Monday, May 15, 2006

Hillary, Oh Hillary, Oh Have You Seen Hillary, Hillary The Right Wing’s Lady?

I've been getting the feeling lately that Slate has joined the “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” what with the neo-con Christopher Hitchens (who since 9/11 seems to have taken to downing his booze with a Kool-Aid chaser) propping up the Bush administration on the pages of Slate every chance he gets. And now, the VRWC seem to be wooing the very woman that coined the phrase, Ms. Hillary Clinton herself.

Let me start by saying that I like Hillary Clinton and I think she would make a fine President. Not because Bush has lowered the bar, but because she is incredibly smart, a shrewd politician, a skilled legislator, has a deep understanding of world affairs and a firm grasp on policy. If we weren’t mired in a war that she supports, hated around the world due to that war and on the brink of becoming a full fledged Corportacracy, I’d vote for her in a heartbeat.

A friend sent me this article from Slate, titled “Republicans For Hillary.” Reading this, on the heels of news that Rupert Murdoch will be hosting a fundraiser for Hillary in June, I instantly went into campaign strategy mode trying to figure out why the Republicans would be talking Hillary up now.

I do think that the Republicans are dying to run against her, for them she's the perfect candidate. If she gets the nomination, no one evokes more hatred from the Republican base than Hillary and her husband, virtually guaranteeing a great turnout for their side. And if she wins, well, she's a war hawk, she's pro-globalization and she's making overtures to the anti-choice crowd so really, Republicans hardly lose if Hillary wins.

Republican strategists are not unaware of the debate going on within the Democratic Party. They have spent the last several decades smearing liberal ideology and re-branding the Democrats as weak and out of touch with mainstream American values. Of course the opposite is true (or at least it used to be), but the Democrats have fallen for the myth and have acted accordingly, leading to loss after loss and a more divided electorate. When the Democrats failed to be the party of the people, they lost the people, and until they become the party of the people again, they may still win elections, but they will win them by the slimmest of margins. Republicans know this and are fearful of a unified Democratic Party that returns to its principles and pushes a progressive agenda that the people so desperately need.

So where does Hillary Clinton fit into all of this? If I were a Republican strategist, I would be chomping at the bit to run against her. She has a liberal background that she has run away from, making it far too easy to scare her into claiming the middle ground that will inspire no one, and lead to a race that will come down to authenticity, character and how comfortable the American voter feels with each candidate (expect to hear the “do you really want a girl in the White House with a war on?” meme). Republicans cannot win on the strength of their ideas, but they can win a popularity contest and that is exactly why we must put up candidates that are strong on progressive ideas, have strength of character and most importantly, buck the corporate establishment and reclaim government for the people. Hillary just won’t do because “fine” is not enough to get elected, and it certainly is not enough to lead us out of the deep dark hole we currently find ourselves in.

18 Comments:

Anonymous geocrackr said...

Just to elaborate a bit on one of the points you made (all of which were excellent, BTW) -- I've been thinking for a while now that one of the reasons a Hillary candidacy would be a disaster is that it's not just that "no one evokes more hatred from the Republican base than Hillary and her husband;" it's that the entire wingnut noise machine has had over a decade's practice villifying and demonizing her specifically. They already know which buttons to push to gin-up all of the false outrage they need, and their organization and protocols are already in place with the kinks worked out to re-launch a full-scale attack the second Hil announces her candidacy.

That might not be so bad if the Dems were at all prepared for it, but there's no indication at all that they are -- they'll ignore it during the primaries, and if she secures the nomination it'll be to late for them to do anything but react, which of course they'll do in the lamest and most ineffective way possible.

The corollary is: what the hell is Hil thinking treating these people as if they are rational and reasonable, as if they haven't been actively denigrating her as subhuman for the last 14 years?!

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

LG~

I'm not sure how we segue
from 'fine' to "... she is incredibly smart, a shrewd politician, a skilled legislator, has a deep understanding of world affairs and a firm grasp on policy."

Let's for a moment assume that those are accurate descriptions of her skills.
Can you concede 'incredibly smart' and then not give her the benefit of the doubt
RE her strategy or her ability to win and govern effectively?

Perhaps she is smart enough and tough enough to traduce influential Republicans into supporting her.
And let's not rule out a sizeable turnout from Red State women who know a 'woman done wrong by her husband' when they see one!
I don't like that she's not repudiated her vote on the war, but I suspect it will be a moot point by the summer of '07.

Gcrakr~

I refer you to the Clinton response team that led to his re-election and to the defeat of the impeachment resolution. I believe it's unsound to assume that she has learned nothing, that there is not a 'Clinton Template' to effectively respond to every wingnut talking point that warrants a response. I just don't see any Kerry in her.

Also, I take the recent poll showing that the Big Dog is now held in higher regard than Dubya in every way, to be a leading indicator of how the Country MAY respond to a Hillary campaign.

Now, lets add a Feingold or Warner to the ticket and then lets see what the polls show.

Finally, I turn your question around on you: "Just what the hell IS Hil thinking....?"

THAT she's thinking, rather than wringing her hands over speculation about Democratic ineffectualness is what matters.

I just don't see her as dumb enough or weak enough to not be laying a carefully thought out groundwork to not only win a nomination but win an election.

And if that happens and she has at least one house of congress, more probably both
if she has shirt tails in '08, than what's to stop the implementation of the the Dem platform?

1:26 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

GeoCrackr--I think the Hillary machine would be able to fend off attacks, and if she runs, it will be critical that they fend off every single one of them because there will be no margin for error. That is one of the biggest political problems that I see for her, no room to stumble.

Dale--It's not her ability I question, it's her agenda. And you're right, she may very well draw in women from the right, but for every one she gains, she'll lose two off the left side. Running to the right will not work.

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

LG~

Very strong projection of your negative vibes about Hillary!

NO freakin' way that liberal women are going to either sit it out or vote Repug if Hillary runs.

What possible attraction could any likely Repug nominee hold for any liberal man or woman?

The Supreme Court appointments, the politicization of the FDA as it relates to womens' health, and all of the other liberal talking points will insure that you
and your sisters storm the polls!

2:19 PM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

LG -- I expect you're right that the Hil machine could fend off the onslaught, but I would take that one step further: it's very likely that the attacks will be so unrelenting that her campaign would not have the capability to do much of anything else. Not only that, I don't for a minute trust her not to sell the rest of us out as one of her defense ploys.

2:58 PM  
Blogger Howard Martin said...

I have opined on this elsewhere, but I just have to say it again. Rather than running down Hillary's credentials and record, as if she was a new movie rather than the front-running candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2008 bothers me. And I'm hardly a Hillary syncophant as a Deaniac almost in recovery. If there's someone else who you think would make a better candidate, why not expound on that, rather than sowing doubts and fears about her abiity to win in 2008? What do you hope to accomplish?

3:34 PM  
Blogger Joe Don Martin said...

To be quite honest, no Democrat currently serving in Congress ought to have the cojones to even run for the Presidency- with the exceptions of John Conyers and Russ Feingold. The whole limp-dicked lot of them- Hillary, too- apparently forgot what an "opposition" party was. Hillary is too much of chameleon- but, somehow, every time I see her, I think "rodent". Al Gore is tanned, rested, and ready and he already won the thing once. His eyes are afire, his posture relaxed, and he ain't afraid of pissing the other side off. As much as I'd like to see a female president, it won't be Hillary.

3:53 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Dale--I didn't mean just women and I didn't mean that they will vote for Republicans, but rather stay home or, for the very pissed off left, vote Green (I know you remember 2000). I will of course vote for Hillary if she wins the primary (at the very least she's a Democrat and finally having a woman in the Oval Office would be fantastic), but I hope she doesn't because it will be a squeaker and those are easy for Republicans to manipulate.

GeoCrackr--Me neither.

Howie--I don't think she's the right person for the job right now and I believe in a good, rousing Primary! I do talk up other candidates, Russ Feingold for one, and I will stop speaking out against her the second she wins the nomination. Until then, I will continue to voice my opinion and rail against a press, a Democratic consulting class and a Republican Party that is trying to ram her down my throat as the only possible option.

Joe--I'm with you, Russ Feingold for President! I'd even take Gore (although he does make me nervous, we've seen him turn to stone before).

7:29 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

LG~

I sure do remember 2000.
The Greens now have an object lesson of what they're self-indulgence has cost all of us. What, Gore wasn't 'Kermit Green' enough and Bush wasn't a slam dunk to trash the environment? They voted green and handed us a political stain, and an Administration, as symbolically black as
the Vietnam War Memorial.

I too fear that Gore will remain loose right up until he starts to care about running and winning. Then again, maybe he is at peace with himself and can make a good candidate.

'Squeaker'? Two and a half years is a long time in dog years and in political life.

11/00 through 3/03, could we have foreseen ANY of it?

8:28 PM  
Anonymous tony c. said...

There are lots of reasons people run in the primaries - and not all of them involve winning the election outright. I understood that, at the time, Clinton thought he had little chance of winning in the primary, and later defeating Dubya's pappy. He ended up doing rather better than he thought, if that's the case.

One reason you might run in the primary, then, is to run the flag up the pole (poll?) and see who salutes. Another reason to run is to give yourself the kind of political visibility and financing that says to your fellow Senators, "Hey, look at me! I'm a player!" People who command a block of votes can get their issues in the party platform, and if they hold another elected office, losing in the primary after a good showing, will definitely get attention and possibly better committee positioning.

And, as I understand it, Hillary can give her campaign contributions to another candidate in exchange for favors (or at least an overnite at the Watergate and the "happy ending").

As for Gore, he too, might be in a good spot. Churchill was all but a political pariah prior to the start of hostilities in WWII because he wouldn't keep his mouth shut. He spent time "in the wilderness" and returned to lead his nation through the war he'd been trying to avoid for years.

After his own wilderness years, Gore might have a lot of credibility on issues the public still perceives as "his" issues. No one in the Green party has the kind of support Gore could get on this issue. And who knows? Maybe the popular vote could reflect the Nation's desire for a "do-over" for 2000 on.

10:12 PM  
Blogger The (liberal)Girl Next Door said...

Dale--I have a hard time blaming those who voted for Nader in 2000 for the mess we're in now. If Gore had been a better candidate (the Gore of today would have been good) then it wouldn't have been an issue. I am in no way advocating for people to vote Green in the next election (mid-term or Presidential). In fact, I think that is a terrible idea, because we have seen that there is a difference between the two parties (however small, that small difference can mean a lot) BUT that does not mean that we should fall in line behind the presumptive frontrunner before a primary has been held and I see the beginnings of that already. The primary is the place to hash this out, and there is no reason not to vote for a progressive candidate, regardless of what the moderates and Republicans say.

That is all I am arguing for, because I firmly believe that if we put up the candidate that we want most, it will end up being the right candidate. I am just sick of being told to fall in line before it's time to fall in line. I am all for getting behind the primary winner, but the winner has to fight to get there.

I just want the Democrats to see that they are courting the out crowd! As you have said before, the Republican ideology has been discredited, so why continue to emulate them? It is the path to another loss.

Tony--I think you could be right about Gore. I have long said that the Gore of today would have wiped the floor with GWB in 2000. His big mistake was not making the differences between Democrats and Republicans more clear. He instead ran to the middle because that's what the brilliant political consultants told him to do (the same thing they're telling Hillary now). It almost worked then and it will almost work next time if we take that route, but I think Gore has learned the lesson and wouldn't make the same mistake again.

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

I only blame them in a chaos theory, if a Greenie tosses his vote
away in FL we get whacked on 911 and nearly 6000 Americans
are now dead from combat (911, Afghanistan, Iraq), kind of way.

Sure, Gore could have been a better candidate and the
U.S. Supreme Court could have shown some good old fashioned
Republican respect for states' rights!

I've never been a fan of 'lock step' in any form. In retrospect,
'lock box', sure!
I am all for campaign and vote your dreams, right up to the point
reality intrudes and we're faced with another chaos theory election.

In the interim, I see no point in assuming the worst RE Hil or the Dem party.
I'm also fine with pressuring her and others away from 'the worst'.

I saw H. Dean on Letterman last night. After Letterman
called him on the Dems' seeming lack of positions, Dean indicated that the Dems
will unveil their version of the Repugs Contract for America on Labor Day entitled, "Plan for America". He then pulled from his suit pocket a 'Dem
door hanger' that summarized some key positions.
Letterman, RE the door hanger, said: "That's just the Democrats way of letting
neighbors know they got laid"! Dean and the audience laughed hard!

8:32 AM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

LG -- The only people who blame the Nader voters for, say, 911 or Iraq, are those fundamentally undemocratic party hacks who believe that if you don't vote Rethuglican then the Dems own your vote. They don't understand that in a representative democracy you're supposed to vote for the candidate who most represents you, and the only way to throw away your vote is to give it to someone who doesn't represent you as well as another candidate (although somebody in the party must understand that or else the Dems wouldn't collude with the Rethugs and expend so many resources preventing third party ballot access). Every time someone tries to convince me that the Dems own my vote I'm just astounded that such an un-American talking point holds such sway among the party faithful. They're the ones who are never a fan of lock-step in any form -- except when it comes to voting for a Democrat.

Personally, I would be happy to vote for a Dem, or even actively support one (I'm considering volunteering for the Darcy Burner campaign, based in part on your recommendation)... as long as he/she represents me. If not, then I'm under no obligation to do either. And if there's another candidate on the ballot then it's up to the Dem candidate to demonstrate why they think they represent me more than the other candidate.

Dale -- Dean was on the Daily Show last night; William Shatner was on Letterman.

9:50 AM  
Anonymous tony c. said...

Geo:

I have to disagree about the Greens in 2000. First, a lot of people were telling Nader and the Greens not to take votes from Gore, and that GWB was such an obvious evil that we needed to avoid him, even if Gore was slightly less than palatable.

The Greens, and specifically Nader, sold a lot of votes for them on a lie. Specifically, Nader was telling people that the Democrats were the same as the Republicans. It wasn't true then, just as it isn't true now. And he knew it wasn't true when he said it, and he said it anyway.

One example, of course, is in the choices Gore would have made for the two Supreme Court justices selected instead by W. W openly praised Scalia and pretty much said he'd love to have 8 more like him. (This was before he "knew" Harriet Meiers, I guess.)

It was plain that Gore was not going to pick justices in that mold, and that he'd have been looking for another Ginsberg or, better still, another Brennan.

As for voting, I might agree, except that, in our system, casting your vote is an all or nothing proposition. I would not want to vote for someone who perfectly fits my mold, knowing that someone as repugnant as W wins--even though Gore wasn't perfect. Our system requires willingness to compromise sometimes.

In other systems, there are multiple rounds of voting so that you can initially vote your favorite candidate--then when he loses, you can vote on the narrower field. No one gets their favorite, but the candidate with the broadest support ends up winning.

I have great respect for the Constitution, but it's not some holy document dictated from on-high. The principles you rely on aren't sacrosanct, my friend.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

Gcakr~

Right you are. Letterman's and Stewart's acerbic wits
melded together in my mind
last night. Must have been a subconscious Shatner Star Trek association!

As for the rest of it.
Anyone who takes a tongue in cheek reference to Greenie votes and chaos theory seriously, needs to drink some decaf!

Being an Independent I, of course, take no offense at references to 'undemocratic hacks. However, your patronizing '....they don't understand..." is as tired and trite as it is unpersuasive.
And please tell me, Straw Man authority, could anything be more 'strawmany' than: "Every time someone tries to convince me that the Dems own my vote...."?!

Toss out that 4th grade civics book and face reality, Pericles. When someone who best represents what you believe in can't win, and the alternative is the election of someone inimical to everything you believe in, then the noble choice is idealistically wise and pragmatically foolish.
Gore/Nader/Dubya and Clinton/Perot/Bush are only the most recent proofs.

(Tony C's response to you appeared while I previewed this. His response is of course dead on, though too genteel for the likes of you. I'm certain my response is more appropriate to your contemptuous assertions!)

11:29 AM  
Anonymous geocrackr said...

Tony C -- I didn't make any statement regarding the Greens' campaign strategy, so I don't know exactly what you're disagreeing with. I will say one thing regarding the points you bring up about that; I agree that Gore would've been a different president in many ways, and probably wouldn't have nominated a straight-out corporatist and a unitary executive fascist for the SCOTUS (not to mention all of the lower court appointments), but the Rethugs would've forced a compromise (I doubt they would've had to yell too loud about it, either). I just have to point out that the Dems are the ones who kept crying "Think about the Supreme Court!" over and over, but when it came down to it they approved Shrub's nominations with barely a whimper (the Meiers nomination, you'll recall, was scuttled by Rethug resistance).

I was specifically addressing the Dem campaign strategy of trying to attract voters not by representing them better, but by trying to convince (or force, in the case of ballot access restrictions) voters not to vote for the person who best represents them. And how their tactics for doing so almost universally involve attempts at shaming, bullying, and band-wagoneering (Speaking of -- Dale, since you're an avowed independent, I have to thank you for providing such a sublime parody in order to illustrate my point. That was uncommonly kind of you.) rather than trying to convince voters that Dems do, in fact, represent them better. I think it's understandable if you accept the Dem reasoning that if you don't vote for them you're voting for the enemy (sound familiar?). As I mentioned before, the Dems have colluded with the Rethugs in an attempt to make that a reality. But that's only true at the aggregate level, and even then only for the large-scale elections, which is why the Dems try to convince as many people as they can that they should think that way, and why they're so rabid about demonizing dissenters. At the individual voter level it makes no sense to vote for someone based on whether or not you think he/she is going to win -- that's a false rationale. You have to vote for the person you want to win, lest you get the Democratic party you deserve (to paraphrase a famous saying).

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Dale Hippert said...

Gcrakr~

I won't labor too hard to respond to the
lockstep assertions as you are 'hoisted on the petard" of your own words: "At the individual voter level it makes no sense to vote for someone based on whether or not you think he/she is going to win -- that's a false rationale. You have to vote for the person you want to win, lest you get the Democratic party you deserve (to paraphrase a famous saying)."

First of all, when it is abundantly clear that your third party candidate may draw off enough votes to elect your worst nightmare, it makes perfect sense to vote for the only real chance to avoid that nightmare. It also follows that it is in fact rational to cast that vote.

So, your assertions as to what makes sense, what is rational and what one 'has to do' are disputable if not refutable. In fact, your assertions smack of a dogmatic, Lockstepian mentality!

No need for the faux thank you for a parody only you can envision. That your own attempt at 'shaming and bullying' was so ineffectual makes it no less laughable or ironic.
("those fundamentally undemocratic party hacks"...who also struggle with comprehending your oh so elegant arguments and in measuring up to your definition of 'Americanism')

I'm beginning to think that you're suffering from 'thread memory loss'!

2:58 PM  
Blogger Justine said...

I'd like to see a woman President of the US. It would be a historic vote. I think there are women who would rally to this opportunity to elect a woman President. Others will turn out just to participate in a historic election. After 43 male Presidents it's long overdue. Those who say that some democrats may vote against her (because of her gender) are entirely misguided. Democrats will vote for her (they're hardly going to vote Republican after all they've seen in the last few years). The only people likely to be put off by gender are a small minority of Republican men, not likely to vote for a democrat at any rate! She could win over some Republican women and has already won over some of them in New York.

4:58 PM  

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