June 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm


On Clinton-Bush fatigue

When I was a guest on conservative Hugh Hewitt’s national radio program last fall, he asked me what foreign policy achievements I thought former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would brag about, if she runs for president.

I was not prepared for the question.

Clinton’s new book, “Hard Choices,” which she is flogging nationwide in what looks transparently like a prelude to a presidential campaign, finds ample examples.

Why didn’t I think of that? Partly because, as much as I expect Clinton to run for president, I don’t expect her to campaign much on foreign policy issues.

Ironic as that sounds in regard to a former secretary of state, I think most American voters would rather focus on problems here at home.

As the Obama administration puts the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts into our rearview mirror, most Americans probably are grateful enough that she didn’t get us into any new major wars.

When foreign policy issues do arise, she starts from a good place. A new ABC/Washington Post poll finds 59 percent of Americans approve of her job performance at State.

Clinton fatigue?

I have never for a minute believed the many people, including Democrats, who say the country is tired of Clintons — or Republicans who say, as former First Lady Barbara Bush did last year, “We’ve had enough Bushes.”

We Americans say we don’t like royalty, yet we flock to news about the British royals, in particular, and to familiar names on our ballots.

This is particularly true of Republicans, who have respected seniority in recent decades, gravitating to nominees who have run for the presidency at least once before.

A notable exception, George W. Bush in 2000, nevertheless enjoyed the benefit of having a familiar name.

I still cling to my long-held prediction that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush will yet heed the call to unify the GOP’s pragmatic establishment by running in 2016.

If he can survive the smaller states, where the tea party proved strongest in 2012, the big-state moderates could hand him the nomination.

Bush vs. Clinton in 2016? Hey, it could still happen.

Clarence Page writes for The Chicago Tribune.