If Elizabeth Warren did seek the Democratic presidential nomination, she’d seize the party and the national agenda. Rank-and-file Democrats seethe with concern about stagnant wages, income inequality, and the malefactions of great wealth.

Left to her own devices, Hillary Clinton will talk about none of that. Hillary Clinton is a candidate so cautious that, compared to her, Michael Dukakis seems the second coming of William Jennings Bryan. Everything about her is polled, focus-grouped, and second-guessed. Her policy positions are measured in millimeters to the left of center. Her speeches are written first and foremost to ensure they can never be quoted against her. How many people remember what Hillary Clinton accomplished as a U.S. Senator? As a secretary of state? Since the fiasco of her 1993 healthcare initiative, Hillary Clinton has so feared doing the wrong thing that she has almost always opted to do nothing…

What about the general election? Not since 1960 has the Democratic party won the presidency with a Massachusetts liberal, and even that victory proved a squeaker. But elections are comparisons, and if Warren has weaknesses in such a contest, Hillary Clinton has more. Suppose the Republicans nominate Jeb Bush, as seems at least plausible. What’s the Clinton message in such a contest? “My husband had a better job creation record than your brother”? She won’t be able to portray him as a candidate who owes everything to his famous last name. She won’t be able to ask questions about how he made so much money so fast without delivering any real world good or service to anybody. She won’t be able to dismiss him as out-of-touch with the realities of everyday life. She can’t say that he’s a throwback to the politics of 20 years ago. Each and every one of those most promising lines of attack on Jeb Bush will be foreclosed to Hillary Clinton, because every one of them will be even more damaging to her than to him. But Elizabeth Warren can speak to them. There’s no national Democrat who can draw a sharper contrast with Jeb Bush than Warren; no Democrat who has more in common with him than Hillary Clinton.