Opinion True at first light: President Hillary Clinton?

Sherman FrederickStephens Media Columnist

It’s the dead of summer. Congress is on recess. Egypt burns. ObamaCare looms. Government spooks read our email.

What better time to dream about a new U.S. president?

The next presidential election is only some 38 months away — the length of an average car lease. Surveying politics at this distance is akin to how Ernest Hemingway described Africa: “a thing is true at first light and a lie by noon.”

With that caveat, the main players for the Democrats are Hillary Clinton, of course, followed by Vice President Joe Biden, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.

Breaking news for the politically impaired: Clinton eats that field for breakfast.

Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, the bell cow for the Washington herd, has already endorsed her. That he has come out early for Hillary clearly indicates Biden’s been kicked to the curb by the president’s power brokers.

The only two questions that remain are whether there is such a thing as Clinton fatigue and, if not, who will share the ticket with Hillary. Stories out of Iowa already tell the tale.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., went to Iowa recently and told the party faithful there that Iowans pick presidents and Minnesotans pick vice presidents.

“In fact,” she said, “it’s a long-time tradition in Minnesota that new moms, gushing with pride, bounce their babies on their knee and say, ‘One day you can be growing up to be vice president.’”

I’m sure all of that was said in good fun. Not so sure Klobuchar’s home state will find it funny. But the joke does illustrate the state of presidential politics for Democrats — everyone is running for No. 2.

On the Republican side of things, it’s more of crapshoot. Top-of-mind characters range from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, with Sens. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio and Rep. Paul Ryan in between.

The GOP would do well, I think, not to overlook three other outstanding current governors — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval.

Of those three, Sandoval is the least known and admittedly least likely to get a hard national look. He’s untested. But he has a compelling story: A man who gave up a lifetime appointment as a federal judge to run for governor. He left the security of the federal bench because, he said, he felt he was the right person at the right time to come to the aid of his state in its time of need.

In the 2010 election cycle, Reid surprised most everyone by muscling his way to re-election. What people forget is in that same election Sandoval bucked the Reid machine to wallop Harry Reid’s son, Rory. Sandoval has gone on to become a strong, popular governor — far more popular than Harry Reid himself today. The fact that Sandoval’s good-looking (my wife tells me this) and a Hispanic man is a political bonus, I guess. But his staying power lies not in his mug shot or his ethnicity, but in his achievements. In that way, he’s the practically perfect conservative for a nation craving form and substance.

Sandoval gives ear to opposing views. He avoids rhetoric that widens divisions. He values individual responsibility; doesn’t incessantly look for national attention; and, hold on to your Nevada cowboy hat, he works hard. He even gets off the governor’s chair to visit all parts of the state — and in Nevada that’s no easy task.

He’s a conservative Western Hispanic governor who puts his head down and does the job. What’s not to like?

Of course, any talk of the GOP having a prayer in 2016 assumes that what’s true at first light — is that President Hillary Clinton I see a-glimmering? — turns out to be a lie at noon.

Thirty-eight months and counting.