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
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
LZ Granderson says the cyber-standing ovation given to Robyn Lawley, an Australian plus-size model who posted unretouched photos, shows how crazy Americans' notions of beauty have become
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
A crisis like the Gaza conflict or the surge of immigrants can be an opportunity for a lame duck president, writes Julian Zelizer
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1822 GMT (0222 HKT)
Carol Costello says the league's light punishment sent the message that it didn't consider domestic violence a serious offense
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1251 GMT (2051 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says saggy pants aren't the kind of fashion statement protected by the First Amendment.
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1852 GMT (0252 HKT)
Margaret Hoover says some GOP legislators support a state's right to allow same-sex marriage and the right of churches, synagogues and mosques not to perform the sacrament
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1831 GMT (0231 HKT)
Megan McCracken and Jennifer Moreno say it's unacceptable for states to experiment with new execution procedures without full disclosure
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1850 GMT (0250 HKT)
Priya Satia says today's drones for bombardment and surveillance have their roots in the deadly history of Western aerial control of the Middle East that began in World War One
July 28, 2014 -- Updated 1635 GMT (0035 HKT)
Jeff Yang says it's great to see the comics make an effort at diversifying the halls of justice
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1555 GMT (2355 HKT)
Rick Francona says the reported artillery firing from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1822 GMT (0222 HKT)
Paul Callan says the fact that appeals delay the death penalty doesn't make it an unconstitutional punishment, as one judge ruled
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 2225 GMT (0625 HKT)
Pilot Robert Mark says it's been tough for the airline industry after the plane crashes in Ukraine and Taiwan.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1510 GMT (2310 HKT)
Jennifer DeVoe laments efforts to end subsidies that allow working Americans to finally afford health insurance.
July 26, 2014 -- Updated 1533 GMT (2333 HKT)
Ruti Teitel says assigning a costly and humiliating "collective guilt" to Germany after WWI would end up teaching the global community hard lessons about who to blame for war crimes
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1245 GMT (2045 HKT)
John Sutter responds to criticism of his column on the ethics of eating dog.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
Frida Ghitis says it's tempting to ignore North Korea's antics as bluster but the cruel regime is dangerous.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 1850 GMT (0250 HKT)
To the question "Is Putin evil?" Alexander Motyl says he is evil enough for condemnation by people of good will.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1803 GMT (0203 HKT)
Laurie Garrett: Poor governance, ignorance, hysteria worsen the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia.
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1349 GMT (2149 HKT)
Patrick Cronin and Kelley Sayler say the world is seeing nonstate groups such as Ukraine's rebels wielding more power to do harm than ever before
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 2205 GMT (0605 HKT)
Ukraine ambassador Olexander Motsyk places blame for the MH17 tragedy squarely at the door of Russia
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1142 GMT (1942 HKT)
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1853 GMT (0253 HKT)
Les Abend says, with rockets flying over Tel Aviv and missiles shooting down MH17 over Ukraine, a commercial pilot's pre-flight checklist just got much more complicated
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1317 GMT (2117 HKT)
Mark Kramer says Russia and its proxies have a history of shooting down civilian aircraft, often with few repercussions
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1637 GMT (0037 HKT)
Gerard Jacobs says grieving families and nations need the comfort of traditional rituals to honor the remains of loved ones, particularly in a mass disaster
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1413 GMT (2213 HKT)
The idea is difficult to stomach, but John Sutter writes that eating dog is morally equivalent to eating pig, another intelligent animal. If Americans oppose it, they should question their own eating habits as well.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT)
Bill van Esveld says under the laws of war, civilians who do not join in the fight are always to be protected. An International Criminal Court could rule on whether Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocketing are war crimes.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1408 GMT (2208 HKT)
Gordon Brown says the kidnapped Nigerian girls have been in captivity for 100 days, but the world has not forgotten them.
ADVERTISEMENT