WASHINGTON - You would think the Democrats were riding high in the political polls, with all of the worshipful media attention being given to Hillary Clinton lately.
Hardly a week goes by that the media establishment isn't gushing over her likely presidential bid to succeed President Obama in the White House. The networks have been shamelessly promoting her, with nary a hint of any criticism. She's on the covers of major magazines. And next week she begins what may be the biggest national book tour in publishing history.
But Clinton has a lot of baggage in her past, and more than a few political obstacles to overcome before she has any hope of moving back into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Clinton, Obama and the Democrats can hardly point to a record of major accomplishment over the past six years, and the next two years don't look very promising, either.
For starters, Clinton won't be able to campaign on an agenda that tells voters, "If you liked the past eight years of Barack Obama's presidency, you're going to love the next eight years of a Clinton administration.
Polls show that Americans are pretty sour on the last, nearly half dozen years under Obama and the Democrats on a wide range of issues. And they are especially critical of one of Clinton's major failures as secretary of State: the Benghazi coverup.
This week's Washington Post-ABC News poll, among other surveys, gives Obama failing grades on just about all of the major issues that voters say are among their biggest concerns.
Only 43 percent of Americans approve of the Obama administration's handling of the economy, with more than 50 percent saying they disapprove of the job he's doing on an issue that tops the list of public concerns that affect most Americans.
It gets worse. Just 41 percent approve of his handling of foreign policy issues; 38 percent on immigration reform; 39 percent on Obamacare.
Other worries include a dysfunctional government, the federal budget deficit and debt, and the deeply unpopular health care law.
Despite dozens of speeches Hillary has given since she left her post at the State Department, it is hard to recall her saying anything substantive about these issues, at least in public.
What are her views about an underperforming economy that shrank by 1 percent in the first three months of 2014? What would she do to turn around an economy that's been "in recovery" for the last five and a half years, and whose labor force has been shrinking since Obama took office?
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