Dear Commons Community,
Although it is still too early to get overly predictive of the 2016 presidential election, Frank Bruni raises a good question in his column this morning as to whether the country is heading for a showdown of two dynasties: Bush and Clinton. Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton would be a replay of the 1992 race, but with the wife of the victor against a son of the loser. It would also call to mind the 2000 race, when that victor’s heir apparent, Al Gore, squared off against another of that loser’s sons, George W. Bush. Bruni is skeptical and comments:
“They’re not naturals on the stump. Clinton came into the 2008 campaign with extensive experience in the spotlight; still she struggled to warm up to audiences (and vice versa) and find the looseness and air of intimacy that many voters crave. Her “Hard Choices” book tour last year was rocky, with awkward moments that she created or should have been able to avoid…
…Bush’s most ardent admirers don’t sell him as a rousing orator. Last April I happened to hear him give an education reform speech, at an event where Chris Christie had been the headliner the previous year, and the contrast was stark. Christie had come across as impassioned, unscripted. He filled and held the room. Bush was a phlegmatic blur. Afterward his supporters talked about and fretted over it.
Both he and Hillary Clinton may also be too awash in money. More so than other Democrats and Republicans who’ve signaled interest in the presidency, they’ve existed for many years now at a financial altitude far, far above that of ordinary Americans.
And reporters digging into their affairs would provide voters with constant reminders of that, revisiting the Clintons’ speaking fees and examining Jeb Bush’s adventures in private equity, which a Bloomberg Politics story from December described under this headline: “Jeb Bush Has a Mitt Romney Problem.”
It’s hard to fathom that at this of all junctures, when there’s growing concern about income inequality and the attainability of the American dream, voters in both parties would choose nominees of such economically regal bearing.”
Bruni touches on several other good points and concludes that:
“And Clinton and Bush together have more baggage than the cargo hold of a 747. That’s the flip side of all of those family tentacles, all that political history, all those privileged inside glimpses of the process. They make you putty in the hands of the right opposition researcher.”
However, there have to be viable candidates to oppose them and win their party nominations. I am not seeing those candidates yet on the horizon particularly on the Democrat side. Is there a relatively unknown Barack Obama type lurking someplace to come and push aside the big name candidates?