Sometimes the best way to make a comeback is to never go away. Hillary Clinton’s bounce back from wandering in the wilderness to my best bet to win the Democratic nomination in 2016 is a resurrection of Biblical proportions.
Clinton has emerged as one of the most formidable and accomplished politicians in American politics. After the bitterly fought election of 2008, her stature had been diminished and the Clinton brand name had lost a bit of its luster, tarnished somewhat from the campaign and the fatigue with Bill Clinton.
America needed a break from the Clintons. By settling into his post-presidential life, Bill has largely put the taint of his sexual indiscretions and impeachment behind him. The committed Clinton haters will never give up that hate, but their numbers are dwindling.
A 2011 Gallup/USA Today poll of America’s Most Admired People placed Hillary Clinton at Number One (in a tie with President Obama. George W. Bush is at second place and Bill Clinton at third). I don’t think that’s an accident. Hillary is no longer thought of as simply another former First Lady. She’s grown far beyond that.
Clinton was a respected U.S. Senator. She’s worked hard as Secretary of State and from all outward appearances, been loyal to President Obama. Whether or not she thought her reputation needed rehabilitation, Hillary has thrived when she accepted Obama’s offer to join his administration.
While she has said she will not return as Secretary of State if the president wins reelection, nobody should believe she’s going to retire from politics. If Obama wins, there’s nobody in the Democratic Party better positioned to succeed him in 2016 than Hillary Clinton (sorry, Joe Biden). If Romney wins, she becomes the Democratic front-runner in 2016 (sorry, Joe Biden and Andrew Cuomo).
If Romney loses, there’s going to be a pushback from the moderate wing of the Republican Party. The far-Right of the GOP has pushed Romney to take positions that makes him less palatable to independents. I can see someone emerging to pull the Republicans back to the center and away from the challenges posed by a Tea Party favorite such as Senator Rand Paul and that person could well be Jeb Bush.
George Bush’s reign of error made the Bush brand toxic in 2012 (can anyone recall any Republican presidential candidate praising Bush 43?) and the party is desperately trying to avoid any mention of the Bush years. Voters needed a break from the Bush family and by 2016, another time will have passed to forgive, if not necessarily forget, the bad old days of Dubya and Evil Dick Cheney.
I’m predicting a Clinton vs. Bush: Round Two in 2016. It would be a contest of epic proportions. But it sure wouldn’t represent any sort of drastic, dramatic change in American politics. If you loved Bill and George Sr. and Jr., you’ll love Hillary and Jeb.
Clinton will be 68 in 2016 and younger than Romney will be then. She’s redeemed her slightly tarnished image. She can raise money. She’s a formidable campaigner. She’s married to a guy who knows how to win. Why shouldn’t she take a couple of years off and in four years, the Democrats will be begging her to run to replace Obama or take on Romney.
Bill wants this to happen. George Sr. and Karl Rove want this to happen. Even if Romney wins and runs for a second term, I expect Jeb Bush to challenge him for the nomination.
It would be the ultimate triumph of status quo, business as usual, politics, and the final throwdown between two political dynasties and I am absolutely convinced that is exactly what is coming America’s way in 2016. Hillary can write her own ticket and if she wants to, she’s a lock to make history in four years by adding “President of the United States” to her resume of accomplishments.
Love her, like her or loathe her, but you can’t stop her.
- Hillary Clinton most-traveled secretary of state in US history – CBS News (cbsnews.com)
- Jeb Bush: Reagan ‘would have a hard time’ in today’s GOP (thehill.com)
- The Hillary Switcheroo (thedailybeast.com)