Skip to main content

Warren vs. Clinton in 2016? Don't buy it

By David Rothkopf
November 13, 2013 -- Updated 1757 GMT (0157 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • David Rothkopf: Pundits cook up buzz that Elizabeth Warren may run against Hillary Clinton in 2016
  • He says there's zero evidence; it's just product of commentariat's need for news
  • He says 2016 guessing even has Time magazine, Palin weighing in on Chris Christie's prospects
  • Rothkopf: We know little about 2016 -- still, just because pundits say it, doesn't make it false

Editor's note: David Rothkopf writes regularly for CNN.com. He is CEO and editor-at-large of the FP Group, publishers of Foreign Policy magazine, and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Follow him on Twitter at @djrothkopf.

(CNN) -- Speculation among political "analysts" has recently heated up around the idea that newly minted Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts might pose a real challenge to Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.

Never mind that Warren has zero executive experience, has been in Washington for the blink of an eye and has spent much of her life as an academic -- because of course, that's a formula that seems to have worked for the current occupant of the Oval Office (if not, as at least half the rabid commenters beneath this column will also argue, for the country.)

David Rothkopf
David Rothkopf

Never mind that she has expressed no interest in the job. Never mind that the election of 2016 is three full years away and that almost anything can happen in that time including, according to a recent study in the journal Nature, many more asteroid strikes than we originally believed possible.

Facts and sound reasoning be damned. Birds gotta fly and pundits gotta pundit. So off we go.

Facts and probabilities don't matter in this kind of demented parlor game.

It's about as useful as debating whether Justin Bieber -- if he were a scientific genius -- would devote himself to particle physics or mapping the human genome. It is a mania driven by the existential anxieties of the commentariat whose "I chatter therefore I am" philosophy implies that if they shut up they cease to exist.

The result is a discussion about nothing, meaning precious little, and with not much to recommend other than its negligible entertainment value. But heck, Twitter reportedly is now worth more than $20 billion; investors have got to have people tweeting about something. It might as well be the debate about whether Warren's anti-Wall Street stance would be tough for Clinton to combat because she may be seen as too close to the establishment or, conversely, whether Warren's financial reform agenda would motivate the fat cats in the financial community to start writing fat checks for Clinton.

Speaking of which, this kind of speculation has not been limited to the Democratic Party. This week, aside from Time magazine's cheap shot on its cover about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's girth, we had a nasty comment from the ever-thoughtful Sarah Palin suggesting Christie's weight was an issue because "it's been extreme," and the party of Lincoln locked in a debate over whether one of its most successful governors was too tubby to be president.

Early endorsements for Clinton, Christie
Warren wants discounts on student loans

No one apparently remembers that William Howard Taft was not only America's only president to be so fat he got stuck in the White House bathtub, but he was also our only chief executive to go on to become the head of a second branch of government as the chief justice.

Of course, I have to admit, Palin once again revealing her intellectual deficits while taking a shot at a fellow Republican's physical attributes is more entertaining than many new shows on television this fall ("Sean Saves the World" and "We Are Men" come to mind), but her remarks are still otherwise without redeeming social value.

So, let's take a collective chill pill, shall we?

Let's admit that all we know about 2016 is that those of us lucky to make it that far will be three years older and that can't be good news for hairlines or waistlines.

Let's admit that it is how the economy is doing, the state of the world and how we feel about outgoing President Barack Obama, and not carefully reasoned arguments by the people who gave us President Hillary Clinton in 2008 that will ultimately decide who the candidates are.

Facebook mentions: Warren vs. Clinton -- This chart shows how they fare. They're pretty close, both in terms of totals and age demographics -- about 75% of the Facebook users who were doing the talking were over the age of 45 in both cases. But Clinton did get a greater percentage of mentions from men.  Facebook mentions: Warren vs. Clinton -- This chart shows how they fare. They're pretty close, both in terms of totals and age demographics -- about 75% of the Facebook users who were doing the talking were over the age of 45 in both cases. But Clinton did get a greater percentage of mentions from men.
Facebook mentions: Warren vs. Clinton -- This chart shows how they fare. They're pretty close, both in terms of totals and age demographics -- about 75% of the Facebook users who were doing the talking were over the age of 45 in both cases. But Clinton did get a greater percentage of mentions from men.Facebook mentions: Warren vs. Clinton -- This chart shows how they fare. They're pretty close, both in terms of totals and age demographics -- about 75% of the Facebook users who were doing the talking were over the age of 45 in both cases. But Clinton did get a greater percentage of mentions from men.

Let's admit that being able to run against Washington will be an advantage, as it has been for every candidate since the 1970s, and that the candidate offering the most optimistic view of America's future is likely to win -- as he or she typically does.

Let's admit that that probably means the Republican candidate will be a current or former governor.

And finally, let's admit that sometimes just because the pundits say something is going to happen doesn't mean it isn't true.

Which is why when all is said and done I still think Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee and the next President of the United States.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of David Rothkopf.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1626 GMT (0026 HKT)
The death of Douglas McAuthur McCain, the first American killed fighting for ISIS, highlights the pull of Syria's war for Western jihadists, writes Peter Bergen.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2242 GMT (0642 HKT)
Former ambassador to Syria Robert Ford says the West should be helping moderates in the Syrian armed opposition end the al-Assad regime and form a government to focus on driving ISIS out
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1321 GMT (2121 HKT)
Ruben Navarrette says a great country does not deport thousands of vulnerable, unaccompanied minors who fled in fear for their lives
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
Robert McIntyre says Congress is the culprit for letting Burger King pay lower taxes after merging with Tim Hortons.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2335 GMT (0735 HKT)
Wesley Clark says the U.S. can offer support to its Islamic friends in the region most threatened by ISIS, but it can't fight their war
August 27, 2014 -- Updated 1126 GMT (1926 HKT)
Jeff Yang says the tech sector's diversity numbers are embarrassing and the big players need to do more.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2053 GMT (0453 HKT)
America's painful struggle with racism has often brought great satisfaction to the country's rivals, critics, and foes. The killing of Michael Brown and its tumultuous aftermath has been a bonanza.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 2019 GMT (0419 HKT)
Ed Bark says in this Emmy year, broadcasters CBS, ABC and PBS can all say they matched or exceeded HBO. These days that's no small feat
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1919 GMT (0319 HKT)
Rick Martin says the death of Robin Williams brought back memories of his own battle facing down depression as a young man
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
David Perry asks: What's the best way for police officers to handle people with psychiatric disabilities?
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1950 GMT (0350 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says it's not crazy to think Mitt Romney would be able to end up at the top of the GOP ticket in 2016
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2052 GMT (0452 HKT)
Roxanne Jones and her girlfriends would cheer from the sidelines for the boys playing Little League. But they really wanted to play. Now Mo'ne Davis shows the world that girls really can throw.
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 1629 GMT (0029 HKT)
Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider say a YouTube video apparently posted by ISIS seems to show that the group has a surveillance drone, highlighting a new reality: Terrorist groups have technology once only used by states
August 25, 2014 -- Updated 2104 GMT (0504 HKT)
Kimberly Norwood is a black mom who lives in an affluent neighborhood not far from Ferguson, but she has the same fears for her children as people in that troubled town do
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 2145 GMT (0545 HKT)
It apparently has worked for France, say Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider, but carries uncomfortable risks. When it comes to kidnappings, nations face grim options.
August 26, 2014 -- Updated 1727 GMT (0127 HKT)
John Bare says the Ice Bucket Challenge signals a new kind of activism and peer-to-peer fund-raising.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 1231 GMT (2031 HKT)
James Dawes says calling ISIS evil over and over again could very well make it harder to stop them.
August 24, 2014 -- Updated 0105 GMT (0905 HKT)
As the inquiry into the shooting of Michael Brown continues, critics question the prosecutor's impartiality.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 2247 GMT (0647 HKT)
Newt Gingrich says it's troubling that a vicious group like ISIS can recruit so many young men from Britain.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1450 GMT (2250 HKT)
David Weinberger says Twitter and other social networks have been vested with a responsibility, and a trust, they did not ask for.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
John Inazu says the slogan "We are Ferguson" is meant to express empathy and solidarity. It's not true: Not all of us live in those circumstances. But we all made them.
August 22, 2014 -- Updated 1223 GMT (2023 HKT)
Retired Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling says he learned that the territory ISIS wants to control is amazingly complex.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1951 GMT (0351 HKT)
Cerue Garlo says Liberia is desperate for help amid a Ebola outbreak that has touched every aspect of life.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1742 GMT (0142 HKT)
Eric Liu says Republicans who want to restrict voting may win now, but the party will suffer in the long term.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1538 GMT (2338 HKT)
Jay Parini: Jesus, Pope and now researchers agree: Wealth decreases our ability to sympathize with the poor.
August 21, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Judy Melinek offers a medical examiner's perspective on what happens when police kill people like Michael Brown.
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 2203 GMT (0603 HKT)
It used to be billy clubs, fire hoses and snarling German shepherds. Now it's armored personnel carriers and flash-bang grenades, writes Kara Dansky.
August 20, 2014 -- Updated 1727 GMT (0127 HKT)
Maria Haberfeld: People who are unfamiliar with police work can reasonably ask, why was an unarmed man shot so many times, and why was deadly force used at all?
ADVERTISEMENT