Hillary Clinton, though beloved by the Acela Corridor, in reality has a kind of fuzzy brand image right now. Name ID is necessary, but not sufficient, and unfortunately for her, there isn’t a single, defining philosophical principle by which she can be identified, and part of the predicate of a future Hillary run is that Obama’s brand and her association with it will be a political asset.

Consider for a moment how different the political landscape looked between 2004 and 2008. In 2004, the compassionate-conservatism-national-security mashup brought George W. Bush a second term. After four years of Democratic and media onslaught, by 2008 the GOP brand was toxic. In 2012, the Obama’s left-wing populism and technologically superior election machine left the commentariat convinced of a thousand years of Democratic dominance awaits us.

Hillary 2016 is a pleasant little parlor game, but there’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip between now and the next inauguration. GOP candidates for 2016 should behave accordingly, and run on their own message and philosophy rather than plotting their race against the Countess of Chappaqua this early in the game.