Saturday, January 20, 2007

HRC 2008?

Hillary Clinton as formally announced her bid for the 2008 presidency.

If the Democratic party has any lick of sense whatsoever, she will not survive the primaries.

Don't get me wrong, I respect Senator Clinton and the work she's done, and I think she would make a fine president. And, of course, if she makes the ballot, it would take a miracle candidate to make me vote for a Republican over her.

But she's a lightning rod. Republicans hate her, and I don't just mean hate, I mean hate hate. I think it started when she had the audacity to step outside the traditional figurehead "First Lady" role (consisting of tackling some pet charity projects and looking pretty) and actually attempting to tackle some substantive issues like health care. Since her time living in the White House, she successfully moved to New York (making her something of a political carpetbagger) pretty much exclusively for the purpose of getting herself elected to Congress.

Remember how much Republicans hated former President Bill Clinton? It was pure vitriol. There was nothing President Clinton could do which didn't raise hackles with Republicans, which was particularly troubling when they controlled Congress. Do I even need to mention the impeachment again? Do I have to draw the comparison between impeachment for sexual encounters and impeachment for drumming up a phony war and causing the deaths of tens of thousands of people?

Hillary Clinton on the 2008 ballot would undoubtedly drive scores of Republicans to polls for the sole purpose of voting against her. Whatever divisions and disagreements may exist among Republicans right now, one thing will unite them: their blinding hatred of Senator Clinton. They will run straight to the polls to vote for "Anyone But Hillary." Even Republicans who might otherwise be tempted to stay at home due to their ambivalence over any Republican candidate would rush out there to keep Senator Clinton out of the White House.

Say, for example, John McCain made the ballot. It strikes me that Senator McCain has some liabilities which work against him; the core conservative Republican base may not be terribly happy with his "maverick" image (not that it's terribly accurate) or that he has been known to publicly drift away from the party line from time to time. With him on the ballot, Republicans may very well be tempted to skip the election completely: the logic being, the only thing he has going for him is the "R" after his name, and that's not enough to affirmatively vote for him.

But if his ticket is the only viable thing standing in the way of another Clinton in the Oval Office, you better believe that rank-and-file Republicans would run to the polls to prevent that from happening.

If Democrats have any lick of sense, they will not put Hillary Clinton on the national ballot. Irrespective of her qualifications as a lawmaker, a lawyer, and and politician, she will never make it to the White House. And frankly, Democrats need to take the White House in 2008. We can't afford another four years of Republican rule.


SB said...

Couldn't agree with ya more, Dennis! She inspires far too much hatred (justified or not) to make a successful run at being President.

Also she's way too much of a centrist for me. Too eager to go with the popular idea, sort of like her husband, but without his charm while doing it. She reminds me of Lieberman (post-2000 election), which is not a positive sign.

Ryan said...

Obama won't win either. It doesn't matter how much free publicity from Oprah he gets - he has no experience. That leaves the rejects from 2004 and that new guy who's name I forget from that state I can't remember. I want Hillary for President until she gets old and wrinkly, at least. Then Obama.

Carrie Broadshoulders said...

Um, either Hilary isn't liberal enough for Dems or too liberal for Republicans. Most people say they don't like her without any real good reason to back it up. My favorite thing to ask someone when they say they hate her is, "Why?" They can never give me a solid reason. I think they think they are just supposed to dislike her. Bill Clinton is still one of the most popular former Presidents in America and with him running along beside her, that is going to help ignite the Democrats to get out and vote. More young voters are overwhelmingly Democratic than Republican and now you have four more years worth of those voters out there to vote for her. And most will somewhat remember the Clinton years as well. If she gets the nomination, the war in Iraq will not be the deciding issue because both she and whatever Republican runs will have the same record on the war. Maybe that's a good thing. I don't want another bleeding heart up there screaming about how the war was wrong. Yes, we all know it was wrong but it doesn't change the fact we are there and need to find a solution to the quagmire. And I don't trust a single other Democratic candidate to find that.

Obama will never win. And if his popularity carries him through like Howard Dean's I can only hope he fizzles out like Howard did. He's far more liberal than Hillary. The only way Democrats win is to put up a moderate. Maybe Hillary isn't the best choice but so far she's the only moderate in the bunch. John Edwards is a liberal, far more so than Clinton. I like them both but politically I think Hillary is more attractive. Beyond her vote regarding Iraq, I think her voting record is the least offensive.

Plus to the person above who said that she's "too eager to go with the popular idea" I say: go back and learn about our representative government. Isn't that her job? To vote based on what her constitutency wants. If their beliefs change on an issues, shouldn't her's? She isn't there to vote her mind but the minds of the Americans who elected her. There are a lot of Americans who supported this war and no longer think we should be there. I will never agree with her voting to give Bush the power to take us to Iraq, but I would not accept her sitting back and blindly supporting that decision no matter what course is taken in Iraq. I'm glad she's coming around, even if its driven by the political wind. That's what she should be doing. Don't fault her for that.

In the end I think Hillary walks away with this nomination and while I think it will take a LOT of work to beat a Republican in 2008, much because of what Dennis suggests in that she is so polarizing, I will throw down my doubts and will actively support her. I would love to see the first female president in my lifetime as well as see Bill Clinton back in the White House.

Carrie Broadshoulders said...

Oh and one other good thing about Hillary is we know all about her and her skeletons already. There is likely nothing new to spring on us or it would have been done already. What do we know about Obama? What dirty little secrets could pop up and kill his chances?

Dennis! said...

See, my thought is this: Democrats already have every incentive to go to the polls in 2008. Eight years of W. has inflamed even the most moderate and even some right-leaning Democrats. So whoever makes it to the Democratic ballot, I'm confident that Democrats will make it out in droves to support him/her, just to cleanse the White House of the Republican legacy.

So Dems will lose if Republicans are either (a) very strongly behind their chosen candidate, or (b) very strongly against the Democratic candidate. HRC on the Dem ticket would be exactly what scenario (b) is all about. Republicans would need to expend very little energy to get their rank and file to the polls; whoever their candidate is, all they have to say is "Vote for him, or you'll get another four years of Clinton in the White House."

That is why I don't think HRC would be a poor choice. Nothing to do with her policies, or politics, or her personality. Really, just her electability.

I express no opinion on Obama at the moment.

katie said...

I'm not excited by the prospect of Hillary. She will obviously get my vote should she be nominated, but I won't vote for her in the primary.
How long has it been since a senator has won the presidency?
I'm leaning towards Obama, but it's still early.

Carrie Broadshoulders said...

You mean you're leaning towards Senator Obama? Just checking.

And to answer your question, the last time a member of Congress was President was not as long ago as you might think. George Herbert Walker Bush. But you said Senator so to be specific - Nixon I believe was the last Senator to become President. So yes, as of late, most Presidents have been governors. So does that mean we should be support Vilsack? Richardson?

Rather than harping on Hillary, who I think without a doubt gets the nomination, we should focus on who the Repbulicans might pick. I think McCain does VERY little to incite the Republican base. If the choice for them is Clinton or McCain, I'm not sure that some of the right wingers wouldn't just stay home out of disgust. And clearly if they put another right winger up, Hillary stands an even better chance since that will certainly push the middle of the roaders in her direction. I think who she picks to run as VP will be key as well. Clearly it has to be someone who will help the Dems carry one red state. If she's smart she'll convine Mark Warner to run. I think if she could put someone popular in Virginia on the ticket and carry that state, she'd stand a good chance of winning. Better than if she chooses someone from a blue state. The fact is the Democrats needs a southern or strong midwestern governor to run for President to hope to win. And there just aren't any good candidates.

katie said...

Thanks, I am aware that they are both senators. Interesting idea about the south/ midwestern governor. Being smack in the middle of the Middle West I agree that none of the prospects from this area are all that promising.

Dennis! said...

BTW, there's a typo in my last comment: I DO think HRC would be a poor choice for the national ticket in 2008.

Kris said...

Yep, Yep, and YEP, fellow DCer!

Steve said...

You're right... they hate her like poison. I've also heard of her referred to as "The Lizard Queen."

Carrie Broadshoulders said...

Anyone who brings as much acid and vitriol-filled rhetoric from the far right wing conservatives in the GOP MUST be doing something right if you ask me.

HRC '08!

I'm not afraid to vote for someone who those people despise. I welcome it. Those asshats need to be shown that there are as many people out there who disagree with their convictions and will vote to prevent them from running our lives for another 8 years. If you dont' like Hillary or you don't want her to run, let it be for her policies and actions and not because you're afraid too many haters will go vote.

Dennis! said...

CB: While I appreciate your strong convictions on this matter, I remain entirely unconvinced that your passion helps anything.

The name of the game is winning the White House, not standing on the principle of being "unafraid" to vote for a candidate who is unpopular to the opposition. I feel she is unelectable no matter how many Dems happily and proudly vote for her. In the end, if a Republican wins *because* HRC couldn't win, are we really going to be saying to ourselves "Well, four more years of a Republican White House, but at least I voted on the strength of my convictions"?

And don't look now, but politics has always first been about who is electable, and their policies and positions taking a close second. Just looking at recent history, you'll find that unsuccessful candidates more often than not lose NOT because of their positions on the issues, but on stupid secondary reasons: the Donna Rice episode derailed Gary Hart; Dukakis lost in no small part due to that stupid "Dukakis on a tank" photo op; etc. Let's face it, the voting public cares less about issues than about perceptions.

Query this: Are you happy that Nader voters effectively kept Gore from the White House and gave us President W.? They, like you, proudly said "I'm willing to vote for my guy no matter how many haters think I'm throwing away my vote!"

SB said...

...and bringing up the rear, I thought I'd elaborate. Good discussion, by the way, and I'm glad Carrie has pushed everyone to give more specific responses.

As for "too eager to vote with the popular opinion" reason, I think it's a cheap way out to say we live in a representative democracy and that's what you should do. If that was the case, opinion polls would rule government. That would be a disaster for everyone.

My problems with HRC relate less to the Iraq war (I think Bush & Co. mislead everyone, I don't fault her for that) but rather with her approach to other issues. I DO fault her for being pro-censorship on a number of issues that are key to me (hence the comparison with Lieberman) and the carpet-bagging thing continues to bug me.

At the end of the day, I think there's also something to be said for new blood, even beyond the "GOP hatred" that a HRC campaign might inspire. I detest the fact that GWB is President largely because of his father, and I don't exactly relish swapping candidates from two ruling political families every 8 years. It smacks of aristocracy in a country founded on the opposite principals.