The Clinton Brand of 2014 is missing three key elements that vaulted Bill Clinton to power in 1992. First was new ideas. Second was an authentic populist connection. Third was the idea of generational change.
Hillary Clinton’s claims on the first two elements are faint, compared to his in the early ’90s — a technocrat, her ideas since her failed health care reform effort have typically been smaller-bore and more programmatic than about sweeping change. And her claim on the third is nonexistent, as a woman in her late 60s who by 2016 will have been famous for a quarter century. No longer fresh-faced, Bill and Hillary Clinton long ago stopped being everyday folks barely getting by on a government salary.
The fact that time marches on has advantages as well. The Clinton Brand today stands for tested experience, as well as foreign policy expertise, in ways that are vastly more credible than anything Bill Clinton could boast when he ran for president. And her potential to shatter the glass ceiling as the first female president is a compelling measure of change that can impact how she is perceived.