Read TIME magazine’s latest cover story, questioning whether anyone has a chance to defeat Hillary Clinton in the next presidential race, and you might find yourself turning the clock back to 2006. You’ll remember how inevitable a Clinton presidency seemed at that point, too, before a freshman Illinois senator stepped into the picture.
Those who read TIME‘s article might want to revisit John Podhoretz‘s recent musings on the same topic.
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.