Hot Air Remains, Balloon No Longer Aloft

A brutal assessment of Chris Christie's presidential chances.

Peter Hart‘s lede reporting on his latest poll for WSJ/NBC News is a gem:

The hot air remains, but the balloon is no longer aloft. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, one of several Republicans aspiring to be the 45th U.S. president, has been dealt a harsh verdict by his party’s electorate: He is no longer a viable candidate.

Presented with a list of 14 possible candidates for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, Republican primary voters placed Mr. Christie next to last. Fully 57% of Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll respondents say they can’t support him. Only Donald Trump (at 74%) has united more Republicans in a negative way.

The thumbs-down signal comes from a majority of every segment of the GOP electorate, but it crests with men at 62%, very conservative Republicans at 69%, and tea-party backers at 72%. Even within the moderate wing of the GOP, 57% just say no. For the record, the top three positive results went to Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, and Mike Huckabee.

The accompanying graphic is less amusing but quite interesting:

20150315-WSJ-NBC-Poll

It’s worth noting that, in answer to my question yesterday as to why Hillary Clinton is running away with the race for the Democratic nomination, “86% of likely Democratic primary voters say they are open to supporting Mrs. Clinton for the party’s nomination, and 13% said they couldn’t.” While somewhat skewed by name recognition, that’s a staggering difference from any of the Republican possibles.

Back to the GOP side:

The two Republicans who begin the race on the strongest footing in the poll are Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. More than half of GOP primary voters said they were open to supporting Messrs. Rubio or Walker, compared with 49% who said so of Mr. Bush.

Resistance within the party to Messrs. Rubio and Walker is far lower than for Mr. Bush: Some 26% said they couldn’t see themselves supporting Mr. Rubio, and 17% said so of the Wisconsin governor.

The good news for Mr. Bush is that he has nearly a year to reshape his image before voting begins, and none of his likely rivals shows signs of running away with the race.

In fact, he would begin the 2016 campaign in much the same place that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney began the 2012 race in which he locked up the nomination after a long primary slog. Mr. Romney was viewed positively by 43% of GOP primary voters and negatively by 12% about a year before primary voting began, about the same as Mr. Bush is viewed among GOP primary voters today.

“He still has room to change his image,” Fred Yang, the Democratic pollster who conducted the survey with Republican Bill McInturff, said of Mr. Bush. He noted that 43% of the public is still on the fence about Mr. Bush or doesn’t know him well enough to form an opinion.

Messrs. Rubio and Walker are the two most acceptable candidates across different segments of the GOP, including very conservative voters and those moderate-to-liberal Republicans who say they would vote in a GOP primary. Of the two, Mr. Walker remains more of an unknown; more than half the country—including a quarter of Republican primary voters—said they didn’t know enough about him to form an opinion.

“We should be cautious about how unformed this race is,” said Mr. McInturff.

That’s of course the peril of political punditry. What we can say about the race at this point is interesting but based on too little information to be of much use. Once there’s enough information to make meaningful commentary, it’s generally no longer all that interesting.

While I wouldn’t have said so six months ago given my own strong dislike of Clinton, it now appears that she’s going to simply walk to the nomination all but unopposed. I see Rubio, Walker, and Bush as the only viable Republicans in the field and think Bush by far the most similar to those who have won the nomination in the past. I don’t see how anyone else even gets seriously into the conversation.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. edmondo says:

    The good news for Mr. Bush is that he has nearly a year to reshape his image change his last name before voting begins,

    I fixed that for you.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    “He still has room to change his image,”

    Style over substance.
    Just imagine if they were actually right on economics, the environment, foreign policy, immigration, equal rights….instead of just trying to polish a turd.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    If Marco Rubio or Walker or Bush becomes the POTUS I will move to another country. What a joke.

  4. Ping Lin says:

    Just out of curiosity, James, what makes you think Rand Paul isn’t at least a possibility for the nomination? Granted, I don’t think he has a great chance, but I would consider his chances to be at least on a par with Rubio’s.

  5. stonetools says:

    @Ping Lin:

    I think James doesn’t think anybody with Rand Paul’s FP preferences can possibly become the Republican nominee-and he’s right.

  6. Scott says:

    Everybody talks about the Republican deep bench; however, looking at this list, I just don’t see it. Of that list, the only one worthy is Jeb Bush and I would have to thnk long and hard before I would pull that lever.

  7. Scott says:

    @C. Clavin: Ha! Maybe you and Rush could make the move together.

    Maybe there should be a special colony outside of the US for all those who have said they would leave the country if so and so got elected.

  8. michael reynolds says:

    Rubio comes off seeming juvenile, unprepared, young but not in a good way. He’s clearly completely ignorant on foreign policy. I don’t see POTUS-potential there.

    Walker is smug and obnoxious and will be weighed down by Wisconsin’s poor economic performance, but he’s definitely in the game.

    Jeb Bush is the one. He’s the GOPs best bet. He’s smart, he’s experienced, he’s not mentally unbalanced. He’s not Mr. Personality,but he’s not hateful at least.

    But what states does Jeb take from Hillary? His best bet is Florida. Virginia? Colorado? Wisconsin? Still not enough. You’d need to add New Hampshire, too.

    Problem is: women. There is a floor under Hillary. When you can say that 51% of the electorate is your “base” that’s a hell of a thing. What’s Jeb’s equivalent? What does Jeb have?

  9. Loviatar says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Problem is: women. There is a floor under Hillary. When you can say that 51% of the electorate is your “base” that’s a hell of a thing. What’s Jeb’s equivalent? What does Jeb have?

    He’s white

    I’m suprised after 6 years of President Obama you still ask that question.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    @Loviatar:

    Yeah, but being white isn’t much if Hillary ends up with 60% of women. Give her a big edge in women, blacks, latinos, gays, Jews, that looks like a pretty tough coalition to beat with just white males, evangelicals and the 1%. And the electoral map looks even worse.

    You know what this is? It’s the beginning of the One Party State.

    Cue: superdestroyer.

  11. C. Clavin says:

    @Scott:
    You’ll notice that Fat Rush lacks the courage to back up his mouth…a common Republican trait.
    I’d be glad to do expat in Paris, or even Halifax.

  12. James Pearce says:

    It’s worth noting that, in answer to my question yesterday as to why Hillary Clinton is running away with the race for the Democratic nomination, “86% of likely Democratic primary voters say they are open to supporting Mrs. Clinton for the party’s nomination, and 13% said they couldn’t.”

    Based on this, I have a feeling our next president is going to be a Republican. That kind of near universal agreement is going to lead to low expectations (among the electorate) and lax discipline (in the campaign). Hillary’s going to phone it in for the left, play it safe for the right.

    And the Republican, who will be limber and taut from fighting for higher stakes, will clean her clock.

  13. James Joyner says:

    @C. Clavin: This is polling among likely primary voters. Jeb’s problem is that he’s perceived as too moderate. He’s in fact right on most of those issues.

    @Ping Lin: The GOP hasn’t been extreme libertarian since the 1964 fiasco. It’s too small a niche.

    @michael reynolds: @Loviatar: Being white isn’t equivalent to being a woman. Yes, I’m familiar with the Louis CK bit and largely agree with it. But, politically, it doesn’t translate. For one thing, both of the major party nominees are likely to be white. For another, whites are likely to be much more split than any other racial category. For another, whites are more likely to be split than women.

  14. michael reynolds says:
  15. Slugger says:

    Several of the names on the Republican list seem bizarre to me. Is there anyone who would actually like to see a Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, or Carly Fiona as president? I think that a made up name should be on the list to see if the people being polled are paying attention.
    I am looking for a reason to vote against Hillary, but someone who apparently does not know the difference between Iran and ISIS is not it.

  16. C. Clavin says:

    @James Joyner:
    C’mon…
    As Governor he slashed taxes and increased spending…and cut regulations.
    He wants to do away with Obamacare… but has no alternative.
    He has hired all his brothers foreign policy masterminds…including Paul Wolfowitz. How does Wolfowitz even get a job at McDonalds?
    He believes the majority should be able to decide what rights gays are entitled to and marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
    He doesn’t believe in climate change…and has used the spineless Republican cop-out of not being a scientist.
    He’s been all over the map on immigration perhaps fudging his position trying to cotton favor with the party.
    He may be more moderate than Walker and Rubio…but he is still a Republican on the wrong side of history on most issues.

  17. James Joyner says:

    @Slugger: Many of the nobodies are people who have strongly hinted that they’re running.

    @C. Clavin: So, he’s a politician?

  18. argon says:

    It’s called “Pulling a Romney”.

    This is what should happen to all state governors who sacrifice their state’s interests for the sake of campaigning for national office. And I’m also looking at you two, Scott Walker & Bobby Jindal.

  19. C. Clavin says:

    @James Joyner:
    You said he’s right on most issues…other than maybe immigration, he’s not.

  20. Loviatar says:

    @C. Clavin:

    @James Joyner:
    You said he’s right on most issues…other than maybe immigration, he’s not.

    THIS.

    This is why I fear James and Doug more than the bitheads/superdestroyers of the world. They all believe the same thing, but James and Doug couch their belief in false moderate terms. When compared to the bitheads/superdestroyers they seem reasonable but they aren’t, they are as radical and extreme as any of their party, they are just able to hide it better.

  21. C. Clavin says:

    @Loviatar:
    Let’s remember too that Jebs brother ran as a moderate…and then spent 8 years damaging this country in pursuit of radical Republican wet dreams.

  22. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Scott:

    This is what I’m seeing. A slate of potential candidates for which the undecideds are largely non-existent. Consider:

    Rubio – 18%
    Walker – 30%
    Huckabee – 8%
    Bush – 9%
    Paul – 11%
    Perry – 15%

    Now, given the stark differences between several of these candidates on a variety of issues, it looks to me like the only real decision that these primary voters have made is that they want to win and don’t like Clinton.

    I mean really, I’m supposed to believe that primary voters see Paul and Huckabee as being in the same universe, or that 15% of the electorate hasn’t made up its mind about Rick Perry yet??

    The only broad undecided in the list is Walker, and between his lack of charisma & the certainty that he’ll get hit with endless questions – and attack ads funded by Dem 501(c)(4)’s – about the state of Wisconsin’s economy, I don’t see much of a positive bump for him – which essentially slots him as being identical to Rubio, Walker, Huckabee, Bush, Paul and Perry with respect to this poll.

    What does this poll tell me? Democrats will nominate Clinton in a walk, sparing her and the party any internecine damage AND conserving financial resources to be utilized attacking Republicans instead of each other.

    Meanwhile, as for the Republicans – cue up Clown Car 3.0. They’ll emerge from the primaries bloodied from attacking each other, having been driven far to the right in order to win, and spend the rest of the campaign trying to walk back towards the middle – all while facing a Dem opposition strongly in line behind their candidate, who’ll be sitting on a war chest. It’s Romney all over again.

  23. HarvardLaw92 says:

    The most telling bit of information from this poll, at least in my opinion, isn’t represented in the graphic:

    For each one, please tell me, yes or no, whether you could see yourself supporting that person for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016

    Hillary Clinton – 86% yes, 13% no.

    Even better, 61% of polled Dem primary voters asserted that any lack of a Dem challenger to Clinton was not a concern.

    86% favorable and 61% don’t want a challenger … That’s the ballgame, folks.

  24. James Joyner says:

    @HarvardLaw92: It’s truly stunning to me, given her rather obvious negatives. Nobody other than an incumbent president has ever coasted to a nomination that easily—and many incumbent presidents (Truman, Ford, Carter, Bush 41) have faced stiff primary challenges.

  25. Kylopod says:

    @James Pearce:

    Based on this, I have a feeling our next president is going to be a Republican. That kind of near universal agreement is going to lead to low expectations (among the electorate) and lax discipline (in the campaign). Hillary’s going to phone it in for the left, play it safe for the right.

    There’s no question in my mind that Hillary has a weakness for playing it safe and suffers from heightened expectations she may have trouble living up to. It’s the old “tortoise and the hare” conundrum that helped Obama defeat her in the 2008 primaries. On the other hand, you seem to be perpetuating the myth that election outcomes depend entirely on what the candidates do or don’t do. If the conditions are right, you can run a lousy general-election campaign and still win (think of Carter in ’76).

  26. PJ says:

    I found part of question 11 in the poll to be rather interesting:

    I’m going to read several positions or qualities of a candidate running for president. For each one, please tell me if it would make you feel more favorable or less favorable toward a presidential candidate, or if it would not make a difference to you either way.

    Someone who supports raising taxes on the wealthy:
    Much More Favorable – 31%
    Somewhat More Favorable – 24%
    Somewhat Less Favorable – 10%
    Much Less Favorable – 13%
    No Difference – 21%
    Not Sure – 1%

    So, 55% would feel more favorable towards that candidate, but only 34% would feel less favorable…

  27. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @James Joyner:

    A Democratic equivalent to Q18 (which should have been included, but wasn’t) would have been informative in this regard.

    I suspect that part of it is that the DNC has been aggressive in corralling potential opposition – this point I can vouch for personally. They see her as, by far, the most electable candidate on the D side of the fence, and they’re scope-locked on preventing a competing clown car from diverting attention away from the spectacle that the Republican primaries are almost certain to degenerate into (again …) To that end they have passed the word – in no uncertain terms – that anything other than token opposition will be viewed negatively by the powers that be.

    You can see the result – the only candidates that even come close are Biden – who none of us really want to run, and Warren – who has done everything but tap dance naked down the FDR carrying a sign to make it clear that she won’t run.

    You might see the party entertain a Sanders candidacy – as a foil for Clinton to position herself towards the middle, or perhaps O’Malley (who I think is jonesing for a VP slot he won’t get) just to make it look like we’re offering a choice, but this is a predetermined outcome. It largely has been for months now.

  28. C. Clavin says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    – who has done everything but tap dance naked down the FDR

    She’s an attractive woman for her age…but don’t think I want to see that.

  29. Modulo Myself says:

    @James Joyner:

    Her obvious negatives are in her electability, not what she would do as President. Most Democrats really like what Obama has done, and they think she will be another term of his policies. What point is there to a completely futile primary challenge?

  30. gVOR08 says:

    @Slugger:

    Is there anyone who would actually like to see a Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee, or Carly Fiona as president?

    Well, not Fiorina. But Carson or Huckleberry, on the right, yes, absolutely. Besides this poll, people I know. Isn’t that just terrifying? I believe I’ve mentioned before that the electorate is a box of rocks.

  31. gVOR08 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    That’s the ballgame (for Hillary), folks.

    Unless she doesn’t run because of health or scandal, in which case there’s chaos on the Dem side and we get President Bush the Third.

  32. gVOR08 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I mean really, I’m supposed to believe that primary voters see Paul and Huckabee as being in the same universe…??

    Yes. See @gVOR08: above.

  33. michael reynolds says:

    Who does Hillary go to for Veep?

    Probably has to be male, white or Latino. A Latino would be great but I can’t think of anyone but Bill Richardson and he’s old, or Villaraigosa, but mediocre mayor to Veep is a biiiig jump. Someone moderate but with some cred on the left. A governor would be good. Pity Jerry Brown is a thousand years old, he’s done well for us here in the Golden State. Andrew Cuomo would be the guy, probably, but what an un-appealing ticket. If it’s Walker for the GOP I’d say we go with Dayton from Minnesota, though that’s a rather geriatric ticket. Jay Inslee from Washington?

    We have a weak bench.

    I wonder about something bold, something out-of-the-box to show Hillary’s not stuck in the past. So, here’s my wild, never-gonna-happen but would cause heads to explode: Bill Gates.

    He’s the world’s leading philanthropist, he’s obviously smart, capable of ruthlessness, pro-business but socially progressive. The tech sector would bury Democrats in money, the Left would be OK with him, there are no major scandals, he’s in no danger of outshining Hillary in the charisma department, and he has a bit of a storybook marriage.

  34. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Julian Castro?

  35. Dave D says:

    @michael reynolds: What about one of the Castro twins down in Texas? One is a congressman albeit recent and the other is the HUD Secretary. Both would do wonders to mobilize the latin vote and both are young.

    Edited: Clavin beat me to it.

  36. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    +1 – perfect choice

  37. michael reynolds says:

    @C. Clavin: @Dave D:

    I don’t know, he’s still basically a mayor. HUD isn’t exactly a hot spot. Then again, I suppose a successful mayor – and he’s obviously that given his ridiculously high re-election number, is arguably the equal of a junior Senator from Illinois, and certainly beats hell out of a half-term governor of Alaska. And it’s not like he could know any less about foreign policy than Marco Rubio.

    Latino turnout would be insane which could turn NC back our way. And he’s married to a school teacher. Stanford undergrad, Harvard law – so he’d get @HarvardLaw92’s vote. Texan, so a nod to the south. Too bad he didn’t serve in the military, that would have cinched it.

    Hmmm. Interesting. Clinton-Castro?

  38. James Joyner says:

    @C. Clavin: @michael reynolds: I’d say that the unfortunate coincidence of being named “Castro” would be disqualifying but it didn’t it’s arguably less problematic than either “Hussein” or “Obama.”

  39. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I tend to think that voters only care about the VP candidate when either he/she is abysmally awful or he/she has a demographic tie to a particular constituency.

    People didn’t vote for Biden. They voted against Sarah Palin. I doubt many of them noticed that Biden was still breathing.

    But the first female President coupled with the first Hispanic VP candidate? It would explode Latino turnout and nullify any potential advantage Rubio might otherwise have mined in that regard.

    We find some bright, articulate Hispanics to run for down-ballot races at the same time? It could be something to watch …

  40. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    and certainly beats hell out of a half-term governor of Alaska

    It’s worth noting that the City of San Antonio has roughly double the population of Alaska, a budget 1/6th that of Alaska’s, and roughly 4 times the number of police officers that the State of Alaska employs. Heck, San Antonio city government employs about 69% as many people as the entire State of Alaska.

  41. anjin-san says:

    @gVOR08:

    Fiorina

    I think all Fiorina is looking for is media exposure for herself. That certainly seemed to be her primary goal at HP.

  42. Scott says:

    @michael reynolds: Julian Castro needs another state office first. Sure he was a successful mayor but San Antonio is a city council-city manager structure. As mayor, Julian was basically head of the city council. He did develop some good consensus building skills herding city council member but no real executive experience.

  43. Tony W says:

    @James Joyner:

    It’s truly stunning to me, given her rather obvious negatives.

    Can you enlighten us on her “rather obvious negatives”? Is this a BENGHAZI!!!! reference – or something else?

  44. James Joyner says:

    @Tony W:

    Can you enlighten us on her “rather obvious negatives”? Is this a BENGHAZI!!!! reference – or something else?

    For the most part, I thought Benghazi was a nothingburger and that her role in it was incidental. The only ding on her from Benghazi was the “What difference, at this point, does it make?” comment, which is pretty much indicative of what’s grating about her. She has most of Chris Christie’s negatives minus the weight but also minus real accomplishment.

  45. michael reynolds says:

    @James Joyner:
    This cycle is going to be all unfortunate names, starting with Bush and Clinton. All we need now is a Republican named Putin. . .

  46. Dave says:

    @James Joyner:

    but also minus real accomplishment.

    Sigh … I remember when a cabinet member was supposed to have real “accomplishments” on their resume. Now, I take it as an accomplishment when they’ve been on the job for over six months and haven’t completely screwed up and gotten a bunch of people uselessly killed. Yes, I’m looking at you, Rs.

    Frankly, James, I think you fail to appreciate what she’s done. I’d like more, but I’ll take the lack of screwups.

  47. C. Clavin says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Disagree…Not for nothing but I like Biden.
    He’s the only prominent guy that really nailed the Kurd/Sunni/Shia situation.
    What other VP candidate has the foreign policy chops?
    I’d want Hillary to move on…but Biden aquited himself well.

  48. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @C. Clavin: While the thought is easy to understand, the hyperbole, moving to another country is more difficult than you imagine it to be and the hyperbole make you sound like that brilliant political thinker Alex Baldwin…

    And we all remember how his threat to move to another country if shrub was re-elected worked out.

  49. C. Clavin says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker:
    Dude…mark my word.
    We look at more Republican Activist Judges, and more decisions like Citizens United, McCutcheon, or Hobby Libby…and I’m out of here.
    I love Paris. Halifax. Vancouver. Maybe Havana.
    I don’t see it as a big risk…but you can mark my word.

  50. An Interested Party says:

    She has most of Chris Christie’s negatives minus the weight but also minus real accomplishment.

    In other words, she can be grating like he can be…I can see that…but “minus real accomplishment(s)”? Hmm…lawyer, first lady, senator, secretary of state…I suspect that many, especially a lot of women, will disagree with your assessment…

  51. Moosebreath says:

    @James Joyner:

    “She has most of Chris Christie’s negatives”

    She yells at random people asking questions at her?
    She has presided as governor over 8 downgrades to her state’s credit rating?
    She views as her primary accomplishment a revamp to her state’s pension plans which she then reneged on actually funding?

    No, I think Christie’s negatives are very different than hers.

  52. C. Clavin says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker:
    Seriously…
    President Rubio?
    President Walker?
    Another President Bush???

  53. Just 'nutha' ig'rant cracker says:

    @C. Clavin: I didn’t say I support any of those yahoos. I just noted that leaving the country over this stuff is more difficult than it seems and that I find your threat as credible as that of El-Rushbo or Mr. Baldwin.

    And I lived in Korea for much of Bush’s and all of Obama’s term so far. Wasn’t permitted to stay beyond the end of my last teaching contract.

    But good luck on emigrating to Paris. I have a friend from high school who has lived there for several years. She has worked as a translator since a coupke of years after I came to Korea and only has about 6 more years before she can get the French equivalent of her Green Card according to a message she left at our reunion site in 2014. She doesn’t live in Paris, though, can’t afford to…

  54. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “Stanford undergrad, Harvard law – so he’d get @HarvardLaw92’s vote. ”

    And you could hear SuperD’s head exploding from ten states away.

  55. James Pearce says:

    @Kylopod:

    On the other hand, you seem to be perpetuating the myth that election outcomes depend entirely on what the candidates do or don’t do. If the conditions are right, you can run a lousy general-election campaign and still win (think of Carter in ’76).

    I do think the campaign matters. Clinton was a lock in 08 until the campaign. Some of that was Obama, lofty rhetoric and less baggage (even with a funny name!), but most of that was Clinton.

    It just bewilders me that almost 90% of the Democratic voters think Hillary Clinton should succeed Barack Obama. She could be president right now.

    You know what I think this poll really means? That the campaign hasn’t even started yet.

  56. Franklin says:

    @C. Clavin: Oh, I hate that threat. I’ve heard a hundred people say it and not one has done it. Sorry to be so direct, but it couldn’t be more childish.

  57. wr says:

    @James Joyner: ” She has most of Chris Christie’s negatives minus the weight but also minus real accomplishment.”

    Hillary Clinton is impatient with idiot reporters and moron Republicans wasting taxpayer money to hold ludicrous hearings on non-issues to make themselves look important.

    Christie makes a point of beating up schoolteachers and other constituents who are too weak to donate millions to his campaign.

    That you find those two attitudes even remotely similar says a lot more about you than about either of them…

  58. wr says:

    @James Joyner: ” I’d say that the unfortunate coincidence of being named “Castro” would be disqualifying but it didn’t it’s arguably less problematic than either “Hussein” or “Obama.””

    Oe Bush.

  59. Argon says:

    I’m just waiting for Newt to check his bank account balance and decide whether it’s time for him to ‘run’ again…

  60. MarkedMan says:

    James, I fear the supposed lack of Hillary’s accomplishments is more a Republican meme than a reality. She was a very activist first lady, perhaps unprecedented since Abigail Adams. She was a very capable and fair Senator for NY who was able to build coalitions between Democrats and Republicans. Definitely well above average although, admittedly, she tended to focus on NYS issues more than high profile national ones. As Secretary of State during the winding down of our presence in Iraq and Afghanistan she was again low-profile and competent. And I can tell you that she pulled off an incredible diplomatic coup at the Pacific summit wherein the Chinese were blindsided by country after country standing up and saying that they would negotiate boundaries as a group and not one on one as individuals as China was demanding.

    Hillary is the antithesis of the modern day Republican. She understands issues at a very deep level and is more interested in moving the ball in the right direction than making headlines and grabbing credit. I remember a number of years ago listening to the Nixon-Kennedy debate and being absolutely stunned at the depth of understanding and nuance those two displayed. That’s Hillary.

    One of the mistakes that her opponent (hmm… can’t even remember his name any more) was that he just “knew” Hillary was an unlikeable screeching shrew. Living inside the Fox News bubble confirmed for him that anyone that was exposed to her would eventually despise her and so his campaign consisted of saying “I am not Hillary” for 9-10 months. It was a fatal mistake, because once the voters got to know her as a competent but perhaps not exciting woman, he began to seem the fool.

  61. MarkedMan says:

    Back to the subject, does anyone remain who thinks Christie has a chance of recovering?

  62. DrDaveT says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    Most Democrats really like what Obama has done

    Really? I’m not so sure. I suspect that there are quite a few who, like me, are (1) deliriously happy that we had Obama instead of Romney, but (2) extremely disappointed in Obama’s actual priorities and accomplishments as President. Even allowing for the turd sandwich of “trashed economy on two slices of hopeless war” that he inherited from GWB, his administration was very much not as advertised.

  63. Rafer Janders says:

    @MarkedMan:

    James, I fear the supposed lack of Hillary’s accomplishments is more a Republican meme than a reality.

    James has always been susceptible to confusing the two.

  64. Kylopod says:

    @James Pearce:

    I do think the campaign matters. Clinton was a lock in 08 until the campaign.

    When did I say the campaign doesn’t matter? All I did was challenge your claim that you have a feeling the next president will be a Republican because of Hillary’s weaknesses as a campaigner. That suggests you believe the campaign to be the dominant factor in general elections, an assumption that is contradicted by a great deal of research.

    Now primaries are a different story–there, the campaign can matter a great deal. Hillary made some serious strategic errors in 2008 (such as her campaign’s decision to focus on big states and ignore small ones), and overall, her vote for the Iraq War probably cost her the nomination all by itself. If Obama hadn’t come along, I think another antiwar candidate would have stepped up to challenge her. Whether that candidate would have succeeded is unclear; it’s easy to forget that for all her missteps, she still very nearly beat Obama anyway, and if she had, she would have been an overwhelming favorite in the general election. That year, almost any Democrat besides John Edwards would have been, regardless of how good or bad they were on the campaign trail.

  65. Grewgills says:

    @Just ‘nutha’ ig’rant cracker: @Franklin:
    I left the country when Bush was reelected.

    It was to go to grad school in Europe, but I did leave.

  66. grumpy realist says:

    @An Interested Party: There’s also the fact that you’re going to piss off a hellova number of female voters if you go down any path that indicates taking care of your husband and your kid isn’t a notable accomplishment in itself, or that Bill Clinton got to be POTUS all on his lonesome.

    There’s an old joke about Bill smugly asking Hillary what she would be if she had married her high-school classmate now pumping gas and her answer: “Wife to the President of the US. And you’d be pumping gas.”

  67. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    I agree, believe me, but electorally he’s the equivalent of Lunesta.