“Hillary Clinton is running for president,” said Chris Cillizza in WashingtonPost.com. Of that there can no longer be any doubt, after the release last week of Hard Choices—ostensibly Clinton’s memoir of her years as secretary of state, but very obviously a “campaign book” marking the unofficial start of her run. Clinton is still saying she won’t make an announcement until 2015, but Hard Choices leaves no doubt about her intentions, ending on the words “The time for another hard choice will come soon enough.” Get it? Politics is full of surprises, said Brad Bannon in USNews.com, but there is simply no Democrat on the horizon who could raise enough money or build a campaign organization to challenge Clinton. And with polls showing her with double-digit leads over every conceivable Republican challenger, the 2016 presidential campaign “is Hillary Clinton’s race to lose.”
“Wait a minute,” said Joe Klein in Time.com. Clinton brings many advantages to the race: universal name recognition, unrivaled experienced in both foreign and domestic affairs, and a certain gauzy nostalgia for her husband’s administration. The fact that she’d be the first woman president will obviously help her, too. But she also has significant flaws as a candidate. “Clinton can be prohibitively political,” hiding behind stiff, carefully calculated responses, and often seems inauthentic. To win, “she is going to have to drop the veil and trust the public to accept who she really is.” Clinton also carries a lot of old baggage, and as she learned when Barack Obama came out of nowhere to beat her in 2008, the secret of presidential politics is that “people always want a change.” Change, certainly, is “what the GOP nominee will be selling,” said Jennifer Rubin in WashingtonPost.com. If Clinton runs as an experienced, sure-handed successor to Obama, “it’s not likely to come out any differently than when she tried it in 2008.”
Hillary won’t be running on Obama’s legacy, said Kim Ghattas in TheDailyBeast.com. Clinton is making it clear she finds Obama’s foreign policy far too cautious and disengaged; as secretary of state, she pushed him to be more aggressive in Syria and Libya, and with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. If she does run for president, she will run on her “deep belief in the need for American global leadership.” Distancing herself from Obama will be “a tough trick,” said Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post, but so far “she seems to be pulling it off.” A recent poll shows that only 41 percent of voters approve of Obama’s foreign policy, but 59 percent approve of Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. Hillary’s a savvier politician than she was in 2008, and this time “she’s not going to beat herself.”
She’s beating herself already, said Edward Morrissey in TheWeek .com. In an interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer this week, Clinton stumbled badly several times, blaming Benghazi on her underlings. She then made the preposterous claim that she and her husband were “dead broke” at the end of his administration. In a nation full of families still struggling to make ends meet, this was the kind of tone-deaf gaffe one might expect from a “rookie political candidate,” not the prohibitive favorite to be our next president. Democrats better hope she ups her game, said Ross Douthat in NYTimes.com. “If her position is weakened, diminished, or challenged,” the Democrats have no real replacement waiting in the wings—and the 2016 election will be thrown wide open.