The conventional wisdom at the moment is that the 2016 presidential election is going to come down to Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. On the bright side, the conventional wisdom on national elections is almost always wrong. Remember, in 2008 Hillary Clinton was supposed to be the Democratic nominee. But then a kid named Barry Obama came along and spoiled her dream.
Both Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are loaded down with all sorts of baggage. Hillary, of course, with all the Bill infidelity and Lewinsky Gate and shady deals back in Arkansas. And then there's Hillary's biggest problem, she's Hillary. She has absolutely none of Bill's folksy, down-to-earth charm. Hillary comes across as cold, calculating and lawyer-like.
And Jeb has the giant Sword of Damocles hanging above him that is his brother's eight years in the White House. When your brother leaves office with two wars, not won and not paid for, and an economy in shambles, it hurts your chances of being president. It's not as bad as Ted Kennedy's Mary Jo Kopechne situation, but it's bad. There are a lot of people who will worry that a third Bush administration would just be a continuation of the last two Bush dynasties. Dick Cheney would be dusted off and cranked up as vice president again, and Rumsfeld could come back, and Halliburton could have another Camelot decade, like they did in Iraq.
Jeb Bush, if he wants to win, needs to make us forget about his brother, and focus on him. Sort of like his brother, George W., made the American people forget about Osama Bin Laden, and focus on the real bad guy, Saddam Hussein.
The more distance he can put between himself and his brother, the better for Jeb.
As for Hillary, the more distance she can put between herself and her years of humiliation as the First Lady, the better. She needs to really push the fact that she was Secretary of State, and act like her time as First Lady may as well have been a thousand years ago. That was way back when Jerry Seinfeld was the most popular man on TV. Practically Al Jolson.
Sadly, for Bill Clinton, his behavior will be under tight scrutiny during Hillary's campaign. That fact alone creates all sorts of fascinating possibilities about how this election will turn out. While at his age, one would imagine he has slowed down. Do not bet the farm on that. With his charm and innate charisma, Bill Clinton no doubt can still attract the ladies. That, coupled with advances in erectile dysfunction medications, could perhaps throw a monkey wrench in Hillary's hopes of being president.
While Republicans mutter about "Benghazi," they are probably setting some nasty "love snares," for Bill. (Can you say "Sarah Palin"?)
Who knows, Bill might even take some sugar bait, just so he can destroy Hillary's campaign. What are the chances that Bill is really down with another eight years in the White House, but this time as the washed-up, has-been, husband of the president? All the exhausting travel and criticism, none of the acclaim. And with a woman president, nobody will even care what the First Man is wearing. There will not be headlines proclaiming, "President Hillary Clinton arrived in Paris today... and Bill wore a lovely chiffon..."
Odds are, Bill wants none of it.
Meanwhile, Jeb looks like he wants it, but not that much. In his family, being president is no big whoop. Everyone is doing it. And dad said it's not even that fun.
At this point, this is all a lot of hooey. By election time, some candidate will have come out of the woodwork and changed everything. Some dark horse, like Marco Rubio or Rand Paul or Bob Dole.
But whatever happens, Bill Clinton is going to enjoy himself, that's all I'm saying.