Chuck Todd: If Hillary were running to be the second woman president, she'd be just another candidate

Via the Standard, I hate to challenge him on this, and not just because he’s largely correct. America’s going to play a weird game in 2016 where, on the one hand, we’ll be reminded constantly that her candidacy is historic while, on the other hand, it’ll be considered borderline sexist to claim that she’s winning lots of votes on that basis. (That game seems familiar somehow.) How dare you suggest that a woman as accomplished as Hillary Clinton might get elected chiefly because she’s a woman! But isn’t it amazing that we might have our first woman president?! Todd’s committing a thoughtcrime misdemeanor by saying this, and good for him for doing it.

But c’mon. Hillary probably would be the frontrunner, even running as the second woman president, and she most definitely wouldn’t be just another candidate.

Hillary Clinton has been named Most Admired Woman a total of 18 times, more than any other woman in Gallup’s history, including each of the last 12 years. Clinton first won the distinction in 1993, when she was first lady, and has continued to rank at or near the top of the list while serving in a variety of public roles including as U.S. senator and as secretary of state. The 15% naming her this year is down from 21% last year and is the lowest figure for her since 2006.

Like Ron Burgundy, she’s kind of a big deal, much bigger than any of the losers on the Democratic bench this year. Joe Biden, for instance, wouldn’t seem like any less of a hapless doofus if we’d already had one woman president. I think Todd’s correct insofar as Democrats, and probably the wider public, tacitly believe that Hillary should have a sort of right of first refusal in becoming the first major party woman nominee. If she was the second, Elizabeth Warren would be more likely to challenge her; there wouldn’t be the same sense that Hillary’s earned a shot to make history in the general election and that Warren was thus trying to steal her birthright or whatever. But someone with Hillary’s name recognition and CV, who spent eight years in the White House during a Democratic administration that most Americans remember fondly and who probably has the most lucrative rolodex in American politics, was always going to be the prohibitive favorite. It would take another Obama, with his own pathbreaking narrative, to stop her. And there are no Obamas out there right now. Whew.

Update: On the other hand.