While I continue to wade through the same boring arguments, most of which could have been written two weeks or even two years ago, I wanted to make one out-of-the-blue observation about a putative run for the presidency by Hillary Clinton. Despite the impressions of inevitability and invincibility that are being conveyed in the media, I don’t think that either are the case.
As to invincibility, Ms. Clinton will either need to run as the standard bearer for a third Obama term or run against a third Obama term. To try to remain mute on the subject would cede the initiative to her opponents, allowing them to define her position for her. On November 8, 2016 the president’s approval rating is unlikely to be higher than it is today, today it’s well below 50%, and the historic experience is that we can expect a certain level of “Obama fatigue”. To run against the president would alienate a significant portion of the very constituencies she would need to win.
In addition, Ms. Clinton has negatives of her own.
In her favor, she is very well thought of in some Democratic circles, she probably won’t make the same mistakes again, and she will undoubtedly have Bill Clinton in her corner, an ally who should not be underestimated.
As to inevitability, nothing is inevitable as Ms. Clinton learned to her sorrow in 2008. She might decide not to run; she might be prevailed upon not to run; her health could deteriorate; any number of things might intervene. Although the necessities of modern presidential campaigns mean that serious presidential campaigns are already organizing, two years is a long way away.
It’s been said that running for the presidency is a taste you never get over. That’s among the factors that would impel her to run—the same factor that might impel Mitt Romney to try again in 2016.