Is there any evidence that voters “get tired” of politicians? I don’t want to get into the whole literature on what governs presidential elections, but the simple answer is no. Candidates tend to do better if the economy is growing while their party holds the White House (or if the economy is drowning while the other party holds it). Prolonged wars can hurt their party, as can perceived ideological extremism. But overexposure?
The big case here would be Ronald Reagan, who did his first film in 1937, 43 years before getting elected president. (Okay, maybe he wasn’t “in the public eye” until “Knute Rockne All American” in 1940, but still.) But Drum discounts Reagan’s film career, so maybe we shouldn’t start the clock until Reagan begins doing his conservative speeches for General Electric in the late 1950s. That’s still over two decades before becoming president. His record warning about the dangers of Medicare was recorded in 1961. And keep in mind that in 1984, after being in the public eye for nearly half a century, Reagan won one of the biggest Electoral College landslides in history.
But before he got the nomination, he’d never been the Establishment front-runner with a 50 point lead over his nearest rival. The problem for Clinton is that a) she’s not a very compelling public speaker or shrewd campaigner (she was handed the New York Senate seat on a nepotistic platter and got creamed by an upstart in 2008); b) she has close to no record of substantive achievements at any point, as First Lady, Senator and secretary of state; and more critically c) she is perched on an impossibly high pedestal which all but cries out for someone to knock her off it – either in the primaries or the general.
I think she may be the weakest and the strongest candidate for 2016. I don’t think that’s a great combination for a campaign.
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