Roger Simon: If Hillary represents an Obama third term, she is doomed
Though he was often credited with being a calming influence in the fractious world of high-stakes politics, there was one thing Axelrod held dear: the ability to tell his boss off when his boss needed telling off.
Axelrod went to the White House in January 2009 and left in January 2011. And today I wonder whether there is anyone in the West Wing who has the valor and the vigor to occasionally tell the President off.
Even the civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after the slaying of an unarmed black teenager by a white police officer did not keep Obama off the links.
Still, Obama played on. And even though he talked about Ferguson in a brief news conference, he wanted to keep it at arm's length.
And it was Holder in 2009, in his first major speech after being confirmed, who said, "Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as (an) ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been - and we, I believe, continue to be, in too many ways - essentially a nation of cowards."
Obama wanted no part of it. In 2012 - after Trayvon Martin, another unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed - Obama said it is not "particularly productive when politicians try to organize conversations" on race.
There appears to be nobody working for him who both disagrees with him and is willing to tell him so. Instead, we are left with a President who seems wrapped in his aloofness as a protective blanket to keep the outside from getting in.
So why should he worry? You know who should worry? Hillary Clinton should worry.
She has some of the same flaws as Obama. She can project a chilly public personality, a remoteness, a reserve and a detachment from ordinary people.
"She may be riding high right now, but people may decide against having another four years of this kind of governing," Paul Ryan, who was the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2012, said recently.
It is easier to imagine Clinton losing the presidency in 2016 than to imagine exactly whom she would lose to. The Republican field has very few candidates capable of winning a general election and a gaggle of far-right-wingers who are not.
And even if she does that, she is not a sure thing. If she can be labeled as Obama's third term, she can be beaten.
Roger Simon is Politico's chief political columnist.
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