The challenges facing Hillary Clinton

For starters, Clinton has to contend now, and most likely in the future, with President Barack Obama’s declining poll ratings, which could well be an obstacle in her path. And while the president remains very popular with Democrats, his ratings in the past few months with the overall electorate have dropped below 50 percent in recent approval-rating polls. His specific ratings on the economy and foreign policy have fallen closer to 40 percent and show no signs of improving.

Meanwhile, his signature achievement — Obamacare — is at its low point in the polls, with close to 60 percent of Americans wanting it either significantly rolled back or repealed entirely.

Worse yet for Clinton, with the ongoing scandals over Benghazi, the Internal Revenue Service, The Associated Press and the National Security Agency, she probably will not be able to run on the Obama record — if anything, she will have to distance herself from it. And even though her time as secretary of state is largely viewed as a success, it’s an amorphous one: She has no lasting accomplishment in the diplomatic realm to fall back on.

Clinton, therefore, needs to take immediate action to address these challenges and must do so before the 2016 campaign season gets into full swing. Without challenging the president directly, she must make it clear that she will take the country in a fundamentally different direction from the current administration.