My early take is that Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton will win the money primary. Hurray for dynasty, inherited donor networks and America’s ostensible creation of a House of Lords.
However, all the focus on last name and inherited political power may be eclipsed if Jeb and Hillary propose actual substantive agendas for the future that are more thoughtful than what their opponents offer. Does substance still matter in American politics? We shall see.
I would advise Jeb and Hillary to give us viable plans and maybe a consensus can rally around one of your visions for the future. [Postscript: This turned out to be wrong. They did propose substance, and still lost.]
Jeb seems to be more moderate on immigration and adoption of Common Core educational standards than the Republican base. Hillary seems to be more hawkish on foreign policy and less liberal on economic policy than the Democratic base. Let’s see what Jeb and Hillary have to say on economic development, income inequality, racial disparities in police behavior and in the criminal justice system, health care, tax reform, the deficit, global warming, fracking, Keystone Pipeline, continued development of alternative and renewable energy sources. Do they just recycle stale ideas or do they actually have something new and interesting to say?
One reason for Bill Clinton’s success in the 1992 campaign was that he was brimming with ideas and proposals and seemed to have a vision for the country that Bush 41 didn’t have. Bush 41 dismissed “the vision thing.” Remember the “Putting People First” platform? It wasn’t released too soon, but developed from conversations with voters and policy wonks after listening to people for a year and a half and released around the Democratic convention. Perhaps Hillary should follow a similar script.
George W. Bush compensated for his father’s lack of vision by holding to a very strong vision — “compassionate conservatism,” “no child left behind” education reform, tax cuts, prescription drug benefits in Medicare (a sap to the pharmaceutical industry), regime change in Iraq — even when it conflicted with economic or political reality.
God, we are looking at a dull 2016 cycle in terms of personalities. [Postscript: this was wrong. Thank Trump for keeping the campaign riveting, if appalling.] …America is ripe for a one-term presidency…haven’t had one for the longest stretch in US presidential history.