Congrats — or something — to Chris Cillizza’s winners and losers of 2012.
Worst year in Washington: The tea party
Bad year: Mitt Romney
Bad year: David Petraeus
Good year: The Clintons
Good year: D.C. sports teams
Best year in Washington: Nate Silver
Want to take a guess about the two most popular politicians in the final NBC-Wall Street Journal poll of 2012? Hint: They have the same last name.
Yes, the answer is Bill and Hillary Clinton — two figures who have been on the national political scene so long that it’s hard to remember a time when we didn’t have them in our lives.
In politics, ubiquity usually breeds fatigue from the public, not more excitement. (See Gingrich, Newton Leroy.) And yet Americans seem to grow ever more fond of the Clintons.
Hillary Clinton is leaving her post as secretary of state as a beloved figure in many circles, hailed as a dedicated public servant, an able diplomat and, by many, as the heavy favorite to be the next president of the United States. Somewhat amazingly, her Teflon image wasn’t scratched by the controversy over the death of four American diplomats on Sept. 11in Benghazi, Libya — an episode that cost Susan Rice her chance at being secretary of state.
Meanwhile, Bill Clinton, in the space of four years, has transformed himself from one of the loudest voices speaking against Barack Obama to, without question, the president’s most effective surrogate. The former president’s speech at the Democratic National Convention was a masterwork, effectively making the case for Obama in a way that the incumbent seemed unable to do. (His speech was all the more important in the aftermath of the stinker delivered by the president the following night.) Clinton didn’t stop there, however, stumping around swing states for Obama until the very end of the campaign.
The political renaissance of the Clintons over the past several years has been nothing short of amazing. (The duo — plus their daughter, Chelsea — won the Fix’s “best year” in 2011.) In 2008, they were reviled by many in their party as poor sports trying to cling to a political past that had, well, passed. But, as they always seem to do, Hillary and Bill put their heads down and went to work — on behalf of Obama as well as their own causes around the country and the world.
When it comes to the Clintons, we just can’t quit them. And they can’t seem to quit us, either. Hillary hasn’t yet made clear whether she will run for president in 2016. But she’s started to sound a lot more undecided than she did even a few months ago. So stay tuned.