Hillary Clinton as "old news"? Not likely

Ronald Reagan was 69 years old in 1980 and 73 years old in 1984. George H.W. Bush was 64 when first elected president and 68 when he ran for re-election. John McCain was 71 when nominated for president in 2008. Yet Republican politicians and strategists appear to believe that Hillary Clinton’s age and long time on the national stage will be potent factors working against her possible candidacy in 2016. One experienced GOP campaign hand even believes Democrats will raise concerns about Clinton’s age before Republicans will.

Dream on.  

State polls repeatedly show that Hillary Clinton is the favored presidential candidate of Democrats everywhere. She is not nearly as polarizing as she was in 2007 and 2008, thanks to her work as secretary of state. Even after weeks of relentless right-wing media attacks over Benghazi, Clinton’s favorability ratings dropped only slightly, according to various nationwide polls. I am not enthusiastic about Hillary’s likely economic policies, but I have not seen any polling to indicate that such concerns are widespread.

Republicans have reason to predict publicly that younger Americans will prefer a younger candidate, but as Paul Begala noted, “I would remind my Republican friends that Reagan got 59 percent of the youth vote when I was in college, and he was the oldest guy to ever run for president.” I know plenty of onetime Reaganauts in my age cohort who admire Hillary Clinton (and Bill Clinton, for that matter, even if they didn’t vote for him during the 1990s).

Furthermore, electing the first woman president would be anything but “old news.” Hillary Clinton’s leadership style and speech mannerisms are quite different from Barack Obama’s, so depicting her as “more of the same” won’t fly. She is also popular among the two fastest-growing ethnic groups in the country, Asian-Americans and Latinos.

In my opinion, only a serious health problem could derail Hillary’s presidential ambitions. Newt Gingrich was right when he said late last year, “the Republican party is incapable of competing at that level.”  

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  • We'll see how she feels

    Some have called this Republican strategy scare tactics.  I wouldn’t call it “scare tactics” because I don’t think that strong politicians scare easily.  However, the Republican Party is trying to convince her that it’s not worth the daily political battles at that age.  

    If she is elected, the Republicans will fight her at every turn…much like the Republicans fought Obama at every turn, and how the Democrats fought Bush at every turn, and how the Republicans…etc, and so on through history.

    Side note: people who believe that the GOP politicians in the House oppose Obama because of his race are generally wrong.  If Clinton had been elected, Republicans would have opposed her just as much (if not more, considering their sheer disdain of the Clintons)…and if she is elected in 2016, I think this will ring true.  In fact, if Clinton is sworn into office in 2017, we will see continued opposition, FIERCE opposition, by the GOP.  Of course, then some will say that it is sexism, but they’d be wrong.

    The Republican Party is simply trying to say to Hillary, “do you really feel like fighting daily, if not hourly, battles over governing this country as a septuagenarian?”  Yes, Reagan made it work, but a 21st century presidency is much more exhausting than a 20th century one.  I certainly wouldn’t want to deal with the internet age and the 24-7 news cycle in my 70s, if I’m even still alive at that point.

    Also, one final note on the Hillary 2016 polling: Ignoring the fact that the presidential election isn’t for 3.5 years, every poll that we’ve seen is literally as good as Hillary is going to see.  


    Glancing at her favorability, that 59.4-34.5 favorability spread on November 14, 2012 is as good as she is ever going to get if she takes the plunge.  Recent polls have her leading in Ohio, Florida, and nationally.  However, she knows that those polls are the BEST that she will ever see, barring a polling miracle that would mystify even Nate Silver.  Her favorability will only begin to go down from there as the race begins, as the attacks begin, and as the Democratic opposition begins to form.

    If, despite everything written above, she decides to go for it, then we will know how she feels: She believes that America is ready for its first female president, and she strongly believes that it should be her.

    • agreed

      Her popularity will not stay around 60 percent forever. Fortunately, she doesn’t need to be that popular to defeat they guy who emerges from the GOP clown car. Obama was below 50 percent for a long time. No one on the GOP bench has a chance against her in my opinion.

      There will be no serious Democratic opposition to Hillary Clinton if she runs for president. Some token primary rival like Dennis Kucinich, that’s all.  

  • Says more about the demise of the Republican Party than Hillary Clinton

    This article says more about the demise of the Republican Party than it does about Hillary Clinton’s potential candidacy.  If anyone knows about the Republican attack machine it is Hillary!  She’s lived it, survived it, overcome it and exposed the Republican fools in Congress to the rest of the nation. So the idea that they could convince her to not run is crazy from the get-go.

    Right now, watching the Republican Party is like watching an alcoholic tell you that they can have only one drink and stop, when it is evident that they cannot stop. This Republican Party is so focused on their own fears, hatred and jealousy that they cannot see how each drink they take from that well is poisoning them, not their opponents.  

    • just a few days ago

      I met a married, 30-something white suburban woman with kids. She comes from a Republican family, as in, her mom volunteered for the Reagan and Poppy Bush campaigns. She is not an Obama fan but would vote for Hillary if she runs for president. She used words like “strong,” “smart,” “capable.” The Democratic nominee for president shouldn’t have a prayer with a voter like her. I think it would be the biggest electoral vote landslide since 1984.

      • I'd say since 1996

        Republicans have a baseline of at least 159 Electoral Votes.  The most that Hillary could get is 379, which, oddly enough, is how many Bill got in 1996.

        This is where Democrats have a big advantage.  Democrats have a baseline of at least 217 votes.

        Obviously, we could quibble over certain states, but I don’t see anyone reaching that 400 plateau for a while.  

  • really?

    Funny…I heard all of this same invincible Hillary talk right before she ran against a one term virtually unknown state senator for president.

    After her State Department performance (on all levels), it will be NO walk in the park for Hillary.  Don’t fool yourself.

  • Hillary prediction

    She will not run due to health issues.  

  • It may not be a wide spread concern

    since economic policies aren’t something seriously covered in the mainstream media.  Caucus voters aren’t mainstream though, so it does matter.

    My preferred candidate is Liz Warren, is older too, so I have no gripes with her age.  

    I don’t think her foreign policy is anything special though.  She still voted for the Iraq war.  Her foreign policy is pretty status quo liberal interventionism.

    If she didn’t generate excitement last time.  I fail to see why she would this time.