March 15, 2015

Return with us now to those fatiguing days of yesteryear....the Clinton family rides again!

by Charles Schott

"A front-running horse, a cloud of dust and a hearty supply of campaign silver!" It's Hillary and Bill Clinton time again at the OK Corral!

"Return with us now to those thrilling, exhausting and embarrassing days of campaign yesteryear!

"The Clinton family rides again!"

Or so sayeth the announcer doing the run-up to the 2016 Presidential election.

While Hillary Clinton's nomination by the D's now seems inevitable to many, there is also a question whether she may be a "Clinton too far" to win the general election in November?

Recent elections have often been said to be about "turnout;" the efforts of the two parties to turn out their bases and win on that basis.

There traditionally has been an older and continuing view that close elections are often won by appeals to independents and swing voters.

That view typically gets muddied because independent and swing voters can each break down into sub-groups that are at cross-purposes; sub-groups that do not always agree.

On some occasions, however, there are issues that break coherently for such independent and swing voters; where they are in agreement across the field.  Those are the issues where appeals to such voters can have the most impact affecting a general election.


There are three issues of voter fatigue that now appear likely to be part of the run-up to the 2016 Presidential election.  Interestingly, they are: (1) Obama Fatigue; (2) Clinton Fatigue; and (3) Bush Fatigue.

1. The existence of Obama Fatigue is clear from the outcome of the 2014 elections and something that can be expected to increase in the months ahead.  This may seem unfair for the residual unpopularity of the current President among independents and swing voters to impact the chances of a subsequent D Presidential nominee, but this is one of those areas that can be expected to be a factor going forward.

Hillary Clinton will at some point try to run away from this unpopularity, but her having been a senior member of the current President's cabinet "team of rivals" will make that difficult.

In any event, the tensions between the President and the 2016 nominee and how they play out during the campaign will be among the more interesting issues of the coming campaign.

2. Clinton Fatigue represents a separate set of issues that have continued from Bill and Hillary Clinton's earliest days on the national scene right through to the present.  It's that capacity to skate right up to the edge and still avoid sustained consequences or punishment over and over again.  These issues have been large and small and include even the most recent Clinton Secretary of State private e-mail accounts and funding the Clinton Foundation with foreign government contributions (in spite of assurances not to do this under all but a few prescribed circumstances).  They can be expected to continue and to have some degree of influence on the feelings of independent and swing voters across the board.


Political Cartoons by Steve Breen


There is a bigger concern, however, that at some point the entire nature of these continuing problems raised by the Clinton's conduct will produce an overall "appearance of impropriety" issue; one where the process of constantly skating up to the edge on ethical and legal matters becomes its own separate significant concern to swing and independent voters.

In short, does this at some point become an issue of whether or not the country needs "to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear?"....or does the stress resulting from such problems become something such swing and independent voters will have simply had enough of; something that is unnecessary and negative unto itself?

3. Several D's have expressed the view that if Jeb Bush is the R nominee, such issues will be eclipsed (and cancelled out) by Bush Fatigue.  Some R's have agreed, bemoaning the D's ability to dismiss such recurring Clinton issues with calls to "just move on" (or as Hillary Clinton recently put it on the subject of Benghazi, "Who cares about that anymore?").  It doesn't make it easier that this seems to happen with the help of a non-aggressive mainstream media (at least where it comes to covering the D's).

It is worth noting though that Bush Fatigue falls into a somewhat different category.  First, it doesn't cut across swing and independent voters in a uniform way (some even like the jobs done by the two former Presidents Bush).  Second, the underlying factors of Bush Fatigue are substantive and not recurring character issues.

Overall, questions of Obama and possible Bush fatigue (assuming Bush is the R nominee) are fairly well understood.

Questions of Clinton fatigue are not, however, and have the potential to develop into an overriding character issue that at some tipping point may make the overall difference in 2016.

So let the games begin.  We are now less than a year away from the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary and South Carolina, Nevada and all the others that are sure to follow.....

Hi, Ho, Silver!  Away!



Charles Schott served in the last three Republican administrations and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the George W. Bush Administration.  Earlier articles appear at

   He can be reached at .


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