Guy W. Farmer: Bush vs. Clinton in 2016
November 18, 2012
Now that the 2012 presidential election is history all of us can “enjoy” the 2016 presidential election campaign, which began as soon as the polls closed on Nov. 6. It’s a never-ending campaign and we have to go along for the ride whether we like it or not – and many of us don’t.
Nevertheless, political insiders are already speculating about who will run for president in 2016 and many of them think that the front-runners are Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for the Republicans. So it’s dejà vu all over again just like it is in Latin America, where family dynasties run against each other every few years.
Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman of the “Politico” website put it this way last Wednesday: “What’s certain is that is that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush loom the largest over their respective parties as the long road toward 2016 begins.” According to Martin and Haberman, “Clinton … freezes her party’s nomination process starting at this moment,” and Bush’s “gravitas, fundraising capability, Florida roots and entree to Hispanics make him the most formidable Republican.” I agree with that assessment and would welcome a Bush vs. Clinton race in 2016. What fun!
Another political website, “Newsmax,” also welcomed a Bush-Clinton rematch. “If Clinton decides to run, her strong political position may deter other Democratic hopefuls from entering the race,” Newsmax opined, adding that Bush’s “strong ties to the Hispanic community and access to major sources of money would stand him in good stead.”
A big question, however, is whether Mrs. Clinton will want to do it all over again in 2016, when she’ll be pushing 70. Even though she and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, seem to live for politics – he was President Obama’s most effective surrogate this year – you have to wonder when enough is enough for the Clintons.
As for Jeb Bush, who will be 63 in 2016, he would be an attractive candidate for a party that needs to reinvent itself in order to attract women and minorities. With a Mexican-American wife, fluent Spanish and a moderate position on immigration issues, he would be well-positioned to attract Hispanic voters, who voted for him in large numbers in Florida.
I saw Gov. Bush in action in Venezuela more than 20 years ago when he led a trade mission to Caracas as Florida’s commerce secretary. He was charming and well-informed and his fluent Spanish was a big plus as he urged Venezuelans to do business with the Sunshine State.
Although Mrs. Clinton is well-liked by her State Department colleagues, she must answer many questions following the murder of our ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, in a Benghazi terrorist attack. We want to know what she knew and when she knew it, and I’d like to know what Ambassador Stevens was doing in a very dangerous place on 9/11.
Well, all of this will play out over the next four years. Stay tuned.
• Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, is a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer.