Thursday, September 10, 2015

Stop the bedwetting!

In this morning's Times, Patrick Healy writes, "Democrats Concerned About Clinton's Swoon Consider a Big-Name Plan B":

If Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new apology for her private email server fails to reassure jittery supporters, it could amplify the chatter among some Democrats who have been casting about for a potential white knight to rescue the party from a beleaguered Clinton candidacy.

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Al Gore: Each has been discussed among party officials in recent weeks as an alternative to Mrs. Clinton if she does not regain her once-dominant standing in the 2016 presidential field and instead remains mired in the long-running email controversy, with its attendant investigations.

All right, let's take each of those individuals one at a time.

Joe Biden has run for president twice before, and, to my knowledge, never won a single state's primary or caucus. The best thing that can be said about the vice president is that he's a good senator -- hardly a recommendation for chief executive. (More than one term in the upper chamber should pretty much disqualify anyone. Think of John McCain, who's become little more than a professional Sunday morning talk show pontificator.) 

John Kerry is another career legislator who lost his race for the White House to the worst president in modern times. Next!

Elizabeth Warren, I have to admit, would make an attractive candidate. But the freshman senator from Massachusetts seems focused solely on banking and finance. Where is she on social issues? Foreign policy? Who knows? Does she even care about those things? A nominee can't be one-dimensional.

Then there's Al Gore, who won the popular vote in 2000 only to lose the Electoral College to Bush. But, really, should it even have been close? How do you squander eight years of peace and prosperity and come in second to a mediocrity like W?

The article goes on to quote a guy who had a hand in losing twice to Bush:

“You have Democrats beginning to panic about the one thing that a lot of them never worried about, which was Clinton’s electability in the general election,” said Robert Shrum, a veteran strategist who was a senior adviser to Mr. Gore and Mr. Kerry during their presidential runs. “You still have to think of her as the odds-on favorite for the Democratic nomination. But the challenge she faces in the general election is both the trust problem and the likability problem.”

Now, I'll grant you that Ms. Clinton has a "likability problem"; there's no doubt about that. (I don't even like her that much.) And it's probably what gave Obama an opening in 2008 in the first place. But ask yourself: Who on the Republican side is "likable"? Donald Trump? Jeb? Ted Cruz? Something tells me the election of 2016 won't come down to "likability."

Let's get real here, folks. Ms. Clinton's email "scandal" is a tempest in a teapot. Did she even do anything wrong? And do Republicans really think anyone cares? (Although I will concede that they'll be talking about it -- and Benghazi! -- well into her second term.)

Just look at the polls. According to the Huffington Post, which tracks 127 polls from 22 pollsters, Ms. Clinton has a commanding lead:

Clinton, 45.2 percent
Bernie Sanders, 23.3
Biden, 17

And that's before Ol' Joe gets in the race! Do you have any doubt that his numbers would come down once he threw his hat in the ring?

Not convinced? Then check out the betting markets. According to Paddy Power:

Clinton, 1/3 odds
Biden, 5/1
Sanders, 6/1

And as for the general:

Clinton, 11/10
Bush, 4/1

In other words, Hillary still beats Jeb.

Next: Whither the Republican race?

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