(Washington, DC) – We are on the road again this week in the belly of the beast – the Nation’s Capital! I spent six of the best years of my life here, working in both press and politics. Now the very real possibility of another “Clinton v. Bush” Presidential race is shaping up for 2016. Let’s “brunch” on that this week:
“This is Not ‘All in the Family!” – There will be attempts from both sides as this race materializes, to try to pin the failures of President Bill Clinton, onto Hillary Clinton; and, conversely to tie whatever perceived shortcomings of President George W. Bush, onto Jeb Bush. Both strategies would be a huge mistake. Hillary is not Bill; Jeb is not George. Hillary has a record as a U.S. Senator and Secretary of State; Jeb has a record as a two-term Governor of Florida. They have to run on their own policies (and be challenged on them by the public and press). They don’t have to run on the record of a famous relative.
“Insider vs. Outsider” – Both candidates may be tempted to try to portray themselves as Washington outsiders. That would be foolish and the public won’t buy it for a minute, but I bet you each of them tries. Jeb never worked in Washington, DC, and Hillary has been “gone” for four years. Both have amassed wealth, so no one is going to believe they are average folks like people along Main Street America. Yet, they will probably try.
“Ali vs. Frazier” -- I will confess up front as a member of the working press – and this will be my tenth Presidential campaign – that this is the race I would really like to see. That’s not an endorsement of either candidate, or their policies; it’s rather an endorsement of the sheer drama and public attention this race would draw. It is akin to the legendary Ali-Frazier boxing matches of the 1970s. This potential race has more facets that a fine diamond. What??? You want a Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) versus Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD) race instead of Bush v. Clinton? ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzz! The Clinton-Obama contest for the nomination in 2008 was the single best race I’ve ever covered. I want something similar in 2016.
“Strategy: Bush” – Republicans need to pick up about ten percentage points from Latino voters nationwide, to win the White House. How does Bush do that? Well he is fluent in Spanish, his wife is from Colombia and they have three bi-racial children. He’s also done very well among Hispanic voters in Florida over the years. He really has to maximize this. His campaign has a built-in connection to the Latino community, and it needs to take that beachhead!
“Strategy: Clinton” – Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, and Israel are among key U.S. allies who’ve had a female chief executive. Many U.S. voters – men and women alike – would like to see us elect the first female U.S. President. As a practical matter, women have a significantly higher voter turnout than men. Yes, it’s opportunistic, but that’s the nature of politics. Just as many Catholics (even conservatives) flocked to John Kennedy as the first Irish-Catholic President; and many others to Barack Obama as the first African-America President, so, too, will many female voters gravitate to Hillary Clinton. Yes, politics is part “novelty” so why not run with it!
“Fatigue Factors” – As novel as a “re-match” race might be between the Bush and Clinton families, there is a downside. Many Americans suffer what is commonly referred to as “Bush fatigue” and “Clinton fatigue.” Legacy political families get tiresome to many. For example, the Kennedy and Roosevelt luster has faded for many voters. The same old families, controlling the same old parties can make the public weary. It may be the reason Barack Obama won a razor thin victory over Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries. It may be the main reason Republican Scott Brown trounced Democrat Martha Coakley in the 2010 Senate race to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat. Both the Bush and Clinton camps need to strategize against this if they want to win.
“Wildcards!” – Some of the intangible factors will include who each candidates pick for their Vice Presidential running mate. If I were Hillary Clinton, I would pick retiring Governor Martin O’Malley (D-MD). He’s young, energetic, good-looking, charming, smart, experienced, with that “Kennedy-like” persona. He may even challenge Hillary for the nomination - and if he does unsuccessfully - would be a good number-two pick. If I were Jeb Bush, I would pick Governor Susana Martinez (R-NM). She’s a two-term Governor, a tough former prosecutor, Latina, female and could help swing heavily Hispanic populated states such as New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada, back into the Republican tent. She helps Bush bring more Hispanics and women into the GOP fold. That could be a wining combination!
For whom would you vote in 2016, Democratic Hillary Clinton or Republican Jeb Bush? Cast your ballot and tell us why at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.
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