Speed Reads

campaign 2016

Why do we assume Hillary Clinton is as politically skilled as Bill?

Based on her stumbles of the last couple of weeks, more than a few people have begun wondering if Hillary Clinton might have a harder climb to the presidency than is widely expected. Along those lines, the Washington Examiner's Philip Klein argues that Hillary's problem isn't that she's rich, it's that she's an overrated politician:

Because the Clintons are often viewed in tandem, a lot of people have mistakenly transposed Bill's political acumen onto Hillary. But in reality, her political career has involved winning a Senate seat in New York over a weak Republican opponent in a year that Al Gore carried the state by 25 points — and squandering a massive lead against candidate Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic nomination battle. [Washington Examiner]

Well, when you put it like that...

Nobody is suggesting that Hillary Clinton isn't smart or talented or accomplished, but Klein has a point: We tend to assume that Bill and Hillary share the same instincts and attributes. But this doesn't really make sense. We don't do this in other industries — we don't assume that the husband of a virtuoso performer could replicate his partner's musical performance. Likewise, political instincts aren't transferrable by marriage.