During a recent appearance on Talk Radio 850 WPTF, your correspondent was asked to respond to a recent poll suggesting that Hillary Clinton and Chris Christie would face a tight race in a 2016 presidential election matchup.
Christie’s “bridge-gate” had not yet been reported, so that topic did not enter the discussion. But the conversation did focus on how a poll of this type makes far too many assumptions about the likely course of political developments over the next three years.
Clinton, for one, seems to have been anointed as the Democrats’ next presidential candidate, despite the fact that pundits and prognosticators made the exact same mistake in assessing her electoral prospects in the years leading up to the 2008 election.
John Podhoretz addresses this issue for the New York Post.
I wrote a book with the subtitle: “Hillary Clinton Will Be the Next President of the United States Unless . . .” Unfortunately, I wrote it in 2005 and published it in 2006 — and my answer to the “unless” wasn’t Barack Obama, but Rudy Giuliani.
My book did about as well as it deserved to do. Still, its central contention — that Hillary would be the 2008 Democratic nominee — was entirely uncontroversial when I wrote it, when I published it and for a year afterward.
And it would be entirely uncontroversial now for 2016.
This time she comes into the race with seemingly insuperable advantages: The best-known Democrat besides the president, she has every benefit of her last name and none of the disadvantages and is revered by many in her party.
But all that was true before 2008 as well. So let me caution everyone else against making the same assumption in 2014 that I made in ’05 and everybody else made in ’06. …
… Only three times in the past half-century has the Democratic next-in-line secured the nomination, and in each case, the party failed to take the White House: Hubert Humphrey in 1968, Walter Mondale in 1984 and Al Gore in 2000.
So history is actually against Mrs. Clinton on the basis of her inevitability. Democrats tend not to like veterans of the presidential race running for the highest office and don’t like to pick the obvious choice. Nor, it seems, do voters in the general election.
Yet you can’t beat someone with no one, which is why the underground Clinton campaign is doing everything possible to make it seem she’s the inevitable choice, and to keep others from considering a run.