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Beyond the media fawning over the spectacle of President Barack Obama and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sitting down for an interview together on 60 Minutes–old rivals, reunited!–there is a message that the president wants to send. Not just the fact that Vice President Joe Biden is not be his first pick for 2016, but also the signal that Republicans ought to forget about a revival in four years: liberalism is here to stay.

Republicans seem to have concluded that their overall revival depends on finding the right candidate to win. If so, they may be in for a long wait. Clinton is so popular right now–with Republicans as well as Democrats–that she is easily the favorite to win in 2016. Freshman Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR) welcomed her during last week’s Benghazi hearings by telling her he had wished her to win the 2008 Democratic primary; even Paul Ryan suggested on Meet the Press that a President Clinton might have solved the debt crisis by now.

Clinton’s popularity is partly due to the fact that she is so different to Obama. She is not as hostile to opposition, and gives more direct-sounding answers to tough questions, even when she is being just as evasive. She once gave the impression of being more centrist, as well, famously voting in 2002 to authorize the Iraq War–a vote that her rival punished her for on the campaign trail in 2008, claiming he would have voted differently.

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