Newt: Let's face it, Hillary's going to be awfully tough to beat in 2016

He doesn’t say it’s impossible, mind you. Just next to impossible. Dude, I’m nervous:

“First of all, she’s very formidable as a person,” he said. “She’s a very competent person. She’s married to the most popular Democrat in the country; they both think [it] would be good for her to be president. It makes it virtually impossible to stop her for the nomination.”

In addition to having Bill Clinton’s support, Hillary Clinton would also have the backing of President Barack Obama, who will still be a “relatively popular president,” Gingrich added. “Trying to win that will be truly the Super Bowl.”

Is it “virtually” impossible to stop her in the primaries or is it impossible? Democrats need to overcome eight years of big-government fatigue and win a third straight presidential election. Their bench is far thinner than the GOP’s, except for an internationally famous, extremely popular former first lady turned senator turned Secretary of State who’s angling to make history as the first woman president. What Democratic voter in his or her right mind is going to roll the dice on Cuomo or Martin O’Malley or whoever when they could take their chances with Hillary! and the Clinton machine instead?

Here’s the real question. What does the near-inevitability of Hillary’s nomination mean for the GOP primaries in 2016? I think Republican voters will feel tremendous pressure to nominate someone with enough star power of their own that they won’t be completely overshadowed by her in the general. That’s good news for Rubio and Chris Christie, not such good news for Jindal and Rand Paul. Rubio would also benefit insofar as he and Jindal would likely be the only Republicans with a “historic candidacy” narrative capable of somewhat neutralizing Hillary’s. The wild card is Jeb Bush, insofar as he’s the only prospective nominee — at least right now — whose “brand” is as well known as the Clintons’. Is that a good thing in his case, though? Asking voters whether they want to revisit the Clinton era or the Bush era seems, shall we say, not so smart; besides, if you nominate Jeb, you forfeit the talking point that the other side’s candidate is old news, a stale dynastic offering at a moment when a new, more diverse America is being born. Exit question: Would Rubio want to challenge Hillary?

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