Kristol Readers: If Hillary Runs, It Will Help GOP Win White House

Image: Kristol Readers: If Hillary Runs, It Will Help GOP Win White House Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Monday, 04 Aug 2014 04:17 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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Weekly Standard editor and founder Bill Kristol had a deluge of replies to his weekly newsletter when he asked readers whether they thought Hillary Clinton was a strong Democratic presidential candidate or a force merely because the GOP field is weak.

One reader called her the JC Penney of Democratic candidates while another said although Hillary's poll number are currently stronger than her GOP competitors, when it comes down to the wire, any Republican candidate is going to look better than the former secretary of State.

"In my opinion, the current gang of Republican candidates are all too weak or flawed to be elected to national office on their own," replied one reader. "They try too hard to not look bad rather than trying to be sincere. The good news is that with two years to go, none of this matters.

"With the world in chaos and two more years of President Obama at the helm, the GOP will have to really work hard to lose in 2016. Two more years of Barack Obama will save the Republicans. By then, even (Texas Gov.) Rick Perry, with his new glasses, will look smart."

Another reader wrote, "In modern presidential contests, Republicans run on issues, Democrats run on brands. Obama refined this new dynamic to bleak perfection in 2008, running as an untested and unqualified candidate who, despite all his obvious flaws, was the 'cool guy' in the race and a formidable brand."

"The same dynamic is at play again," the person continuede. "The Clinton brand has huge recognition. It has been around for more than 20 years, and Hillary has had the benefit of that. She's a celebrity, and only reinforced that impression by jetting all over the world as secretary of state while accomplishing next to nothing.

"Unfortunately for Hillary, once the race is officially on and she has real opposition, the public will be reminded that even though she's a name brand she's a tired one. She's the JC Penney of candidates: everyone knows the name, but who really wants to shop there? She won't be President and may not even run once reality sets in."

Another reader said, "From my perspective, Hillary's lead in the polls is simply a reflection of her name recognition. Voters know who Hillary is and don't have a clue about many if not most potential Republican nominees. When voters get familiar with her and when/if we nominate a strong candidate, the numbers will reverse.

"The key to all this, as it was last time, is to have our strongest potential candidates become actual candidates. And then for us to actually pick the strongest candidate. I could probably come up with between 5 and 10 candidates that would have been better than Romney last time, and he was clearly the best of a weak field."

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