Bush-Clinton Showdown?

Hillary Clinton has not yet officially announced her candidacy for next year’s presidential elections, yet few doubt she will do so within the next few months. It is likely that she will become the first woman president of the United States. It is improbable that the Democratic Party will produce a candidate able to eclipse her status.

Few people express indifference toward the former first lady and secretary of state. She has both passionate followers and fierce enemies. Various sectors of the population hold her in great esteem. Women, for example, view Mrs. Clinton as a staunch feminist, one whose support for military intervention in Afghanistan — helping, among other things, in the liberation of women — is well known. She would probably beat most Republican candidates in securing both the growing Hispanic vote and the African-American vote. (When Obama was still an unknown figure, her husband was once called the “first black President” of the United States.)

She can infuriate people. She has had scuffles with those in her own party; she has been called opportunistic and overscrupulous. Irritated by unjust attacks made by the Clinton faction against Obama during the 2008 campaign, Samantha Power — one of Obama’s close advisers and current ambassador to the United Nations — once told a reporter in reference to Hillary Clinton: “She is a monster, too . . . she is stooping to anything.” With that remark, Power almost buried her political career. Obama would eventually appoint Hillary as secretary of state, but the truth is that others share Power’s feelings.

Ethical accusations against Clinton are surfacing again with the knowledge that various foreign governments have been extremely generous toward the nonprofit foundation created by the Clintons. To avoid any conflict of interest, the Clintons announced they would not accept foreign donations when Hillary became secretary of state. They mostly kept that promise. Since Mrs. Clinton gave up her post in 2013, money has once again been flowing in at an increased rate, particularly once her candidacy for the presidency became probable. In 2014, foreign donations to the Clinton philanthropic organization doubled.

Arab countries have been particularly generous, with Saudi Arabia donating about $10 million since the Clinton organization’s founding, along with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Western countries, such as Australia and Germany, have also contributed. Canada, which has an interest in the Keystone XL pipeline — which Obama opposes — has donated $480,000. It is an open secret that such donations are in fact investments for when Clinton inhabits the White House.

The Republican field has seen the emergence of a figure representing another illustrious family: Jeb Bush. The Republican Party has various possible candidates, although none of them would seem to come close to Hillary Clinton’s stature. Various commentators agree that the “young” Bush would be the only one who could possibly compete with her. He is relatively well-known, hasn’t yet lost favor with the public, knows Spanish through his spouse, and has an open view of immigration. With this, he could recover part of the Hispanic vote that the Republican Party has lost due to its immigration stance. Also, he would not be short on money.

Although he hasn’t formally announced his candidacy, Bush, like Hillary, is already setting up his team. He has been in contact with people who worked for his brother, even though he prefers to seek out those who worked for his father (James Baker, for example), and who were less divisive figures in the public’s opinion. Bush senior was not a glamorous president, but his foreign policy is remembered in positive light. He cunningly dealt with the Soviet Union’s collapse.

Jeb has made it clear that he respects his brother, but his handling of foreign policy would not be exactly the same.

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