One month without a Hillary Clinton headliner

Washington (CNN)As the 2016 race heats up on the Republican side, with a new Super PAC, donor check or staffing announcement dropping every hour since Christmas, Hillary Clinton's schedule has been notably empty.

The last time the presumed Democratic front-runner headlined an event -- something she did with regularity throughout most of 2014 -- was Dec. 15, when she joined forces with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to promote keeping reliable date about women and girls around the globe.
Clinton's spokesman has said for the last two weeks that the former secretary of state's public schedule would be quiet, and it won't be until Jan. 21 -- the day after President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address -- that Clinton will return the spotlight with two events in Canada.
The dearth in events is noticeable, even with the natural quiet of the holidays, when compared to her Republican counterparts and considering Clinton's prevalence last year. She headlined random trade conferences in massive convention centers, went from bookstore-to-bookstore hawking her new memoir and picked up paychecks all over the country for paid, high-profile speaking gigs. But for the last month -- as Clinton approaches the point where other Democrats says she has to make up her mind -- none of that has happened.
    Clinton's absences also comes at a time when the Republican side of the 2016 race is feverishly heating up:
    - Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been publicly and "actively" exploring a presidential run for nearly a month, and news from his team has leaked at a steady stream including ambitious fundraising goals and launching a leadership PAC to boost those efforts.
    - Sen. Rand Paul has been campaigning in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation primary state, this week and will spend part of the weekend in Nevada, another important presidential primary state. Paul has also hired Chip Englander as the campaign manager for his likely presidential campaign.
    - Mitt Romney— the Republican's 2012 nominee who repeatedly spent his 2014 saying he wanted nothing to do with a third presidential bid — told a roomful of donors last week that he is seriously considering a 2016 bid and has since set the political world ablaze by calling possible supporters and agreeing to attend a Republican National Committee meeting near San Diego this week.
    And that's before we even get to other Republicans, like former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who have all also signaled loudly they are getting closer to making a 2016 bid.
    Clinton's decision to stay out of the spotlight shows the differences between a crowded field in one party and in another a presumed front-runner is so far ahead of the pack of would be primary challengers.
    The fact Clinton isn't this out front right now is making most pro-Clinton Democrats happy. While some commentators have quietly wondered why Clinton didn't say anything about the terrorist attacks in Paris -- a Clinton spokesman didn't respond to multiple emails on the topic -- most have been encouraged by her month-long hiatus.
    "Usually, historically, it is the Republican Party that has been the more stayed, predictable, boring party. They always nominate the oldest white guy in line," said Paul Begala, a longtime Clinton supporter and former Clinton White House aide. "My party, which has always been burning man without the nudity, now looks like the stable one. There is real stability on the Democratic side."
    Begala continued: "Everything has risks, but that spotlight is so hot, there is only so long you can dance in it, so lets push it over to the GOP for a little while. Let's turn that on them for a while."
    But Clinton and her orbit has been far from quiet.
    Clinton has commented publicly on issues like Obama's decision to loosen restrictions on Cuba and the deaths of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. Clinton and her husband, Bill Clinton, also attended Cuomo's funeral in New York earlier this month.
    More importantly, though, over the last two weeks, Clinton's political operation has grown with multiple reports that Clinton has met with top campaign aides and is starting to piece together a possible campaign apparatus.
    The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that John Podesta, a top White House adviser and former Clinton White House aide, would leave the administration in February to join Clinton's growing political apparatus ahead of a 2016 run.
    Podesta is seen by many pro-Clinton Democrats as a top choice for campaign chairman and has told multiple reporters he would leave the White House in February to help Clinton if she chooses to run.
    The Washington Post also reported on Tuesday that Clinton has recruited Joel Benenson as a chief strategist and Jim Margolis as a media advisor. Politico has also reported that Benenson, an operative who worked for Obama in 2008 and 2012, has signed on to help Clinton.
    Even as Clinton sits back, Democrats thinking about running haven't been making waves like Republicans. Jim Webb had knee surgery this month, but has shied away from any media interaction, opting, instead, to continually update his Twitter. Elizabeth Warren has given high profile speeches, but emphatically said "no" on Tuesday when asked whether she will run for president in 2016. And politicians like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley have continued to reiterate that they are strongly considering a run at the presidency.