Atlantic writer pours water on the notion of Hillary Clinton’s inevitability

The latest cover story in TIME magazine has prompted a response from James Barnes in The Atlantic.

Time magazine’s cover this week asks, “Can Anyone Stop Hillary?” The answer to that question is yes, but you’d never know it judging by the overwhelming belief among Democratic insiders that the party’s 2016 presidential nomination is simply Hillary Clinton’s for the asking.

For all her popularity among party power brokers, the sense of invincibility that currently surrounds Clinton reflects a kind of suspension of disbelief by Democrats that a more detached reckoning should dispel. …

… But if you look closely at the kind of year Clinton had in 2013, isn’t it more reasonable to say that although she remains the frontrunner to lead the Democrats in 2016, she hasn’t done much lately to advance her cause? Indeed, a few potential vulnerabilities have come into sharper focus that should cause Democrats to ease up on their embrace of Hillary.

Hailed as a tireless diplomat who helped restore the U.S. image in foreign capitals when she stepped down as secretary of state, Clinton’s tenure at Foggy Bottom now looks less glowing.

Last year, the State Department review board on the 2012 terrorist assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi determined that Clinton was not responsible for lax security at the outpost. Still, this issue doesn’t look like it’s going away for her.

Just last week, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan report that found that the attack, which claimed the lives of four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, was preventable and primarily blamed the State Department for failing to heed intelligence warnings about unrest in Benghazi and not beefing up security at its compound there. In a separate addendum, Republicans on the committee asserted that Clinton was ultimately accountable for the inadequate security.

Nor does Clinton’s globetrotting appear so productive compared to the efforts of her successor.

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