Do readers sense a theme developing? Rand Paul made Hillary Clinton’s age an explicit attack point this weekend, but Scott Walker tries a slightly more subtle approach. It’s not that Hillary is old and tired, mind you, but that her big-government, top-down approach has gone past its bedtime:

“I think the biggest loser a week ago was Hillary Clinton,” Walker, a possible Republican White House conteder in 2016, said in comments on Fox News.

“She embodies Washington. She embodies that old, tired top-down approach from the government. I think in the states as governors, we offer a much better alternative and I think there’s a number of us who would be good prospects out there.”

That’s a clever, if not entirely subtle, campaign slogan. There’s nothing wrong with making age an issue in a campaign, or at least there wasn’t when Democrats did it with John McCain, Bob Dole, and Ronald Reagan, all of whom were about the same age as Hillary will be when the election rolls around (68, 69 on Inauguration Day in 2017). I’d have to consult my Republican-to-Democrat dictionary on the precise conditions that makes age references become seeeeeeeeeexist (best guess: when it hurts Democrats), but there’s been lots of precedent from Democrats on that line of attack. Explicit mentions of age and health might look ungallant when aimed at a woman — let’s face it, there’s still a cultural resistance to this for which Republicans have to calculate — but going after Hillary’s big-government approach and the Nostalgia Tour quality of a Clinton run for the White House could be very effective at making the same point, without the lingering distaste.

Speaking of which, Democrats will face an ironic reversal of optics from 2008, 1996, and 1992 if Hillary wins the nomination. Practically every contender on the Republican side will be much younger than Hillary on the dais, and conspicuously so. As Republicans learned the hard way in those earlier elections, voters like to look forward rather than to the past, which is one reason that World War II heroes like George H. W. Bush and Dole lost to a Baby Boomer who played Fleetwod Mac’s “Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow)” as his campaign song.  That dynamic will play hard against Democrats, even beyond Hillary’s attempt at throwback politics and dodging of the disastrous Barack Obama legacy on foreign policy, much of which belongs to her.

And speaking of catastrophes, a million dollars just doesn’t buy much these days, huh? Bill and Hillary Clinton hit the hustings for fellow Democrats in this election cycle, as much as to salvage as much as they could from the midterms as to build momentum for Hillary’s presumed 2016 presidential campaign.  So far, Ruby Cramer reports at Buzzfeed, the campaign filings from Democrats in the midterm election confirm that various Democratic campaigns spent $700,000 on travel costs for the Clintons, and that will stretch into seven figures:

Bill and Hillary Clinton were the most sought after surrogates in the Democratic Party this year. He campaigned for more than 47 candidates. She for more than 26. Supporters estimate that, together, the Clintons headlined 75 rallies and fundraisers — and logged roughly 50,000 miles jetting from state to state.

When the Clintons travel, they fly private. This year, their airfare cost candidates at least $699,000, available state and federal campaign finance reports show.

Payments from campaigns and party committees to Executive Fliteways, the independent charter company the Clintons use, could be found for just under half of the trips the former first family took on behalf of Democrats this year.

The costs of two Clintons trips — one to Iowa, the other to Kentucky — were reported earlier this fall by Bloomberg and Politico, respectively.

But the $699,000 figure is the first comprehensive estimate that establishes the scope of the costs associated with using the Clintons as surrogates. By the time the rest of the filings come in, the number will likely exceed $1 million.

As Cramer notes, the Clintons aren’t allowed to pay for flights that benefit other campaigns, but … they don’t have to fly on private planes, either. They could choose to fly commercial, which would lessen the overhead considerably. It would also put Hillary in touch with the hoi polloi, which one might think would be a priority for a presidential contender. Mitt Romney flies commercial much more regularly, and fellow travelers end up tweeting out their contacts with the once (and future?) candidate.

Besides, for the value, Democrats clearly should have rethought the expense. Last week, America Rising put together a list of Hillary’s campaign efforts, which produced more than a dozen losses — including an embarrassing defeat in their former home state of Arkansas:

  • She was touted as a savior for Kentucky Senate Candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes. She LOST by double digits.
    • *NOTE: Grimes paid $17,000 to fly Hillary to Kentucky to campaign for her. 
  • She campaigned down the stretch for IA Senate Candidate Bruce Braley. He LOST by 8 points in a state Obama won twice
    • *NOTE: Iowa Democrats paid $50,000 to fly Hillary to campaign for him. 
  • The Clinton brand was said to be gold in Arkansas. She and Bill campaigned for AR Senator Mark Pryor extensively. He LOST by SEVENTEEN POINTS. 

It looks like the Clintons’ influence is also “old and tired” these days. For those kind of results, Democrats should have bought coach tickets through Travelocity.