No one reads Mark Halperin anymore but this is a fascinating look into his mind:
If 2016 brings a Hillary Clinton-Jeb Bush contest (a bigger “if” for me than for many of my colleagues, but still…), the dynamics will be fascinating. Neither will go unchallenged for the party nomination, but both might avoid having to strain to become the standard bearer, fluently brandishing the elements required to win: money, fame, access to the media, compelling personal/political narratives, policy chops, top-shelf staffing, support from both elites and the grassroots, and the experience borne from a professional lifetime at the very highest levels of American politics.
Although both would face nomination competitors, there is a very solid chance Jeb and Hillary could emerge largely unscathed as general election candidates, and not forced to the extremes of their respective parties. They would both almost certainly follow the Bill Clinton-George W. Bush model, running in the ideological center throughout the entire race, with announcement speeches mirroring their convention acceptance speeches. In fact, on some issues, Jeb Bush might actually turn out to be more moderate than Hillary Clinton, and Clinton more conservative than Bush.
Jeb Bush has already succumbed to teahadist pressure on one of the most important issues in presidential general elections: immigration reform. And the primary is three years away. The notion he’s going to win while keeping to the middle is laughable.
The disconnect between pundits and voters on the subject of the Bush family is truly profound: W left office one of the most unpopular presidents in history. We regularly read right-wingers tell us that W wasn’t a “real conservative”.
And now the red sea will part and let us brother waltz to the nomination?