Time wears us down, and Hillary would be 69 in 2016. The past four years have been brutal, and she shows the effects of constant travel, immense pressure and a rather noble lack of attention to her vanities. A presidential campaign, though more familiar, would be worse. So much engagement, so many bad meals, a terrible pace for anyone of any age but especially for a woman who may be musing about grandchildren and doting.

Then again, Hillary is no cookie baker, as we know. And the timing, finally, is right. Her popularity is at its highest level ever. She is admired around the world. She has earned her chops not by inheritance (marriage to Bill) but through her own sweat and, yes, tears. She has managed through hard work and quiet rectitude to erase most memories of her earlier years as first lady and of the woman who did, indeed, stand by her man when most wouldn’t.

Not incidentally, the women’s vote is hers. Even Republican women would find it hard not to cast a ballot for Hillary. If not her, then who? And when? The Republican bench may be full, but, with the exception of Jeb Bush, a former Florida governor, it seems full of vice presidents rather than presidents. A Bush-Clinton contest might drive the country into dynastic delirium, but there would be a certain poetic symmetry: Finally the right Bush and the right Clinton.