Hillary Clinton Had the Worst Year in Washington?

Chris Cillizza says Hillary Clinton had the “worst year in Washington.” Jonathan Bernstein says that’s wrong. In fact, she probably had the best year in Washington:

One year ago, Clinton was the leading candidate for the Democratic nomination, perhaps in the best position any non-incumbent has been in modern times. Yet two potentially strong contenders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Vice President Joe Biden, were lurking around the edges of the contest….A year later, Warren and Biden are no longer threats. While Senator Bernie Sanders put together an impressive campaign, he’s about as weak a major opponent as Clinton could have imagined drawing.

….Meanwhile, Clinton has amassed more support from party actors than any previous non-incumbent in the modern era. A potential threat from a House select committee that appears to exist just to do opposition research on her has turned into a bad joke. The summer scandals seem to have died down; they could return, but it’s not clear if voters will care. And her performance in the marathon session in front of that select committee quieted the whispers that her age might be an impediment in her campaign.

Cillizza’s case is based almost entirely on Clinton’s email problems during the summer. That’s it. But Bernstein is right: Clinton had a trying summer, but not a bad year. She eventually overcame the email issue and ended the year in a position about as strong as you could imagine. She’s a virtual lock for the Democratic nomination, and the meltdown of the Republican primary race has made her an even stronger contender to win the presidency. What more could someone in Washington ask for? If this counts as someone’s worst year, I could use a few more bad years myself.

So who did have the worst year in Washington? Cillizza correctly pegs Jeb Bush as one of the nominees. John Boehner and Kevin McCarthy are on the list. Scott Walker certainly bombed in spectacular fashion. Benjamin Netanyahu is an honorary Washingtonian, and he didn’t do himself any favors this year. Anyone else?


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