6:54 am Dec. 10, 2012
On Sunday morning, after Republicans and Democrats argued about who would be to blame if they fail to reach an agreement on the fiscal cliff, they found something to agree on: the might of Hillary Clinton.
"If [Democrats'] competitor in 2016 is going to be Hillary Clinton, supported by Bill Clinton and presumably, a still relatively popular President Barack Obama, trying to win that will be truly the Super Bowl," said Newt Gingrich on "Meet the Press."
"And the Republican Party today is incapable of competing at that level," he added.
Clinton's next move was the subject of a front-page story in The New York Times on Sunday morning, and it looms over Washington politics, with the 2016 field effectively frozen by the prospect that the departing Secretary of State would overwhelm competitors on both sides of the aisle.
"Every Democrat I know says, 'God, I hope she runs. We don't need a primary. Let's just go to post with this thing. We don't want to fight with anybody over anything,'" said Carville, a former Clinton adviser.
Polls show Clinton with a tremendous lead in terms of name recognition and popularity, with a massive lead over other potential Democrats.
"If Hillary Clinton decides that she wants to get in, she clears the field, you could be seeing other Democratic potential candidates, like Governor Brian Schweitzer, Governor Martin O'Malley, trying to test the waters in case she decides not to run, or auditioning to be a vice presidential nominee," said Julianna Goldman, a Bloomberg News reporter, on "Meet the Press."
Andrew Cuomo didn't so much as come up on either show, though another New Yorker did, when asked who could fill a void of female leadership in Congress.
"The junior senator from New York will be that woman, who is now occupying Hillary's seat, Senator Gillibrand," said George Will, who curmudgeonly refused to engage in any 2016 talk.
The lone dissenter to the idea of Hillary's dominance was Carville's wife, Republican adviser Mary Matalin.
"It defies human nature to think that Democrats, even though they are redistributionist and utopians, would not be competitive, that Warner or all these other Democrats who've been waiting in the wings are going to have a dynasty, since Democrats are always complaining about these dynasties, they're going to have another Clinton step up, and everyone's going to go, yeah, step back?" she said. "I don't think so."
But Matalin prefaced her doubts by saying, "I love Hillary. I wish she would run."
Cory Booker, who is inviting the same kind of will-he-or-won't-he talk on the much smaller scale of New Jersey politics, appeared on "Face the Nation" to say he was still considering a challenge to Chris Christie next year and would be deciding soon.
“It’s got to be within the next two weeks, especially in New Jersey, because there are a lot of very good candidates for governor in New Jersey on the Democratic side,” said Booker, who polls show would have a Clinton-esque effect on the Democratic field in a New Jersey primary.
Christie has gotten increasingly formidable after his aggressive response to Hurricane Sandy and accompanying embrace of President Obama, with voters largely approving of the job he's doing.
Booker acknowledged he was also interested in a U.S. Senate seat, presumably the one held by the chamber's oldest member, Frank Lautenberg. That would appear to be a much easier race for Booker, who Democrats recently said they favor over the incumbent senator by a three-to-one margin.
Booker said he would take the next 10 days to think it over and try to answer the question, "where do I believe I can make the best difference for the city I love, for the state I love and the nation I pledge my life to.”