Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus uttered a talking point on Sunday clearly intended — and, really, probably destined — to become the latest Hillary Clinton media narrative.
“There’s Hillary fatigue already out there,” Priebus declared on “Meet the Press.” “It’s setting in. People are tired of this story. And I just happen to believe that this early run for the White House is going to come back and bite them. And it already is. People are tired of it.”
When “Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory suggested that one could say the same about former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) — a dynastic 2016 contender, in his own right — Priebus said simply that he doesn’t think “Jeb and the Bushes are being as obnoxious about all of this.”
And with that one exchange, “Hillary fatigue” was poised to become a part of the political lexicon — at least in the breathless embryonic stage of the next presidential race.
By Monday morning, US News & World Report’s Kenneth T. Walsh wondered if “Hillary fatigue” had already begun to take hold. For good measure, Walsh quoted a former adviser to Bill Clinton who said there’s “pressure on [Hillary Clinton] to make her intentions clear.”
Sure, presidential campaigns seem to be starting earlier with each cycle, and Clinton’s current book tour is widely seen as a springboard to a White House run, but most candidates never announce this long before the Iowa caucuses. Moreover, it’s hard to imagine how making her intentions clear this early would quell the purported rise in “Hillary fatigue.”
Anyway, the panel on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” — a reliable repository of conventional wisdom — tackled the subject on Monday, too. NBC News White House correspondent Chuck Todd had a slightly different diagnosis of the issue.
“I think that the thing she has to fear is fatigue among the media,” Todd said. “The media is going to have Clinton fatigue before the country. I don’t think the country has Clinton fatigue. I think the media has Clinton fatigue.”
In fairness, this storyline bubbled on the left two days before Priebus appeared on “Meet the Press.” Liberal comedian Bill Maher urged Clinton on Friday to “just go away” before her 2016 run. Otherwise, he warned Clinton, “you’re going to blow this.”
Polls have shown that Clinton’s favorability ratings have dipped noticeably from the lofty heights she reached during her time at the State Department. But as many have already observed, that decline was inevitable as she transitioned from a relatively non-political role to a decidedly partisan one.
And really, the polling isn’t all bad for Clinton. Much of the GOP’s criticism of Clinton’s book tour has stemmed from her gaffes on her personal wealth. “Out of touch” and “Hillary fatigue” will inevitably be invoked in tandem by Republican operatives over the next several weeks.
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll told a different story, however. According to the survey, 55 percent Americans believe Clinton can relate to average Americans.