As Barack Obama demonstrated, a lack of legislative accomplishments will prevent you neither from becoming president nor from accruing impressive legislative accomplishments once you’re there. And voters don’t really care much about rationale, probably aware that every presidential candidate’s true rationale is, “I’d like to be president and I think I’d do a pretty good job.” These are mainly issues that political journalists stew over, and not without cause! Writing about the same person in the same way for a quarter century is extremely tedious, particularly when that person is sitting on a large lead and her strategy is to say as few risky things as possible.
But voters, we know from a long line of research (PDF), don’t really focus on these things when deciding on their next president.
Their main concerns are the status of the economy, the presence or absence of war, and the perceived moderation of the candidates. If the economy is growing reasonably well in 2016, if we are not engaged in a massive bloody war, and if Clinton is not perceived as excessively ideological (relative to her Republican opponent), she’ll have a very good shot of winning the general election. A recession that year would likely doom her or any other Democratic presidential candidate.
Nevertheless, PM Carpenter is dreading the Clinton campaign:
The other day someone chastised me on this site for being ignorantly unenthused by another Clinton candidacy, since the alternative could only be–egads–a Republican president. On that point, I’m in full accord with the chastiser. Anyone is preferable to a Huckabee or a Paul or God forbid another Bush. To my mind, that goes without saying. But I guess, duly criticized, I should be saying that a lot, as we proceed to the presidential sweepstakes: Hillary is better than the ghastly alternatives.
That’s quite the rallying cry.