeth Warren and Sheila Bair. Their criticism of the financial industry comes straight out of the Teddy Roosevelt playbook.

  150. Hillary Clinton was probably the strongest candidate in 2008, and she should have become president then. She likely would have been a more seasoned, and tougher, president than Obama turned out to be. Not that she wouldn't have faced the same implacable Republicans in Congress, but she would have been less willing to compromise with their extreme positions, and more willing to call their bluff.

    Now she has become closely identified with the Obama administration, not necessarily a bad thing, but not likely to be that helpful in running for the presidency. But with any luck we may have a strong progressive Democratic candidate in 2016: Elizabeth Warren.

  151. Less willing to comprise. Her husband's administration gave us deregulation of banks, media ownership, commodities future and made banks and commodities casino gambling institutions and media of the 1% for 1% by 1%.

    NAFTA which destroyed the fabric of America as it became a undemocratic corporate owned nation. Thank you Bill Clinton and the republicon party spent $600 million of taxpayers money trying to bring him down while he was doing their dirty work.

  152. "She likely would have been a more seasoned, and tougher, president than Obama turned out to be."

    Pure speculation, and it's unclear why anyone would come to this conclusion. After all, in the only outright competition between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton--as candidates for the Democratic nomination in 2008--Mr. Obama proved "stronger." He won; she lost.

  153. How about closely tied to Clinton Admin and deregulation of banks, commodities and media ownership and signed in NAFTA.

    What is wrong with the democrats who want more of the Clintons, Rubin, Summers and Schummer of New York. No thank you. They are corporate owned and came into Washington with just Arkansas money and now part of the 1% who get rich off the backs of the rest of us by pushing paper.

  154. People are indeed frustrated with DC. In the past that has led to a "throw the bums out" mentality. While polls show the same mentality is present now, I am not sure this reaction will prevail in 2016. It is common to say that "insiders" are the source of DC's inability to function. But a closer look shows that it is "outsiders" causing the problems. From Tea Party outsiders willing to stop Congress in its tracks in order to get their way, to an outsider president who came to Washington to change the culture but did not take the time to get to know the culture well enough to change it, much of the gridlock in Washington is produced by DC-outsiders coming to town and attempting to force their single-mindedness on a place that, when it works, thrives on compromise.

    So in 2016 voters may want someone who can actually govern. Someone who knows they won't always get their way, but will put up the good fight while listening to and respecting opponents. In other words, voters might be ready for a grown up to enter the room. Like Hillary.

    Also, Mr. Bruni may underestimate that glass ceiling thing. A generation of women 50 and beyond passionately want to see a woman president in their lifetime. Not to break a glass ceiling, but because the perspective a woman would bring to the job differs fundamentally and importantly from that of anyone who has ever held the office before. Who is the ultimate outside but a member of a group that has been on the outside for 240 years?

  155. When you complain of political royalty, it is difficult not to remember that that was the FIRST among many problems with the presidency of George Bush II. That being said, there was absolutely no way I could have voted for her in 2008. As I explained to a young friend of mind who supported Hilary in 2008, that would have made the history of the presidency in my adult life Bush Clinton Bush Clinton, and I'm getting kind of old to only have two names on the list. We don't have leaders by right of heredity in this country. That is, in fact, the point of this country. In her time as secretary of state, Hilary did earn her stripes. America retained some of its aggressive postures during that time, quickly helping topple Qaddafi ( which you might recall Reagan trying in the 80's?) while winding down failed military strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan. (OK, Afghanistan after the surge.) During her tenure as secretary, America regained (probably temporarily) the respect it earned way way back in the twentieth century from other nations around the world. She did a good job. I can vote for her comfortably in 2016 in a way I could not have in 2008. It would be great if the Democrats could nominate an even better candidate ( I cannot say anything bad about Corey Booker?) or if the Republicans could nominate someone even moderately agreeable (might I recommend the mayor of Oklahoma City, or any other Republican understanding the importance of infrastructure to the economy).

  156. My problems with Hilary are the same as they were in 2008 . She is a centrist, corporate candidate at a time when we need someone to push the nation in a progressive direction. We don't need another 8 years of Robert Rubin running the show. On the other hand, what proressie Dem would have a shot at winning? In fact,are there any progressive Dems aside from Bernie Sanders? Bottom line - if Hilary runs in the general election I will vote for her but I wish there was a viable alternative.

  157. It's a long time until the election. A lot can happen. Still, I think this column is probably off base. Warren and Blasio are nothing the equivalent of a Palin or Cruz, and there's nothing on the left equivalent to the Koch Brothers, Limbaugh, etc., that are so irrational, which actually does turn off the great middle of this country. Hillary is probably just the steady, intelligent, experienced hand we need after this period of idiocy.

  158. The Democrats' biggest hurdle will be overcoming the public's increasing antagonism toward the incumbent Democratic administration, the long-awaited health care bungled rollout helping to cement a perception of ill-preparedness and incompetence that will rub off on any would-be successor.

    Although coronations to the nomination are more apt to occur in the Republican primary process (Bush in 1988, Dole in 1996, Bush in 2000, Romney in 2012), Democrats would be wise to do all they can to avoid that perception in the 2016 race.

  159. Well, I'm no Democratic strategist, but I sure as heck think Hillary would make a great president. (I thought it in 2008, too, when I voted for her in the Democratic primary.)

    I have to admit, though, that I'm getting tired of the will-she won't-she nail that the press is intent to hammer again and again.

    The question that remains, for me, is whether she can win the national election. I pray, for the sake of this country, that she can.

  160. To the press, Yes, she will.
    And to you, Yes, she can.

    I'm masochistically grateful, in a way, that Barack Obama won, even if it's true that Hillary Clinton would have made for a more effective president (though I don't believe that's correct; and, frankly, I think she lost to a better person who was more articulate, more thoughtful, more inspiriting and possessed superior ideas about the future of America). I don't feel the need to tergiversate when promulgating that notion, either.
    Obama's election has evoked the most egregiously atavistic overreaction from the conservative rank-and-file, which has tarnished the brand (thank God) to near irreparability. The toxic stigma that reactionary populists have brought down on the party's name has caused, at least at a national level, the Republican label to become inextricably associated with nativism, avaricious oligarchy, vulgar bigotry, gross antiquarianism, irresponsible injudiciousness, conspiratorial claptrap and emetic extremism, among other things.

    Apart from the deep and extensive economic harm its members have caused the country (which I think is greater than even most progressives realize), the self-immolation of the GOP has been (a) fun to watch and may have (b) provided a gateway for a truly progressive period in American politics.

  161. Bet you will enjoy the higher taxes that President Hillary will impose on you.

  162. Hillary was the presumptive front runner eight years ago, and she squandered it on an arrogant incompetent staff and wishy washy DINO positions on the issues, so Obama stepped in with a far scrappier staff and some soaring populist rhetoric and won.

    I don't see anything different this time around. Perhaps this time we will get an actual progressive like Elizabeth Warren to challege her instead of the wimpy aloof centrist Obama actually has been in office.

    We shouldn't forget that the Bill Clinton administration sold out the party base with his sell outs to big business, especially NAFTA. Unless I start hearing Hillary proposing specific progressive ideas to get the economy moving again I fully intend to find someone else to get excited about.

  163. When the history of this country is written by future historians, it is hard to see where the Bush's and Clinton's can come off as anything but power hungry incompetents that led the country into the worst catastrophes it has ever had to face.

    Yet who do we see trying to get their hands on the presidency again but Jeb Bush, another of the Bush tribe, and Hillary, the renter of the White House and participant in the Glass-Steagal elimination disaster, and, as if two Clintons have not been disaster enough, Chelsea Clinton, who is being shoe-horned into the running as a backup princess from Arkansas royalty.

    Enough of these self-appointed lords and ladies and their attempts to establish family dynasties. We can do much better than this collection of arrogant power seekers. So let's see if we can find for our next president another Washington or Jefferson or Lincoln or Roosevelt, and break the line of succession that is trying to form among our pool of would-be royalty.

  164. If Hillary doesn't win the Presidency won't all these little local politicians pushing forth assumed friends of Hillary for local office be surprised? Not only that, but terribly disappointed that the hoped for spoils won't be there for them come January, 2017. A lot of small time politicians are assuming Hillary will win and are acting accordingly, already getting in line for their hoped for piece of the spoils, even though this is only 2013. Anthony Weiner's wife isn't the only one trying to use closeness to Hillary to get somewhere, whether Hillary realizes it now or not.

  165. I am glad to read this, and thank you Mr. Bruni for finally saying it. I supported Hilary in 2008, but am extremely reluctant to do so this time, for all the reasons you state here, and for being disgusted at the current political climate in Washington, although my ire is much more with the GOP, think of what Obama could have done if the Republicans, Tea Party or mainstream, had been willing to work with him rather than against him. That Obama explored yanking Biden from the ticket in 2012 and replacing him with Hilary makes Biden a sympathetic figure to me, and one of the few DC figures I'd support right now, in addition to Ms. Warren, or for that matter Bernie Sanders, if he decided to run.

    As someone who's first election was Carter/Reagan, and who voted for Carter and never regretted it, just the way I never regretted voting for Jerry Brown in the NJ primary in 1992, I am also glad to see the pendulum swing again, to moderate liberals, the Left, and beyond, to a third party, maybe the Greens, who would build the just, inclusive, equal society that we glimpsed today with the vote on ENDA, and could see more, much more, if the passion for change holds up.

  166. If we are going to go with the "family plan," I want to be able to vote for one of the Obama kids. They seem cool.

    Actually, for that matter, any kid will do. Is there a chance that we could get a constitutional amendment through that prohibits anyone over the age of 35 being president. That would eliminate a whole bunch of possibilities that scare the bejeezus out of me.

  167. don't trust anyone over 30.

  168. Hillary Clinton's Achilles heel will remain her vote as senator in favor of Bush #43's war in Iraq. It was an immense political blunder that will haunt her in 2016 and has permanently tarnished her historical legacy. But I sympathize with her dilemma. I served as a medical corpsman in Vietnam. So though I was disappointed by her vote, it's really hard for me to judge her harshly. And that sentiment holds even more so for all the fellow Vietnam veterans who voted for the war in Iraq (such as John Kerry, Chuck Hagel, and John McCain) in the Senate. And especially holds true for Colin Powell, who as secretary of state, really squandered his good name and political currency in lending his support to the administration. I have always thought he just should have just resigned rather than allowing himself to be trapped by the neocons with the role of the "good soldier." It's rather tragic.

  169. You can choose to continue to punish her for that....while ignoring her actual speech at the time and, more importantly, the emotional state the country was in then and the exploitation of that state by Republicans and the Bush Admin. to threaten, intimidate and bully anyone who didn't give Bush that authorization. Or you can choose to haunt her about it.

    No congressperson should be coerced via cynical jingoism and exploitation of a national tragedy to get the vote a president wants, but that is exactly what happened. The campaign to get that vote was, ultimately, more destructive than the vote itself, because w/o it, those votes would never have happened and that war would never have happened. It reminds me of Republicans and all their hollering about morality over Pres. Clintion's private moral failing while never dawning of them that willfully going after a person in order to destroy that person and/or for personal or political gain, which is what Republicans did, is far more immoral than Clinton's transgression.

  170. Virginia: I'm sorry, but hundreds of thousands of innocent dead & millions exiled for no reason is not comparable to an adulterous fling. I'm sure a lot of Senators voted to authorize the invasion because they didn't bother to resesarch the issue, or they were afraid of the hysteria in the country, but it doesn't matter. Either way it was a profound moral & professional failure.

  171. Colin Powell is the tragic figure of our time.

  172. I think suggesting that Hillary Clinton will be the de facto Democratic candidate in 2016, just because she'll be the first female president and she's 'next in line', is an insult to both women and Democratic voters. Does she have the requisite experience? Yes. Does she have the leadership? Maybe. Is she qualified? Maybe.

    There seems to be a complacency in suggesting that she should be the next nominee, when there likely will be a string of better, more inspiring candidates who are more passionately liberal and will not just be the status quo.

    I like the Clintons but I am also tired of their reign over American politics. It'd be nice to see some change.

  173. We don't need no royalty in either party. We need competence and honesty, not a figurehead. At the moment we have a mess of unfinished promises memorialized by Nobel recognition.

  174. This kind of carping is inevitable during the long off-season, as Hillary decides what she wants to do. But once she gets in, Hillary will be a powerhouse candidate, bringing the fight right to the Republicans -- their obstructionism, their failure on immigration, their war on women, their voter suppression, their government shutdowns. She will either decide to be the warrior we need, or she won't get in at all. This woman is smart, experienced, gutsy and tough. A Hillary - Christie campaign would produce fireworks enough for the history books, but my money is on Hillary. For all the potential pitfalls and deficits mentioned in this article, just remember: the Republican candidate will be tied to the Republican legacy.

  175. I fail to see how toughness supercedes the present rules of Congress i.e. the filibuster, the Hastert Rule, ability to obstruct. This is not a dictatorship. The first task is to vote out the extremists. As long as they have such power, the nation is ungovernable.

  176. Actually, Mary, it's not either/or, but both. 435 House seats and 34 Senate seats will be contested in 2016. Hillary, if she runs, will make the most compelling argument against the extremists, and have a more powerful effect down-ticket than any other potential Democrat.

  177. I like Hillary, and I hope she runs. But from a practical standpoint, and even though we boomers like to say 60 is the new 40, she'll be in her upper 60s by the time she runs. Add to that the fact that Biden seems to be the main competition, and would be nearing his mid 70s, we Dems are going to have an age problem on our hands. I'm old enough to remember talking about Reagan in "old geezer" terms when I was in my late 20s, and I'll bet most boomers were guilty of this; in fact, it was our generation that coined the term "don't trust anyone over 30!" Yes, there's not one Republican out there I would trust with Medicare and Social Security, and although the "sweet language of the street" that Chris Christie is so fond of is amusing, even he would have a shelf life of only a few months before I tired of his smart-mouthed antics. The Dems are quickly facing an age problem, and they'd better be looking for a younger, under 40 year-old age grouping of candidates to cure it.

    Still, I'll vote for Hillary if she runs, but only because she would be the most likely candidate to take heed of my concerns as I dive headfirst into old age.

  178. Biden has been a pretty dreadful VP, ineffective with the Senate, immaterial with most voters.

    Nice guy, but his only chance to be president would come at the expense of a national tragedy.

  179. Why is Obamacare a meltdown? If I wanted health care to remain inaccessible for millions of people potentially covered, I would stick with the focus group tested “train wreck” slogan. One should stay with the talking points in order to really distract attention from reality while focusing on the inane. People are signing up every day and millions are excited and budgeting for December 15th and February 15th‘s opportunity to have Affordable Care.

    Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers are a distraction. She like the President is a Center Right *neo-conservative*, in the Third Way, http://tinyurl.com/puoey33, sense that her husband, Tony Blair and others made popular in the 1990s. It is very hard to run against an eminently qualified centrist candidate. She will be the next President if she decides to run.

    Our attention should be on two things – 1) sticking with the third way and making good centrist policies work. 2) Going to the Polls (It's Election Day in the States) and voting against the Wrong Way which is the Republican Tea Party attack and obstruct method of government constipation.

    We American's are easily pulled out from our roots by people clambering for our attention. We miss the historical long term perspective. It happened in 2000, 2004 and again in 2010. What's missing from our debates is a conservative essence that says shift from the positions that years of evidence show to be failures and stay on the path which is steadily progressive.

  180. Frank Bruni not withstanding Hillary will be elected President in 2016 and sworn in on January 20, 2017. The country will be bettter of for this. It isn't just that Hillary is a woman it is that she will be the most prepared person ever elected. It isn't based on Bill being at her side it is based on her understanding of government and the world. Living in the midst of and being an active part of the presidency during Bill's two terms can't be discounted as understanding the levers of power.Being elected to two terms as a Senator and then being Secretary of State has given her the contacts and knowledge of Congress and the world. She is brilliant and has a work history that makes her special clearly in her own right.

    Will winning be easy- NO. Will it happen- YES.

  181. Typical Beltway babble. Prepared to govern? Anyone elected governor or VP is more prepared, and anyone re-elected, even moreso.

  182. I'm a woman democratic voter who has always preferred Joe Biden as President over Hillary. I won't vote for people who cast themselves as "inevitable." That was what turned me off about Hillary when she ran against President Obama, and it turns me off now. president is worth suffering through 'inevitability". Joe Biden is a highly concentrated, lively, non-pompous, bright person. He has discernment. The very idea of Chelsea Clinton as president is horrifyingly narcissistic..

  183. What makes me weary is the thought of 4 more years of extreme partisan fighting. Electing Hillary would guarantee the Clinton haters would once again rev up for a relentless offense. Is there a man or woman out there who could actually begin to unite us? We will all go down under the weight of our serious fiscal problems if we can't figure out a way to work together. Hillary is not "the guy" we need at this point in our history. Sorry, ladies.

  184. Given their antics during the Clinton terms, and now, it is not hard to surmise that for Republicans of the hard right, no Democratic president is legitimate. When you have a political faction that lives in a different reality, when compromise becomes a betrayal of "principle", when that faction fervently believes that they are doing God's work (and thus any tactic, including out-and-out lying) is required, unity is not to be had by any means. I sense, through comment columns in various places, that many people are being turned off by politics; I share some of that feeling of weariness (but that may be a function of my age --- I can remember FDR in my childhood). My fear is that generla apathy will leave the field clear for a minority of dedicated activists, and they will not be of the ill of Elizabeth Warren.

  185. This nation has NEVER been united. You may not be aware how hated JFK was, how despised LBJ was by the racists in the South...even before we sent massive numbers to Vietnam.

    The only issue is can Democrats elect someone with enough support to neutralize the Mad Tea Partiers?

    I don't even know if she will run. I don't know if she would be the best candidate. I do know that her husband was the finest president in my lifetime. I disagreed with many things, but he succeeded in so many ways where Obama has not.

    I'd love to see the map that shows a path to victory for Elizabeth Warren. As much as I admire her, poll her name in Florida and tell me about how that works out for you.

  186. Seems true, we get the government we deserve. Now days that translates to one that is dishonest, untruthful and corrupt. Hillary and Bill, after all its a team, would and could not change that, nor could I think of any one that would, and that is sad. We deserve better and someday in another century we will demand it. For now, just hope Hilary's 'what difference does it make' attitude does not become infectious with all the people.

  187. It is disgusting how so many of the elites in the Democratic Party keep talking about Mrs. Clinton as though she could have the nomination for the asking.

    Elizabeth Warren is light-years ahead of Mrs. Clinton on issues of substance, such as taxes and regulation of finance. Also, in the matter of integrity, there is no comparison. As pointed out in this column, does anyone want to have another four years of Clinton/Rodham scandals? That would make the Republican obsession with Benghazi look like a walk in the park.

    Finally, it is an outrage how some people, because of their name or their spouse, think they are entitled to becoming President. I hate "dynasties" in American politics. It seems related to greed.

    We need someone new and fresh with ideas as our next president. I hope Senator Elizabeth Warren runs for the office.

  188. Heaven is place called Elizabeth Warren.

    Oh, and we would break two glass ceilings at once, one being the first woman president, and the other...

  189. Elizabeth Warren, along with all the Democratic women in the Senate, has endorsed Hillary Clinton and signed a letter urging her to run for office. Warren has said she's not running. That said, if you like Warren so much, I hope you'll take her endorsement to heart, and join her in supporting Clinton for President. You'll probably see Warren as Fed Chair if that happens, which would be a good thing for our country and our economy.

  190. Her integrity was an at an all time high when she checked the Native American box, right?

  191. The last Clinton in power produced a balanced budget, a shrinking deficit and an economy that was firing on all cylinders. If Hillary (or even Chelsea)could do that for us, the American Citizens, she'd get my vote!

  192. If Hillary is the answer, what is the question? She represents the Wall Street entitled wing of the Democratic Party that polluted our political landscape with bundles of cash. For the Clintons, it's always all about them and all about the money. I will work my butt off to support Elizabeth Warren!

  193. When I read that Sen. Schumer endorsed Hillary in a speech in Iowa, I took it to be a tacit admission that the Democratic Party had realized the error of its ways in promoting the interests of Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton 2008.


    Those of who favored Obama 5.5. years ago do not remember the DNC vote to take away Hillary's wins in Michigan and Florida.

    In Illinois, we were aware of complaints that the Obama campaign brought in voters to win in Iowa. Since Iowa is a caucus state, IDs are not checked to make sure the voter is a resident of the state.

    To the best of my memory, Hillary won the state primaries, except for Illinois, that did not have caucus style voting.

    Democrats could be well positioned to make gains in 2014 because of the shutdown, but it will mean delaying and fixing the ACA.

    People may have loved Obama's coolness in 2008 and found him better than the alternative in 2012, but he is not the fighter that Hillary would be in facing down Republicans, Tea Party or otherwise.

  194. I livedin Iowa when Obama took the state caucuses in 2008, It wasn't voters from anywhere but Iowa that made the difference. He had the better operation. It is incorrect that IDs aren't checked. You have to register to vote and prove residence just like a primary.

  195. I've tried imagining who Congressional Republicans would dislike as much as if not more than Obama, and the answer is Hilary Clinton. We've seen how well that animosity has worked for us; what sort of masochists would we call ourselves if we put ourselves through four or eight more years of self-destruction?

  196. Congressional Republicans are going to loathe, and go after to destroy, any Democratic president. Doesn't matter who it is.

  197. As a progressive and a Vietnam veteran who is fed up with militarism in America, I can tell you there is no way I will vote for Hillary. She fully supported the illegal Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq and never withdrew that support. As far as I'm concerned, that is unforgivable.

    I would be so adamantly opposed to Hillary that I just might launch a website to oppose her nomination if it looks like she was going to win it. I sneer at so-called liberals who are willing to overlook her support of the Iraq war. They are hypocrites with a capitol H.

    If Hillary is smart, she will do the nation and the Democratic Party a gigantic favor by not running. There are too many other qualified candidates like Cuomo and Elizabeth Warren who deserve to be the party's candidate.

    I certainly hope there are many other Democrats who feel the same way that I do. If not, then I must consider the party truly barren of principle and hypocritical. Supporting Hillary is a good way for the Democratic Party to lose adherents.

  198. What it says is: Americans will only pay attention to what was on the media three minutes ago but nothing else.
    And prefer to wallow in ignorance and be fed lies.
    Suckers for publicists' hype.

  199. What was inevitable about Hillary's inevitability was that it would inevitably evaporate. Between now and summer 2016 Hillary will enter into and depart out of inevitability at least six more times. In the end, the wise pundits will sigh a wise collective punditly sigh and tell us it all goes to prove Hillary's inner toughness. She's battled through to the end. That's our girl. Call her "The Comeback Crone", if you will. She's earned it.

  200. Ever since her unconscionable vote to allow Bush's war, I've been saying she'd never get mine. But should she finally admit she was wrong I would have second thoughts because I think that in some cases a repair can be better than a blind replacement. The latter is too easy.

  201. Clinton's performance as Secretary of State was, at best, vanilla. And that is for people who like her. To be fair, the results of her stint in the job won't be known for many years, but the vanilla or "meh" may stick around for her campaign run - if it happens.Liberals have already begun to try to discredit Christie, but it's small stuff compared to the personal antics of Hillary's husband - not to speak of his cloudy presidential legacy. Conservatives can't live on "What does it matter?" alone, but reportedly there was bad blood between Mrs. C. and her boss. Are liberal media going to make him look like the bad guy after he leaves office? I think not. Hillary is counting on the millions of votes that come like clockwork from African Americans.

  202. I would not count on that (black votes). Black Americans have learned what it feels like to vote for an actual black candidate; they won't accept ideas like "Clinton is the first black POTUS" anymore. They have had an actual black POTUS.

    My guess is they won't bother to vote in anything like these numbers, if the next election is between two old white guys.

  203. Senator Schumer, tiring of the Senate, wants to be Secretary of State or Defense in a Clinton Presidency. Hence, his endorsement of Hillary.

  204. If Hillary were elected, if I am not mistaken, she would beat out Ronald Reagan as the oldest U.S. President ever.

  205. No, you are wrong. Ronald Reagan was 69 when he was elected. HRC just turned 66 and will be 68 in 2016.

  206. So?

  207. Finally a thinking person on the board.

  208. Mrs. Clinton's opportunity to be President has passed, in my opinion. When she and Mr. Obama fought for office in 2008 the country was prepared for change, a change championed by a person of vision and action. It was perceived by the electorate that the visions espoused would be successfully accomplished - but such has not been the case.

    Mr. Obama (whom I supported twice) offered fiery rhetoric but has been a very poor performer in the trenches, where it counts. The personal pressures against him notwithstanding, the man has not been up to the task of actualizing his vision. His remoteness and unwillingness to be a personable adversary, one who practices "horse-trading" face to face, and not 9 to 5, has positioned him as a remote coach and not a fierce defender of his principles. He had the eloquence, and gained the mandate, but he left the field of battle unattended. I, for one, am terribly disappointed.

    Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, has never been in a position of elected leadership save her short term in the Senate. She has been shown to carry her fame into the Secretary of State role well, but as stated in the column - out of sight, out of mind. The glimpse that we have of her during Mr. Clinton's first term was not flattering. She was secretive, frequently angry, and she portrayed a sense of undue entitlement. The baggage she and her husband would bring to a run for office could fill a Boeing 787. Not the right person (any longer - if ever); not the right time.

  209. I agree. Hillary Clinton's time has passed. There is a lot of Clinton baggage that will be brought up - if a primary challenger appears and certainly by a Republican adversary.

    She would do well to let Secretary of State be the last chapter of her political life.

  210. You are right on the money. I think the world of Hillary Clinton, but she's the wrong candidate for Democrats in 2016.

    It's really, really hard for one party to win three presidential elections in a row. Just ask Al Gore. He ran to succeed the very popular Bill Clinton, during economic boom times, with the federal government running big budget surpluses - but he lost, although just barely.

    After eight years, people will want something new. I'm a huge Obama fan, but the fact is, what Democrats need in 2016 is a fresh face from outside the Obama administration, a dynamic outsider who has a new agenda - maybe a governor, or a senator not closely tied to the incumbent.

    We're still three years from the 2016 election. The Democrat with the best chance to keep the presidency is someone we're not thinking about yet. Give it time - in a year or two, we'll start to realize who that Democrat is.


  211. Let's not forget that Gore was in fact voted for by a majority of the nation. He got more over half a million votes more than Bush. In any logical world, he would have been president.

  212. But Gore won the election and George Bush followed Reagan, so it is not that difficult to win three consecutive terms.

  213. In my view that candidate would be former governor of VT Howard Dean.

    In any case I will vote for any Democrat who is nominated.
    Keep in mind the critical appointments to the Supreme Court.
    Any other issue is merely a distraction.

  214. As a life-long Democrat, I will not vote for another Clinton. Clinton's focus was on his rich pals on Wall Street, not the average American, most definitely not low-income Americans. Clintonomics was just the lesser of two evils. And he made me very angry. I had great hopes for change with Obama and have been tremendously disappointed. Obama has done nothing to stop the rich from getting richer, Hilary won't either. Money rules America right now. Clinton, Bush, whatever. I've had more enough of both. I'm waiting for someone that truly cares and will fight for the average American, for the less-fortunate, for our children, for our environment, for our future. No one has done that for over 30 years, Democrat or Republican. If all the Democrats can do is come up with another Clinton, so be it. But, I won't be voting.

  215. Perhaps it was Bill Kristol's reference to her as the "old candidate" competing with "younger GOP candidates with "fresh ideas."

    First of all, every time I see Kristol, I'm reminded he's not Bill Buckley. More to the point, the ideas the GOP has have created gross income inequality, serial market bubbles, sodden banks, a giant recession and no jobs.

    Say what you will about Mrs. Clinton, a lot of women of a certain age are specifically tired of men messing with their bodies and generally tired waiting.

  216. The shared perception that something is obvious may actually lower the probability that it will occur.

  217. Jerry Brown, having been Governor of California twice, has more executive experience, running one of the largest economies on the planet, than any possible candidate in the nation.

  218. If Jerry Brown were to win the 2016 election, he would 78 years old on the day he took office.

    Were he to win a re-election, he would be 86 years old by the time he retired from the Presidency.

    Not that there is anything wrong with that. Just sayin'...

  219. Bloomberg would be my ideal democratic or republican candidate. He was socially liberal, economically conservative, and run the city impeccably. He will be missed in NYC.

  220. Interesting. I hadn't thought of him.

    He kind of lost me with the soda thing. There needs to be a balance between concern and pragmatism and I think he lost that balance.

  221. I don't want someone who has to look up to everyone else.

  222. Remember Mitt Romney? Remember how he sucked up most of the money and endorsements from Republican party officials in advance of the primaries? Remember how that frightened off some of the better qualified competitors? Remember how we were left with a bunch of midgets? Remember how he lost?
    I see Hillary has sucked up a lot of money for 2016. Once the party officials start falling over themselves to endorse her...
    Will we never learn?

  223. Italian sociologist Vilfrado Pareto (1848-1923) comes immediately to mind with his "circulation of elites" theory. Regimes come and go, revolutions may occur, but in the end, one group of elites merely replaces another. It is pretty much crumbs for the little people, whomever is in charge.

    I was once a Hillary fan, but no longer. Bill, Hill, & the entitled Chelsea have managed to ensconce themselves in the American aristocracy, and in their very public process of self-promotion have become one of "them." Fortune amassed, hobnobbing with the plutocrats and oligarchs, and bonafide members of the wheeling-and-dealing, jockeying-for-position inside-the-beltway Club (read NYT Mark LeibovIch's "This Town").

    Bill & Hill are what Chrystia Freeland referred to as Robert Rubin Democrats. Bill may be glib, engaging, & appear the man-of-the-people at those town hall meetings, but he sold us down the river with the repeal of Glass-Steagall (engineered by Rubin and a bunch of other Wall Streeters) and NAFTA.

    Okay so Hill is not Bill, and Hill worked hard as Secretary of State. But politicians either genuinely connect with everyday people's problems and what this country needs or they don't, and these days most don't, with only a few exceptions (i.e., Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, among some others).

    Anyway, I would like to see Hillary put on the spot and fight for her nomination against some really good challengers in the Democratic Party. And may the best woman or man win!

  224. I think you're wrong, Frank--I think competence and being the first female president will be enough.
    I also don't like a lot of people in the Clinton circle, including but not limited to Terry McAullife and Larry Summers. But the Clintons are great, tough campaigners, and generally on the right (correct) side of most issues.
    Most important, the thought of a Republican winning in 2016 is too horrible to contemplate. Christie will never get past the primaries, and it looks like it will be someone from the Cruz/Rubio side of that highly dysfunctional GOP family.

    A lot can and will happen between now and 2016. But right now Hillary is the best bet to beat the crazies, and that's good enough for me.


  225. Not all voters are afflicted with the "new is always better" meme that has proved to be so detrimental to the nation. The 2010 crop of House GOP not only can not legislate, they are unable to merely keep the government lights on. Institutional knowledge is crucial to keeping our civic pillars from crumbling.

    In fact, it is often the elder statesmen (and women) that pull us out of our most severe crises. Perhaps their patina of narcissism shines less brightly, allowing them to act for the greater good.

    I think that Ms. Clinton may have too much association with the Wall Street Democrats to have wide appeal, but it's far too early to assume their are no other qualified women to make the 2016 run.

  226. My family of women will actively support Hillary, likewise Elizabeth if she chooses to run. Since the hard right took control in 2010, we've seen 2000 bills against woman's autonomy, we've seen constant attacks against children and the disenfranchised.. And why no man, or no media, has expressed outrage on behalf of these American citizens is the elephant in the room whose sheer magnitude will drag him down come election time for the next hundred years.

  227. Are there no men in your family? And, yes, plenty of men have spoken out publicly in favor of the rights of women and children, including President Obama. That many conservatives (including conservative women) have voted against the rights of women and children doesn't change that fact.

  228. Who will the Republicans run? Newt? Santorum? Paul? Cruz? Rubio? All dead meat leaders of the greater of two evils party.
    Hillary has taken on the patina of the establishment for sure. This country needs fresh blood, like we thought we had in Obama. He has made gains but what ever happened to what the people want, like single payer health care and Wall St. criminals in prison?
    Elizabeth Warren is needed to break the barrier, or Bernie Sanders. Let's start talking real change that thinks of middle class problems and not Oligarch tax cuts.

  229. It's way too early to call anything, but just for fun -- I'm saying Chris Christie. He'll lose a lot of weight and look fantastic. He's a great public speaker and he has populist appeal. And I'm thinking maybe Nikki Haley as his running mate -- she's attractive and non-white.

    Or Mark Rubio; he's a little goofy but he's hispanic and the GOP needs those hispanic votes.

    Elizabeth Warren simply doesn't have a shot, sorry. She's a decent enough person but I don't think she has any presence outside of the Northeast.

  230. Hillary's problem is Hillary. It has nothing to do with Washington.
    She has shown herself to be incompetent and mendacious.
    Many want her to be president because of her gender.
    I say please put our country first. We are on our second term of a president
    whose primary reason for being elected was race. He too is incompetent and mendacious. Hasn't the country suffered enough? Why don't we look for competence and character this time around.

  231. Because competence and character do not win elections - access to lots of money and connections are what's essential. Best to be a middle-aged seasoned insider.

  232. I didn't vote for President Obama the first time. I did the second time and race had nothing to do with it.

    I'm so tired of people with tiny minds and their big mouths.

  233. I would disagree. The primary reason we have Obama is because the alternative was McCain and Palin.

  234. If you want to double-down on the way Washington the way it is today, Clinton is your Gal!

    I am desperately thirsting for a moderate candidate. The dysfunction in Congress is based on hyper-partisanship. The last thing we need is a candidate as divisive as Hillary - like throwing diesel fuel on the car-fire that is the Republican party.

    When Hilary ran against Obama in the 2008 primary I found her negative attack style "who would you rather have answer that call at 2AM" a major turn-off. If that is how she treats members of her own party, I can only imagine how much worse the system will be when she has to work with the opposite party. Even if the Democrats take the house back by 2016 (despite the Tea Party's best efforts, hardly a sure thing), I can imagine 40 GOP Senators filibustering everything under a Clinton presidency.

  235. I agree. Both the Bush and Obama administrations were totally ideological, and we all know that ideologues are extremists....people who believe the ends justify the means, thus all the lying and conniving.

    I don't know if we need to reform the primary process to create incentives to nominate moderates, or what the answer is. Part of the problem also, is that the generation running this country is the generation that came of age in the 1960s; probably the most divided generation in history, and a generation which still holds grudges and hatreds formed 50 years ago.

    My final point is that extremism begets extremism. The horrible Bush years gave rise to the equally extreme Obama first two years, which in turn gave rise to the Tea Party, and then we had (for a while) the Occupy movement. We all need to move back to the pragmatic Center.

  236. I disagree. Obama is a moderate candidate. His most radical idea was health care reform, and what did he pass? Single payer/medicare for all? Even a government option? No, he pushed through a market-based system developed by the Heritage foundation and passed by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts.

    A real liberal would have gone for true universal government-funded health care, would have pushed raise upper income tax rates at least to what they were under Reagan, and would have pushed the FTC to write the rules to actually implement Dodd-Frank, if not reinstate Glass-Steagall.

    The Republican party has moved so far the the right that moderate to conservative looks like left wing. Richard Nixon or Bob Dole would be considered liberals if running today. Even Ronald Reagan would be too far to the left to get the nomination.

  237. gdnp, New Jersey

    I disagree. Obama is a moderate candidate

    Obama is a progressive, just one not capable of doing what is required to push a true progressive agenda. It would take a lot of extraordinary legislative effort (think LBJ's head banging, threats, etc.).

    Implementation has always been someone else's bailiwick. How many times has he even told us that's our job?

  238. She'll be pushing 70. She doesn't have a clear agenda separating her from this President, and about the only completely positive thing to say concerning any potential candidacy in 2016 is that at least Ms. Clinton's not currently part of the Administration.

    Which is good since Obama's numbers appear to be sinking faster than hers.

  239. The decreasing poll numbers are reported by the same republican leaning company that had liar Romney winning big. Corporations in large numbers sent their jets to Boston for the celebration that thankfully didn't take place.
    I don't think it's a stretch or paranoid to think that poll results aren't tailored to satisfy some big contributor.

  240. The Democrats still have one huge advantage.

    Their opponent will be a Republican.

    With their wars on women, minority groups, obstructionism of any progress and lack of any good ideas, this has to be the world's most tarnished brand.

  241. I have grown very weary of the "first" black POTUS refusal to go away. He has no sense of decency or humility. He is no Carter or W.

    Arkansas Elvis brought us Bush/Dole light. Clinton gave us DOMA, DADT, welfare deformation, war on non-violent black drug offenders, the plotting for 9/11/01, Rwandan genocide, Monica and the deregulation of Wall Street.

    I voted for hope and change with the "second" black POTUS and against the Clinton weak non-progressive non-liberal legacy. Obama has not been all of the hope and change that I had wanted. But I do not regret being rid of a Clinton in the White House. The political calculation that brought her to State stank to the heavens.

    No more of the Clinton amoral good old boy narcissism and bovine feces. All three of the Clintons are arrogant and nasty and full of hubris. And we do not have the excuse of royal divinely sanctioned royalty for the persistence of this personal plague.

    Clinton and Obama are both well to the right of not only FDR and LBJ but Eisenhower and Nixon too.

    I want to vote for and elect a real progressive liberal next time. One who cares about the least among us and will done something about it.

    Black unemployment is 12.9%. And there are more blacks depending on welfare for education, housing, food and medical care than ever before. Non-violent black drug offenders are victims of the war on drugs. Black families suffer from welfare deformation. And there are far more whites living in dire poverty than blacks.

  242. Also, Clinton has already proven that she is not up to the strain a presidency would put on her. After a few years as secretary of state she was physically and mentally so exhausted that she needed a long timeout. The presidency would surely be even harder.

    Why should she be more resilient from 2016 to potentially 2024, many years older?

    Democrats are quick to dismiss such concerns now, but rest assured that they will come up in an election race, and with good reason. Democrats need a new, fresher candidate. Clinton has had her shot, and she lost. I hope she sees this and does not run in the first place.

  243. The hard core base of both parties couldn't care less about governing. They care about winning. And they care about winning with a candidate who is ideologically correct. What happens once the person is in office is secondary.

  244. Poppycock, Frank.

    The well-meaning, naive idealism of Democrats who wish to elect the ideal, likable, lovable candidate doesn't cut it any more.
    This is an unrealistic strategy for a President that today must have extensive political experience.

    Obama had and Warren has short resumes of the practical experience required in the current political arena.
    A start as a VP candidate, simply waiting their turn, is a better start. It is called learning on the job.
    We do not need another naif with little tough-as-nails political experience and little time-in-grade in the dog-eat-dog political arena. He wasn't ready for his close-up and neither is she.

    Many have expressed disappointment in the performance of Obama vis-a-vis the destructive, uncompromising Republicans.
    Their disdain for him and by extension for the Office of President has been rude and unacceptable.
    The Republicans will be not changing their tune or drumbeat - surely that is obvious.

    As Hillary noted about Obama during the 2008 election - "He doesn't know what he is up against." And he didn't and neither does any Democratic contender who hasn't had the requisite experience.

    Imply what you will about Hillary Clinton or her sidekick Bill, but they have both been there and done that. They know their way around the current political arena of hard knocks and hard-as-nails and for that reason I do believe that we should wise up and come out fighting with the right candidate - this time.

    Politics is not beanbag.

  245. Thanks MNW. Realism is not always to everyone's liking, but your honest assessment strengthens the argument for HRC. She is not now, nor has she ever been my "model" candidate, but I'll vote for her without hesitation because she can WIN.

  246. I admire Ms. Clinton more than I can presently find words to express it. However, that said, I confess that having her run for president in 2016 is just not what I want to see for her.

    She has so much baggage to carry around it will simply get into the way of anything she might want to do or would normally, with a cooperative and bipartisan congress be able to do. There are still so many people in politics that dislike her husband for all sorts of reasons and who are just not capable of separating Ms. Clinton from Mr. Clinton and seeing them as one and the same.

    We need to move on. No more Kennedys, Bushes, Clintons, Cheneys in high office. We need to look to the future and pick a moderate of whatever party, and hope that common decency and an HONEST concern for America and its people as a whole will create a totally different atmosphere in what presently I personally think of as the cesspool called congress.

  247. It all boils down to gimmickry. With Hillary, it's the exploitation of woman. But I believe she caused herself immeasurable and perhaps even irreversible harm coming out so visibly to support McAuliffe and De Blasio but no where in sight for Christine Quinn and Barbara Buono.

    It was a colossal mistake. I know as a woman, who vociferously supported her in 2008, I would never, ever again do so.

  248. I hate the inevitability thing. It's what was so annoying about Hilary during the 2008 campaign. I'm a lifelong liberal Dem, but I cannot support her with any enthusiasm. Now Elizabeth Warren. That's another story...

  249. "The answers are about the process more than the person or any vision she has for the country. "

    That is the type of discussion that happens three years before an election, when planning an organization lays the foundation for success. The issues always take over when we get closer to the actual election.

  250. I think a lot of Hillary, but let's ditch this notion that she's inevitable. That's never how it works. She has to win it. And as the early front-runner she'll be everyone's piñata (again).

    2016 is so far away no one yet has any idea what the issues will be. She'll be judged by the positions she takes on those still-unknown questions. Is she qualified to be president? Sure. So are several others.

    My guess is her approval ratings have dipped because she's associated with Obama's foreign policy and he's shown a less-than-sure hand lately. And after all, she had four years to bring about world peace and usher in the millennium. What could she have been doing?

  251. {I think a lot of Hillary, but let's ditch this notion that she's inevitable}

    You don't have to be liked and merely disliked LESS than the Republican nominee. It's also all about great strategy. The "anybody but" scenario. Think how they loathed George Bush, Mitt Romney and next Chris Christie who's Soprano shtick only plays in NJ. It's why they've glorified him. She'll eviscerate him versus a Jeb Bush. There's so many variations to get to the top.

  252. Democrats need to tread carefully here. While many of them would like to celebrate a Hillary coronation in 2016, let's remember that she'll be pushing 70-years old by then. One selling point for the Democrats in recent years is that, unlike the GOP, we are not the Party of old, white men. Will an aging Baby-Boomer woman really make the Party more palatable to those voters under age 40 who by now are more than a bit tired of their parent's generation controlling the levers of power? And how about if the GOP nominates a person nearly 20-years her junior, who might be a social libertarian and an economic conservative? Side-by-side on a stage, she might sound tough and intelligent, but a 22-year old potential voter might decide not to vote for someone who sounds like their mother (or grandmother) lecturing to them about the importance of putting their socks away in the proper drawer. Boomer Democrats need to stop taking young voters for granted. It's time to start thinking younger once again.

  253. For all the disparagement of Hillary she has one asset that is difficult to top, and that is name recognition. There is no other Democrat in sight with chances of getting the nomination that is as well known as she is, for better or worse. Her campaign in 2008 suffered from overconfidence and at the end desperation. Elizabeth Warren is a favorite among progressive Democrats and could mount a serious challenge to Hillary,
    however she would have a much harder time defeating a moderate Republican, which is what I expect a chastised GOP will nominate. Hillary will be a formidable campaigner this time around if she still has the stamina to run. A Democratic presidential candidate need not run against the Washington establishment, only against the Republican House and work relentlessly to push for a Democratic majority in the House and Senate. In spite of the anti-Washington sentiment most people remember the Clinton presidency as one of prosperity, that is not easily dismissed.
    Much as the GOP is counting on voter amnesia many will not forget the House Republicans converting the House into a circus and it is up to Democratic candidates to make sure that it is not forgotten nor forgiven.