Hillary in 2016

US Secretary of State Clinton gestures during a news conference after the meeting of the Action Group on Syria at the United Nations European headquarters in GenevaToday on Hardball with Chris Matthews, a topic flying through the political news-ether that snagged on the sharp outcropping of Matthews’s rundown was the possibility of Hillary Clinton running for president. The commentators seemed to think she would, eventually, come around to it, which jells with everything else I’ve been hearing, and which I think will make for an eminently interesting election season in a few short years.

Though I wouldn’t have voted for her in 2008, I think I would in 2016. I also think she has a good chance of doing well, thanks to three factors. One, she starts with a large amount of goodwill, which she had in 2008, partly due to her own gravitas, and partly, I imagine, carried over from her husband’s administration and the way she handled his philandering (and perhaps a certain amount of that may be pity, or at least relatability disguised as pity, and in turn disguised as support and enthusiasm). Two, Bill has transformed over the past four years from a weakness into a strength. A behind-the-scenes account says in 2008 Bill was seen by Hillaryland as a huge liability, for a variety of reasons, and was thus kept out of the spotlight. Now, however, the Former Philanderer has drastically improved his image, the Obama campaign serving as his political rehab. In July 2012, his approval rating hit 66 percent, an impressive peak at the time, and then on September 5th, the day of his expectation-exceeding convention-revitalizing speech – which did a lot for Clinton on its own, winning him the mantle of not only best convention speech, but highest approval rating of the convention – his approval hit a peak of 69 percent. Second place went to Michelle Obama with 65, and the president came in third with 53. In October, Esquire magazine released polling information on a hypothetical race between Clinton and Romney – among other things – in which Clinton thoroughly trounced the actual Republican nominee, 65 percent to a tragic 30. So Bill has obviously gained back some of his previous clout, which would undoubtedly serve Hillary well (he could pull through at last-minute campaign events, as he did for Obama in the final weeks of the race).

And three – and most importantly – Hillary has proven herself with four years of phenomenal job performance as Secretary of State, particularly in taking the blame for security in Benghazi. It is number three that has most swayed my opinion, and as of right now, I’d have no problem giving her support in a primary, or a general.

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