Wednesday, February 3, 2016

What do Hillary Clinton...

...and George H. W. Bush have in common?

I thought of this when reading Megan McArdle's piece in Bloomberg this morning (my emphasis):

Hillary Clinton is a terrible candidate. Yes, I know I keep saying this. It keeps being true. That doesn’t mean she won’t eventually end up being president, but if she does, it will be despite her lackluster political skills, rather than because of them.

And Ms. McArdle is spot-on.

So who does that remind you of?

Mrs. Clinton and George H. W. Bush were both centrist, establishment figures who ran for their party's nominations but were defeated by charismatic outsiders. They then served faithfully in key roles in their opponents' administrations. After eight successful years, they each ran for their predecessors' "third term" and, despite scandals (remember Iran-Contra?) and lackluster finishes in the Iowa caucuses, won their party's nominations.

In the general election they both began as underdogs. Inarticulate and uninspiring candidates, especially when compared with their predecessors, they both benefited from economic recoveries and improved global standings. After initially trailing their opponents, who were from their party's ideological wings, they eventually won their general elections handily.

(Were they also victims of recessions that denied them second terms?)

P. S. Al Gore also fits this profile. But don't forget, Mr. Gore won the popular vote in 2000. And since then, the Electoral College has become much more favorable to Democrats.

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