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Can Hillary Be Defeated?

9:29 AM, Aug 12, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Here's an excerpt from the boss's newsletter this week:

Sunday's  New York Times Book Review brought confirmation of what we'd heard last week: Daniel Halper's Clinton, Inc., has shot immediately to #10 on the Times hard cover best seller list. This should in turn generate more sales and more attention for the book. It will also mean that Daniel can be introduced on television and radio as "New York Times  bestselling author Daniel Halper," which is presumably more impressive than plain old Daniel Halper.

All of this, needless to say, has generated (good-natured!) ribbing at the office, where his colleagues have taken to addressing him not as "Daniel" or "Halper," but as "New York Times best selling author Daniel Halper."

In any case, the Times Book Review also has a short and friendly write up about the book, quoting Halper on the Clintonites' reaction, as well as remarking on the epigraph with which Halper begins the book, from the Great Gatsby : "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy--they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into...whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made." It's an apt comparison--though of course Hillary shows no signs of retreating into whatever keeps Bill and her together, and every sign of running for president.

Last week's newsletter featured some of your thoughts on her chances on making it to the Oval Office. This week's magazine has Jay Cost's must-read analysis of her prospects. Jay points out that Hillary's poll numbers are "surprisingly solid," and suggests that Hillary's distinctive brand may  save her from the normal losing fate of a candidate seeking to succeed an unpopular president of his or her own party (e.g., Stevenson, Humphrey, and McCain). Jay also points out that Hillary is likely to run a campaign on traditional Republican themes of competence and experience--and he doubts a GOP candidate can beat her on that turf. So he urges the GOP, if it wishes to defeat Hillary, to "wrap itself unabashedly in the garb of reform," and discusses briefly how this might be done.

It's a thought-provoking article. The one thing I might add is that voters in 2016 may want not just a domestic reformer but also an experienced tough guy who'll know how to deal both with out-of-control illegal immigration and ISIS and Putin, and will in general be up to dealing with an extraordinarily chaotic and dangerous world. In other words, voters may want some upbeat Jack Kemp-like reformism, but they'll also want some Richard Nixon-like experience and toughness. I suppose Ronald Reagan in a way represents a synthesis of Kemp and Nixon. But who's today's Reagan?

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