Karl Rove: Hillary Not a Sure Thing in 2016

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Thursday, 29 May 2014 06:35 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Hillary Clinton faces pitfalls that prevent her from winning the 2016 presidential race, Republican strategist Karl Rove wrote in a commentary in The Wall Street Journal.

Party elders from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to California Gov. Jerry Brown worry that the perception of Clinton being the anointed candidate is politically unhealthy. Clinton looked like the frontrunner in 2006 but lost to Barack Obama in 2008.

"Nothing in politics is foreordained," Rove wrote.

Clinton appears better positioned to capture the nomination this time out — if she decides to run, Rove said. A recent Fox News poll showed a solid 69 percent of Democrats prefer her to be the nominee.

That "speaks less to Mrs. Clinton's strength than it does to the weakness of the Democratic field," Rover wrote. Her likely 2016 competition has less gravitas than the field that competed against her in 2008, the political strategist wrote.

So far, the list of possible candidates includes, Vice President Joe Biden, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, "a collection of largely unknown or second-tier candidates," according to Rove.

There are other factors that could torpedo her quest for the White House. The appearance that her nomination is inevitable could strike some as an entitlement. "Voters don't like being told someone is owed their support," Rove wrote.

Moreover, a significant minority of voters think Clinton is "not widely seen as having new ideas," a recent Pew survey showed. By the time the 2016 campaign kicks off in earnest Clinton could well "appear tired and overexposed," Rove wrote.

The favorability with which voters recollect her term as secretary of state is declining with time. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that just 38 percent approved how she managed the job, Rove wrote.

Rove is "skeptical" that Clinton's efforts to distance herself from the Obama administration's foreign policy failures is likely to succeed. "Every week it becomes more obvious that Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama's international record consists of debacles, disasters and missteps," he wrote.

The "'reset' with Russia, the imaginary 'red line' in Syria, Benghazi, the failure to stop the Iranian nuclear program, al-Qaida's resurgence outside of Afghanistan, strained relations with allies, and declining confidence in American leadership" all took place while Clinton was at the State Department's helm, Rove wrote.

Rove also said it's not easy for a party that has held the White House for eight years to capture a third consecutive term no matter how able its candidate.

"Adlai Stevenson couldn't follow Truman, Nixon failed to replace Eisenhower, Humphrey fell short after LBJ, Ford couldn't win a full term once Nixon fell, and Al Gore didn't succeed Bill Clinton," Rove wrote.

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