Readers keep the recent thread going:
OK, you have a fair point that Hillary Clinton does not have a clearly defined, very specific record of accomplishment that she can point to as justification for being POTUS. Fine. Now, can you please point to a president who DID have such a record?
George W. Bush? What did he accomplish as governor of Texas, or, for that matter, in any area of his life? Bill Clinton? He was governor of Arkansas, but I have no idea what he did in that job, and I worked on his transition team in 1992 (all I did was answer his mail, but I was there). George H. W. Bush? He had a resume longer than Hillary’s, but, again, I can’t think of any notable accomplishments. Reagan? Nixon? Kennedy? About the only president who I can think of who had a great resume before becoming president was Eisenhower. Heck, Lincoln hadn’t done much before 1860.
Another focuses on one president in particular:
In your discussion of Hillary Clinton’s major accomplishments, there is one name that I think is remarkably comparable and am surprised that has not been mentioned: George HW Bush. In 2016, Hillary will be selling exactly what Bush was selling in 1988:
competence and experience. Both have long records of public service and a record of competence yet few signature accomplishments. In fact, their pre-presidential resumes are remarkably similar. Whereas Bush had eight years of experience in the White House as Vice President, Hillary has eight years in the White House as First Lady. In fact, given how marginalized Bush was in the Reagan administration, Hillary probably had more policy influence on her husband’s administration than Bush did with Reagan.
Bush spent a total of 1482 days in the ’70s as CIA Director, Envoy to China and UN Ambassador. Clinton spent 1472 days as Secretary of State. Bush spent four years as Congressman from Texas, whereas Clinton spent eight as Senator. Bush always had a problem with the “vision thing.” Clinton seems to as well. Both lost bitter presidential primaries to more charismatic rivals, then they went to work for the man who defeated them. Both served admirably as competent, effective government employees without racking up signature accomplishments. Hillary probably has a more impressive record overall as compared to Bush, yet in 2016 Hillary will essentially be selling the same thing as Bush did in ’88 – a continuation and consolidation of their predecessor’s administration against an opposition party that had failed miserably to reform itself after two crushing losses.
Yes, Linker points out an often overlooked fact that the Clintons and Bushes are making American democracy seem like a bizarrely royal affair. But it gets worse: if you include the Doles, well then the Republicans alone have nominated either a Bush or a Dole on the presidential ticket for 28 consecutive years! Add in the Clintons and we can expect 40 consecutive years of presidential contests between the Clintons, Bushes and Doles, with the empty 2012 election campaign as the only exception. If Jeb or Hillary wins a second term, I will have lived from the age of 9 until age 57 with just three political families vying for the White House.
1984: Reagan/ Bush
1992: Clinton/Gore v. Bush/Quayle
1996: Clinton/Gore v. Dole/Kemp
2000: Gore v. Bush (Elizabeth Dole defeated in primaries)
2004: Bush v. Kerry
2008: Obama v. McCain (Hillary Clinton defeated in primaries)
2012: Obama v. Romney
2016: Bush v. Clinton ??
Update from a reader:
Your reader points out that the Republican ticket had a Bush or Dole for 28 consecutive years (actually 8 consecutive tickets). But it gets even worse if you throw in Nixon. The GOP had Richard Nixon, Bob Dole, or a George Bush on every ticket from 1952 to 2004 – except once, in 1964 (Goldwater/Miller):
1952 – Eisenhower/Nixon
1956 – Eisenhower/Nixon
1960 – Nixon/Lodge
1964 – Goldwater/Miller
1968 – Nixon/Agnew
1972 – Nixon/Agnew
And then onward to the present. That’s 13 out of 14 tickets with Nixon, Dole or a Bush.
(Photo: Former U.S. Seceratary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the 10th National Automobile Dealers Association Convention on January 27, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. By Sean Gardner/Getty Images)