Actual scene from Hillary's first debate with the likely GOP 2016 nominee, the RNC Squirrel
Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign is here, reports
Amy Chozick of the New York Times
, starting with what amounts to "an unofficial listening tour":
In the coming weeks, Hillary Rodham Clinton will stop delivering paid speeches. She will embark on an unofficial listening tour to gather ideas from the business community, union leaders and others. And she will seek advice from such far-flung advisers as an ad man in Austin, Tex., behind the iconic “Don’t Mess With Texas” campaign and a leading strategist at a Boston-based public affairs consulting firm with ties to the Kennedys.
Chozick says that before the results of Tuesday's elections were in, Clinton's team was divided between getting an early start to the campaign or waiting until the spring.
But over the past few days, a consensus formed among those close to Mrs. Clinton that it is time to accelerate her schedule: She faces pressure to resurrect the Democratic Party, and she is already being scrutinized as the party’s presumptive nominee, so advisers see little reason to delay.
Makes sense: In 2007 and 2008, she ran a cautious campaign aimed at projecting inevitability above all else. This time, even if she is in a commanding position, she doesn't want her message to be that she's a foregone conclusion. And now is the time for her to start defining what her campaign will be about.
Meanwhile, Republicans are putting on a happy face, claiming they are giddy about the prospect of facing Hillary in 2016:
“I sure as heck hope we’re running against Hillary Clinton,” Mr. Priebus said at a breakfast with reporters on Friday. “What you just saw on Tuesday night was about as flat of a performance as you could have ever seen from the Democratic Party’s brightest star.”
Uh, sorry Reince. If it seems 2014 was a good election for Republicans, that's because it wasn't a presidential election. Yes, it's true a poll of people who voted on Tuesday said
they would have elected Mitt Romney over Clinton, albeit by a narrow 46-45 margin. But before the GOP goes and celebrates the first 2016 poll with Romney leading Hillary, they should maybe consider that it's the exception that proves the rule, because if you simulate the 2016 electorate with that same poll data, Hillary wins by a comfortable 6 points, an 8-point swing.
Bottom line: Priebus can thump his chest all he wants, but being able to beat Hillary Clinton with a midterm electorate does his party no good, because she wasn't running in 2014, she's running in 2016, and in 2016 we're going to have a presidential electorate. That all being said, I do hope that Republicans believe what he's saying, because the more the GOP believes its own spin, the more likely it will be that they nominate a clown like Ted Cruz. And that would be fantastic news, up and down the ticket.