Violently ill, strapped to a hospital bed, under psychiatric observation, Robert Shrum writes:
Handicappers in the presidential race abhor the opposite of a vacuum—a campaign two years out where one candidate seems to blot out the entire field. Thus a mini-chorus now rises, and may swell, questioning Hillary Clinton’s apparent lock on the 2016 Democratic nomination. It’s a predictable reflex, but in cold, hard reality, logic suggests that the lock is authentic, not just apparent. And in modern history, or virtually all American history, Hillary’s inevitability is unprecedented for a non-incumbent.
First, the logic. Who can seriously challenge her march toward a closing night acceptance speech at the next Democratic convention?
With a deft touch of humor more enjoyable than enlightening, Matt Bai suggests that Hillary is “no more likely to clear the Democratic field and avoid a primary … than Dennis Rodman is to become her Secretary of State.” Her fundraising advantages and her strength among “party regulars” make “her vulnerable to another grassroots challenge.”
But history doesn’t metronomically repeat itself. There is no Barack Obama waiting in the wings this time—and the last time, he wasn’t exactly in the wings. He had captured the party’s attention and admiration from the moment he commanded the national spotlight with a stunning keynote speech at the 2004 convention. It’s utter mythology that he came out of nowhere in 2007; some of the smartest Democrats, including Clinton loyalists like Greg Craig, who had defended the president during impeachment proceedings, signed on with Obama early on.