Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 12, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

HILLARY....RNC chairman Ken Mehlman rather bizarrely referred to the almost robotic Hillary Clinton as "angry" this week, and Jon Chait wonders what's going on. His conclusion: it's a mirror image of the same attack that Republicans routinely hurl at Democratic male candidates.

The subtext of all this isn't very subtle. As the liberal writer Naomi Wolfe wrote in 2004: "Listen to what the Republicans are hitting Kerry with: Indecisive. Effete. French. They are all but calling this tall, accomplished war hero gay." Well, gay may be a bit strong, but they were certainly trying to question the Democrats' manliness.

....The trouble, of course, is that you can't very well run against a female candidate by calling her unmanly. So the best substitute is to call her unwomanly instead. Rather than act perky and cheerful, she's angry. There's a bad word that's supposed to spring to mind when you think of her, and it begins with the letter "b."

Actually, I think Jon is pulling his punches here. After all, there's another word that conservatives routinely associate with "unwomanly," and it's not "bitch." Here is National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez last year pretending to tsk-tsk Ed Klein over his recent 336-page hit piece on Hillary:

NRO: How many times do you use the word "lesbian" in your book? Why point out she had friends who were lesbians? Do we need to go there?

Klein: Hillarys politics were shaped by the culture of radical feminism and lesbianism at Wellesley College in the 1960s. This is paramount in exploring the political life of Hillary Clinton.

Paramount indeed. This is not exactly subtle stuff, boys and girls, and when Mehlman calls Hillary "angry" he's just test driving a slightly more subtle version of Klein's juvenile attack.

Oddly enough, though, I think these folks may be playing right into Hillary's hands. Here's the thing: conservatives have built up this image of Hillary as a man-hating, ball-busting, radical feminist revolutionary, and a lot of people believe it. But if she runs in 2008, these same people are going to see her as opposed to hearing about her for the first time, and they're going to be shocked. On TV, she comes across as cool, sober, well-informed, self-deprecating, and fairly appealing. Nothing at all like the fire-breathing Rush Limbaugh caricature.

In a sense, people like Klein and Mehlman are just setting a very low bar for Hillary to cross. When the campaign starts, all she has to do is exceed expectations in order to get people to start thinking about her differently, and Republicans are making that pretty easy. I don't know if Hillary will run, and I don't know if she can win, but if she does I think a lot of people are going to be surprised at just how many people change their minds about her once they see her in action for the first time.

FURTHER READING: Carl Cannon makes the argument that Hillary can win in 2008 here. Amy Sullivan takes the opposite side here. For a closer look at the Hillary Clinton machine, Ryan Lizza takes you on a tour of Hillaryland here.

Kevin Drum 1:33 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (87)

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Comments

Yeah, and all Kerry had to do was show he wasn't an effete, waffling wimp, and we know how well that worked out.

Posted by: Alan in SF on February 12, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

The mouth-breathers on the right have a long and loony history of "Hillary hate". The pit of their irrational vileness is bottomless.

Que tbrosz and "irrational Bush hatred" in the comments to follow. You have been warned.

Vigelance.

Posted by: bobbyp on February 12, 2006 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP is going to run McCain, and will push his image as a manly-Veteran-POW-maverick-Western-straightshootin'-kinda-guy.

In that scenario, we lose if Hilary is our candidate. We still live in a primitive patriarchal culture that is not very highly evolved.

Posted by: islander on February 12, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

What's the anti-Fred angle here?

Posted by: Bush on February 12, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, well, I'm one proud liberal who hasn't quite decided what I'd think about a Hillary candidacy; I really don't look forward to all of the old scandals getting dredged up again (or should I say Drudged?).

What I do find interesting, however, is how everyone, including Kevin, always refer to her as "Hillary." Did we usually talk about "George" and "John" during the 2004s? And please don't tell me it's just to help distinguish her from her husband.

Is this helping the Rethuglicans? Does it make her seem less commanding? Like running Oprah for president? If so, we're screwed.

Posted by: Wonderin on February 12, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

When Hillary run for the Senate Tim Russert hit on her at the TV debate because she had sided with her husband and good old Tim thought she should apologize to the nation and her opponent thought he could make hay of it too.

It made me dislike Tim for ever and take sides with Hillary and in my eyes her opponent (forgot his name) and Russert are the B reserved for males.

I am not sure if Hillary could win but I do respect her accomplishments, she did not run away crying.

Posted by: Renate on February 12, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

"But if she runs in 2008, these same people are going to see her as opposed to hearing about her for the first time, and they're going to be shocked"

You'd think so, but still: as pointed out above, smears against Kerry stuck, through constant media repetition. And it doesn't take more than five minutes of looking at Bush before it's clear what a stupid, smug dipshit he is, and yet somehow that phony crap about "sunny nobility" gets pumped out. It's a testimony to the power of PR.

Posted by: Ken C. on February 12, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

What I do find interesting, however, is how everyone, including Kevin, always refer to her as "Hillary." Did we usually talk about "George" and "John" during the 2004s? And please don't tell me it's just to help distinguish her from her husband.

I don't know; I think it is a useful way to distinguish the two. Plus, if I'm not mistaken, Hillary herself has embraced being known primarily by her first name - didn't her campaign signs, bumper stickers, etc. just say something like "Hillary for Senate"?

Posted by: Dadahead on February 12, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

islander,

Amazing how the Gop has changed it's view of Straight Talk since South Carolina in 2000. Geez, they cry, "Now, he's one of us" Nice flipity flop. Funny, how they always nail the landing on their flip flops with their base. The flips are immediately forgotten, but their base loves their "flops".

And to TBrosz, when you come on to post about Hillary, try not to be "shrill".

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 12, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I would much rather run against Hillary than against Mark Warner, so I have no motivation to tear her down at this stage. That said, I think she will collapse faster than the last comprable candidate: Teddy vs. Jiminy Carter. Once she formally announces (or announces that she's going to announce) all the travel office FBI ruthlessness, all the Hugh Rodham pardon-auctioning sleeze, all the cattle future embezzelments, all the flying ashtrays at impertinate staffers is going to come rushing back. The first woman President is going to be Condi Rice, in 2012, after serving as Vice President and Chief of Staff to John McCain.

Posted by: minon of rove on February 12, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

There is no shame or self-consciousness in the right-wingers who spew venom at Senator Clinton while denouncing administration critics as "Bush haters". I don't hate Bush; I regard him with contempt, as I would any tool. Opponents of the Bush agenda have a long ways to go before we can match the vituperative skills of the Hillary-haters, but I'm sure they'll be happy to continue teaching us by example.

Let's see if I've got it: I think Bush is a lesbian! [snicker] [leer]

Close.

Posted by: Zeno on February 12, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps it's time to strike back. McCain may have once been a manly man, but in 2000, he proved he is anything but. Most menly men will, when their families are attacked, fight back. But in South Carolina, he just took the insults to his wife and to his daughter, but dared not stir up trouble. What a sissy.

Posted by: Jim in Arizona on February 12, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see if I've got it: I think Bush is a lesbian! [snicker] [leer]

Close.
Posted by: Zeno on February 12, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Well, given Bush's adolescent petulance, he certainly does not qualify as a man.

Posted by: rainyday on February 12, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Condi Rice couldn't get elected dogcatcher. McCain wouldn't have her on the White House Mess staff.

Posted by: shortstop on February 12, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

The funny thing is, the same dynamic Kevin points out could work against Clinton, as well as for her. A lot of Democrats mistakenly think that Clinton is more liberal than she really is. I used to be one of them. During the first Clinton Presidency, I used to think that Bill was the conservative triangulator and Hillary was the liberal who was trying to convince Bill to do what was right instead of what was expedient. I should've just listened to what both of them were plainly saying: that they were a political team, and that they didn't have any major differences in political philosophy. I hoped and thought that Hillary Clinton was lying when she said she wasn't a liberal, but she was only telling the plain and simple truth.

So I suspect that a lot of Clinton's supporters like her only because they, too, believe the right-wing propaganda about her being "a man-hating, ball-busting, radical feminist revolutionary." A lot of Democrats will be disappointed when they discover that Clinton is exactly what she has always said she is.

Posted by: Matt Austern on February 12, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats only have one potential candidate who has taken all the shit the wingers throw and has come out looking stronger and better. She is also one of the most famous people in the world and can dictate the terms of the debate. She has bigger balls than Kerry or (candidate) Gore or Dukakis or whatever no-name from Virginia or Indiana is being promoted by the beltway crowd. She polls even with John McCain, the strongest Republican candidate. Why the hell are we so worried?

Posted by: Calling All Toasters on February 12, 2006 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

And to TBrosz, when you come on to post about Hillary, try not to be "shrill".

Why would I post something about Hillary? She's not going to even be the nominee for the Democrats in 2008. Guess what: McCain isn't going to be the nominee for the Republicans, either. Most of the speculation on this is the political equivalent of fantasy football.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 12, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I'm working with Paul Tagliabue to have him step down as the NFL Commissioner. Imagine, all of those gorgeous cheerleaders, er players. And I could do so many locker room interviews - Better than that Phyllis George. When T.O. goes to the Broncos, I'd be going home to interview him in the shower.

Posted by: Condi on February 12, 2006 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin said

"On TV, she comes across as cool, sober, well-informed, self-deprecating, and fairly appealing. Nothing at all like the fire-breathing Rush Limbaugh caricature."

I agree. And this is exactly why Senator Clinton cannot be ruled out as a credible, viable, and strong Dem candidate in '08. She can hold her own against her oppo and the press. In fact she has just the kind of forceful personality that many on the Left believe is required to challenge the Republican smear machine.

The problem becomes how she is defined by others (talking news heads, etc) when she is not present to defend herself. I would predict her candidacy would be met with a media blackout on her...keeping people from getting to know her will be the first pillar of the Anti-Hillary campaign...and the media will be complicit in this.

I hope she is plotting ways around this...any viable Dem candidate will have to.

Posted by: Morpholino on February 12, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Well. As I understand it, nobody could accuse Ken Mehlman of being "unwomanly."

Posted by: Pat on February 12, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

As a gay male liberal. I'm going to have to say that the accusations against Kerry being Effete stuck because well he IS effete. There is just something about his speech patterns. Perhaps it's the upper class New Englandness of it. (Leahy has the same problem.) It just rubs those of us that have spent our lives in the Midwest, South and West (i.e. the whole rest of the country) the wrong way. Kerry was and is the wrong candidate for a national office.

Posted by: DC1974 on February 12, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary might be great. But, that speech she gave at Coretta Scott King's memorial service was such a dud. Compared to the other speakers, Hillary sounded like an average salutatorian trying to sound profound at graduation. "Leadership is . . . ." "Not all will answer the call . . . "'

She had an important opportunity to make a speech, and she blew it. BIG TIME.

If David Letterman and Paul Shaffer had to vote on it during "Is This Something?" the speech would have earned an obvious NO.

Sam Nunn, Wes Clark, John Edwards.

Posted by: ferd on February 12, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, but I must expand and underline.

Hillary's appearance at Scott king's memorial was TOO BORING TO BE BELIEVED. There was nothing there. NOTHING.

Posted by: Ferd on February 12, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Hasn't there been talk that she will announce sometime this or next year a national health care plan endorsed by major US companies, including car makers?

If she pulls that off (a business-supported national health insurance program) she will elevate herself greatly.

Posted by: hopeless pedant on February 12, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

Just ask the woman: Have you ever had clitoral orgasms from Bill or any other man?

That should settle the issue once and for all. I mean, it is not like we can check to see if Bill is pregnant.

Posted by: Matt on February 12, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Let me make a little admission here.

I've got to say that man-hating, ball-busting radical feminists really do get under my skin. They do indeed exist, and I find them REALLY hard to stomach. When I sense it in a woman, I find it hard to have a positive reaction to what they have to say when they start advocating policy.

So there it is.

But, as sensitized as I am to the type, I simply do NOT have that reaction to Hillary. Maybe in private she's a completely different kind of person. But from what I've seen of her in her public persona, I absolutely don't have that response to her. She seems actually just very level headed and, well, likable.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 12, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the further reading links, Kevin.

In reading Amy Sullivan's article, I see she and I both agree that the media portrayal of Hillary is a major hurdle to cross.

Carl Cannon, on the other hand, doesn't raise this issue, so must not be as concerned about it.

I think Amy is 100% correct to be concerned about the media in '08. Hell, they cost us the last two elections IMO (hyperbole, but not by much).

The media elite have disproportionate power in our country, and it is decidedly un-democratic in nature.

However, unlike Amy, I don't see this as a problem unique to Hillary. Every Dem candidate will face the same assault. Unfortunately, we're faced with having to pick a candidate that is best prepared and most capable of repelling this (I say unfortunately because I expressely do not believe this should be a necessary qualification for Dems, but not Republicans).

I agree with Amy that the media already seem predisposed to disliking her. I don't see that with Wes Clark, e.g. But he would certainly be the recipient of his own tailor-made assault. So I suppose part of the calculation comes down to predicting the nature of the media assault on the Dem candidate, and who would be best able to repel it.

At this point perhaps one of Hillary's advantages is that the nature of the assault seems predictable, and her ability to stand up to critics is proven, IMO. Wes, on the other hand, can seem a bit thin-skinned at times on TV, so I'm not as confident in his abilities to stand up to the critics once the klieg lights are shining in his eyes...

Clinton/Clark?

Posted by: Morpholino on February 12, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

Angry?

Like...oh...John McCain? I mean seriously verging on deranged by barely contained rage.

Guy's a nut job.

I suggest someone tell him to just go bake cookies.

I loved this political quiz item in today WPost:

In the last 55 years pick out the single contest in which someone named Bush, Nixon, or Dole wasn't either presidential or vice presidential candidate...

1964

I got it right - that's when they drank the Goldwater Kool-aid.

Whew.

Posted by: CFShep on February 12, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Here's the thing: conservatives have built up this image of Hillary as a man-hating, ball-busting, radical feminist revolutionary, and a lot of people believe it. But if she runs in 2008, these same people are going to see her as opposed to hearing about her for the first time, and they're going to be shocked.

Kick the football again, Charlie Brown

Posted by: Martin on February 12, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Maureen Dowd regularly carries GOP water on this issue.

Posted by: JC on February 12, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

I was a student at Wellesley College in the late 1960s, graduating a year after Hillary Rodham, and may I state that the supposed "culture of radical feminism and lesbianism" was, in fact, nonexistent. Lesbians lived entirely in the closet, and feminism was barely a word. If the place could have been said to have a culture, it was "we're smart women who can't figure out what we're supposed to do next - get married or go to law school."

Posted by: NMCTNY on February 12, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Go, Hillary, Go!
Dem candidate in '08.
Run, Hillary, Run!

Haiku love for my favourite Dem poll.

Posted by: Birkel on February 12, 2006 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Having said what I did about Hillary, I think it would be a big mistake for her to run for President in 2008 (but she's young enough to run later on.)

I don't want to have the Democratic candidate hamstrung upfront by big issues with stereotype (e.g., being a woman or a minority), or with a strong history of negative perceptions.

And no, it's not fair. Life just isn't.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 12, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

I wish we could find viable candidates who aren't named Bush or Clinton. Is a stint in the WH as wife or son really necessary to acquire the knowledge, skills and ability required to be an effective President?

When running for office becomes a function of media-driven celebrity, the US is in big trouble.

yeah, *sigh* I know. A Bush is POTUS, and the US IS in big trouble...!

Posted by: PTate in MN on February 12, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

GOP messaging has nothing to do with Hillary's behavior; it's about building the narrative for the long haul. Accusing her of being angry is pre-emptive -- it prevents her from showing any anger, and permits the GOP to use that explanation any time they want to.

Posted by: miriamsong on February 12, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

Howard Dean, Michael Moore, Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton are all angry liberals.

Why must Republicans exclude Hillary from the list because she is a woman? Also, I don't see angry and effete as being contradictory. John Kerry is both, and it makes for a rather funny character.

This whole meme is just more evidence that Democrats have no arguments in support of their ideas; they would rather engage in baseless speculation of the motives of anyone who disagrees with them.

Posted by: Reg on February 12, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

One thing, she would not have to say: "vote for me, my VP is competent and has experience, he will make up for low expectations of me"

Hillary can say: "vote for me, I AM COMPETENT"

Posted by: Renate on February 12, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent post by Calling All Toasters:

"The Democrats only have one potential candidate who has taken all the shit the wingers throw and has come out looking stronger and better. She is also one of the most famous people in the world and can dictate the terms of the debate. She has bigger balls than Kerry or (candidate) Gore or Dukakis or whatever no-name from Virginia or Indiana is being promoted by the beltway crowd. She polls even with John McCain, the strongest Republican candidate. Why the hell are we so worried?"


Kerry was never able to dictate the terms of the debate.

A Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama ticket would change the political landscape in ways an Al Gore or other white male could not. The simple newsworthiness would force the regular pundits to talk about them all the time; in addition the normally non-political media outlets will cover them much more than Kerry.

The "boring speeches" and attention to detail she showed here in upstate New York showed she wasn't an "angry" candidate.

Also, the unrelenting attacks by the Repubs would eventually backfire against them with women voters IMHO.

"People laughed in 1998 when I stood by my man and talked about the the vast right wing conspiracy. Well...."

Kerry said a lot of the right things, but no one ever heard him. Thre would be a lot of fireworks from the Repubs vs Hillary, but at least people will hear her.

Plus there the Oprah factor.

Just sayin'.

Posted by: gs on February 12, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

This whole meme is just more evidence that Democrats have no arguments ---zzZZzzzZzzz

Curiously, it's wingnuts like 'Reg' and Dewlapped Ken who think that repeating lies and empty slogans ad nauseam counts as substantive discussion.

Posted by: ahem on February 12, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

We are angry, anyone not angry is a loony. Look what this man has done to the country!

Posted by: Renate on February 12, 2006 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

franklyo: I don't want to have the Democratic candidate hamstrung upfront by big issues with stereotype (e.g., being a woman or a minority), or with a strong history of negative perceptions.

And no, it's not fair. Life just isn't.

No, life isn't fair, and grownups have to realize this. I want us to win this election--that's my priority. But it does get a little wearying to always have the--if I may presume so much, franklyo--white guys telling the women and minorities to be brave and suck up the unfairness. Meanwhile, supporters of people like Al Gore and John Kerry, who were rooked but don't seem to be able to comprehend that it's over, can't move on. Which is not to say that you support a comeback from either one of those guys, franklyo--I don't know that you do.

Moving on: "Woman" and "minority" don't carry the usual similarity this time around because of the uniqueness of the personalities involved. The only woman who's in the running may be unelectable, but that's because of personality issues. (Some of them have to do with public perceptions of how women should act, but only some of them, in my view.)

Meanwhile, the only minority on the roster, Obama, may be fully electable. He simply doesn't have the negative perceptions Hillary has. Yes, he's green and no, it isn't really time yet, but we need to pay attention to the lessons of the last few years, stop thinking we have any control in finding the perfect time, and recognize that when you have a charismatic candidate, you run with him.

Consider how the WH will be tied up for the next few years no matter who else wins, Democrat or Republican, and you can see that this may be Obama's only chance. That's particularly true if the winner is a "moderate" Republican like McCain who can convince the electorate that we can end the Bush era of death and destruction without actually changing parties. We just aren't going to win 2008 with another Repub Lite milquetoast candidate, and if downstate Illinois--white and conservative--is any indication, Obama can cross the racial line.

Now I HAVE TO stop procrastinating and finish these damn taxes.

Posted by: shortstop on February 12, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

I've always thought that Bill Clinton's womanizing, while it nearly brought down his presidency, was also one of his secret strengths. Because whatever else they could say about him, Republicans couldn't feminize him (or to be more precise, they tried, mostly through their attacks on Hillary as a domineering lesbian radical, but the womanizing was one of the main reasons it didn't stick.)

As for how the GOP will attack a female candidate, it's hard to say, since there are so few examples to draw on, but I have a theory: Kevin may be right that it won't work, but not for the reasons he cites. It may be that portraying Hillary as a bitch actually *helps* establish her credibility as being tough enough for the job. If I had to choose between managing presidential campaigns for two female candidates, one seen as being too "soft" and the other as too "hard", I'd much rather have the latter. Call it the "Thatcher Effect" (and yes, I know there are a number of key differences between British and American politics that make comparisons difficult.)

The fact is, before a candidate can be considered a plausible president, he or she must meet a certain toughness threshhold. By all but calling her a bitch, Republicans may be giving Hillary a boost over that threshhold.

Having said that, it would also be extremely smart politics for Hillary to neuter that attack, because as much as she would gain by being tough, she would also gain if she was seen as being attacked unfairly. After all, the defining moment in her 2000 senate campaign came when Lazio stormed across the stage to browbeat her into signing his silly pledge gimmick. Also, one of the reasons the "effete" attacks on Kerry worked so well was precisely that his lame response to them seemed to confirm the veracity of the charge. If the guy couldn't even defend his own honor, the thinking went, how could he defend the nation? (I've always believed Kerry could have altered the dynamic of the campaign if, after Bush used one of his obnoxious canned jokes about Massachusetts during the debates, Kerry has righteously defended the honor of his state as the birthplace of American liberty, and pledged that as president, he would govern all 50 states, and not disparage any of them for cheap political gain. Bush would have been seen as a bully, and Kerry would have been seen as finally showing a little fire.)

Like some others in this thread, I'm still ambivalent about Hillary. But if she is going to win -- and for the good of future Democratic candidates, male and female -- her response to these attacks has to be, "The Republicans are a bunch of mean-spirited, sexist bullies, but I'm the one who can stand up to them."

Posted by: Zorro for the Common Good on February 12, 2006 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

As Reg's comment illustrates, Dems don't have to be angry to be portrayed successfully as angry. Those portrayals stick, e.g., the Dean scream. Total, verified and acknowledeged fiction, but makes no difference.

Posted by: plainjane on February 12, 2006 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

On TV, she comes across as cool, sober, well-informed, self-deprecating, and fairly appealing. Nothing at all like the fire-breathing Rush Limbaugh caricature.

To us, perhaps. Remember, the "Rush Limbaugh caricature" is aimed at, and consumed by, a specific stratum of our impolite society, and when they see Hillary on TV, they'll se just what they were expecting to see, complete to the horns protruding from her forehead.

Posted by: Doozer on February 12, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I think that she could be a viable, credible candidate in 2008, but I don't think she will be. Having watched her much of my life in Arkansas & more on the national stage, I just don't think she's gonna run unless she's sure she can lock it up. she's not the type to run to make a point-She, as much as Bill or maybe more, hates to lose. she might take the veep slot, but I think she'd rather consolidate power in the Senate. She could well prove me wron here, but I think she's too wary of not getting it and to aware of the history of candidates who ecome perrenial "almosts."

Regarding her actual politics, MCTNY's point about there not being a "radical feminist-lesbian" group for Hillary to have been shaped by during her college years is informative here. What she is is tough minded, pragmatic, analytical and ambitious. That this has, for much of her life, in Arkansas and nationally, allowed her to be cartooned as "radical feminist' says more about the divisions within the baby boomers and the culture that they've shaped than it does about her politics. The Clintons are & generally have been both slightly liberal (for their time and place)prqagmatists, who have spent their lives figuring out the calculus between larger values and political expediency. The choices that they've made for the latter have shaped them as much as their convictions regarding the former. There are areas where I think they are both really good, and places where they've made reprehensible choices. I'd probably vote for her without too much nose holding, no more than usual with succsessful Democratic politicians.

Oh, and a note to Islander, way upstream: cultures don't "evolve". They do develop, in their own particular directions, influenced by other cultures etc. The whole model of "primitive' and "advanced" cultures as a whole, while it's useful for comparing discrete areas like technology and so forth, ultimately distorts more than it reveals.

Posted by: URK on February 12, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop,

Mostly, I don't disagree with you. And I know it can't be fun to have to hear the suggestion that women and/or minorities need to suck it up one last time -- you know, after only sucking it up for a few centuries or millenia?

But, in truth, I just SO much want the shit to be flushed out of the WH that I can't pay attention to ANYTHING else.

I don't know who the best candidate will be for 2008, and I'm willing to entertain all kinds of ideas about what works, and I certainly see the downside of choosing somebody who looks like Republican-lite, or who can't develop a voice that people will pay attention to.

My view is that we have to look at the candidates we've got, and do the best we can to weigh their virtues, and be sure to include the failure of 2004 as further, crucial data.

Where this leads, though, is a debate for another time.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 12, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Today, President George Bush was very angry and lashed out at his critics.

Today, Sen Hillary showed effects of PMS as she attacked her critics will shrillness.

Today, Howard Dean, once again was shrill in his comments about his critics.

Today, Sen McCain was extremely forceful in his response to his critics.

Today, Rep Nancy Pelosi, was almost apoplectic in her histerical comments about her critics.

Today, Rep John Boehner, with a firm sense of purpose, spoke about comments from his critics.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on February 12, 2006 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

duh.

Conservatives have attacked Hillary and women in general as "manly" or "angry" for years. This is not news. So, what's she going to do--claim that she's not manly? :) This is one of those political attacks that is difficult to refute directly and probably counterproductive to address head-on anyway.

When your opponent is willing to play off people's prejudice about race and gender as Bush has done, you're combatting a very visceral response for some. And even if a candidate's willing to "fight dirty," is she willing to play off people's prejudices, too?

But there is a burn-out factor: beyond the core, bigoted conservatives, this kind of gender bashing could well have a backlash, especially among the moderate women out there. Rush et al. have been on this rant for years now, and I think people are dulled to it.

Posted by: Tx bubba on February 12, 2006 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0: We're in full agreement.

And Paul at 4:35: Very nicely done, indeed!

Posted by: shortstop on February 12, 2006 at 5:30 PM | PERMALINK

I hate to burst Kevin's bubble here, but voters will not be seeing Hillary Clinton for the first time. They started seeing her over ten years ago. They didn't much like what they saw.

She is where she is today because she was the President's wife, because she has mastered the modern campaign art of repeating the same phrases over and over for weeks at a time, and because she ran for the Senate in a heavily Democratic state against a weak opponent -- in about that order of importance. If Democrats really do conclude that she is the best their party has to offer -- in fairness, I really doubt there are many Democrats who believe that now -- they will not deserve to win in 2008.

Posted by: Zathras on February 12, 2006 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

Ohmigod, could the Republicans be any more pathetic? They're whining about feelings?

They think Hillary might be mad at them? So, will they pass a note to Susan Collins to give to Hillary that says, "Are you mad at us? Are we in a fight? Check yes or no."

It is amazing how, for all their posturing as "the manly man war president Administration," the Bush Administration routinely uses debate tactics that were until now the exclusive province of tenth-grade girls.

George, when Hillary says she's disgusted by your Administration's piss poor performance in New Orleans, she's not saying you're not bff anymore. She's saying you suck at your job. Nothing personal, dude.

And see, she thinks it's rilly rilly important you start doing your job better not so you two can be bff, but because, um, people are gonna die if you keep sucking at your job. Because, again, it's not about feelings, it's about doing the goddam job!

Aren't men the ones who are supposed to not let it get all emotional? And, um, aren't the Republicans the Daddy party? So, um, why the hell do the Republicans sound like the teenage girl party, obsessing about who's mad at them?

Posted by: theorajones on February 12, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary, a socialist trying to fit in as a moderate, very awkward.

When I see her, I expect her, at any time, to begin a big harangue about why women should get government checks, you know, some right because they got robbed of some key portion of their anatomy.

She has to hold it back, but you can see, just below the surface, a big penis envy, directed right toward old Bill, like she was never able to get off on that thing of Bill's; and in her prude life, never really got the guts to make old Bill do what a Bill is supposed to do.

You know she masturbates, I mean no doubt about it. She gets naked struts, like she is a manly president, then her hands begin to crawl down there, you know the sweet spot.

I mean, I would never elect the gal until she has booted old bill, and picked up a youngish, 30 year old millionare bachelor. You know, make it plain to everyone that it is time for the young and male to go downtown, time to skip the nesting; she is going for the gusto.

I gotta see that from her, rotten, raw, unseemly, hip thrusting lust.


Posted by: Matt on February 12, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

As evidence that Hillary can only get about 45% of the vote in 2008, the best friendly Kevin can come up with in his search for optimism on her is that she is "fairly appealing" in a television interview. Actually, in a friendly interview she can do a little better than fairly appealing.

But the problem is that she is bad when questioned seriously (which probably will not happen too often, but often enough for her to mess up) and, more importantly, she is bad in giving a speech. All this is subjective, but she does have a tone/manner when making a speech that turns a significant number of people off.

So it is an awful situation for the democracts -- for largely illogical reasons she is the odds on favorite for the nomination but she is a weak general election candidate with baggage who is almost certain to lose.

It is somewhat analogous to 2004. Kerry became the candidate for largely illogical reasons, he was a weak candidate, and the dems lost an election that had a chance at winning (although it is hard to see who among those actually running would have beat Bush).

As to whether Hillary is a lesbian or bi-sexual, it has a bit of significance in the overall negative perception of her. I think a more significant, although unfair, negative will be the fact that on some days she looks awful. Looks are important to a candidate. She is odd in that to some extent her looks have improved with age and sometimes she is pretty photogenic, but in other photographs she looks very bad and those shots will haunt her campaign.

In a sense, the speculation about Hillary probably makes little difference. If she is nominated, she almost certainly loses and, if McCain's health holds up and he secures the Republican nomination (likely to happen), he likely crushes any democrat.

Posted by: brian on February 12, 2006 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Brian,

Rove and Melman have been very open in their post-mortems of the 2004 campaign -- the only candidate they really feared for over two years was Edwards. When Dean collapsed a week before the Iowa caucus there were three viable alternatives still available, Gephardt (noble but no gravitas), Edwards (JFK, but hadn't proved himself yet), or Kerry (a shlub, but "electable" by those boobs in the Red States). If the Democratic Party had have gone with their instincts, rather than trying for the "electable" bankshot school of candidate picking, Bush was very beatable -- and I say that as a partisan Repub.

Posted by: minion of rove on February 12, 2006 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

I read the rest of some pretty good comments on this subject. Three short points.

1. The prediction of McCain then Rice as the next two presidents is probably the most likely to happen. I also think Bush could make a brilliant political play by having Cheney resign and then appointing McCain with the agreement that he would pick Rice as VP. McCain/Rice would win handily and set up Rice beautifully for 12 or 16, and perhaps set up 24 years of Republican presidents.

2. The "anger" tag is great politics. Hillary sounds angry in many speeches and, like any candidate, she will need to sound angry sometimes. So the tag is ready for the inevitable application to her. Pretty smart politics.

3. Hillary will run. When personal ambition for the presidency is that high and she has a very good likelihood of the nomination, the calculation will be that she has to take the shot at it, even if she and Bill are realistic enough to recognize her chance of winning is small -- it still is her best chance to be president and she will not pass on it. Bill to a certain extent made a similar calculation in 1990-91 when he decided to run.

Posted by: brian on February 12, 2006 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

minion of rove,

But what were the democrats' instincts? Edwards had a good lawyer closing argument schtick on "two americas," but that probably would have worn thin. He also was very weak whenever he was asked a question about terrorism or really anything else he did not have a planned argument for. Since he was more nimble than Kerry, he might have had a slighly better chance of winning, but he also had a chance of losing rather badly if it was concluded that he was not ready for the job.

Is the two Americas what you think democrat instincts were?

One of the more interesting, but not often mentioned, questions of 04 is exactly why democrats annointed Kerry as "electable." It seemed very odd to me as it played out. Decmorats in all those primary states were voting for Kerry because he was supposedly electable, but the voters knew little or nothing about him and even the professionals did not really explain why he would be electable. It was a strange phenomena.

Posted by: brian on February 12, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

I agree Edwards was not a sure thing -- any race against a war-time incumbent is uphill. I still believe he had the best shot of the guys in the contest. Had he gotten the nomination against a big field that would have mostly neutralized the "pretty boy" charge, giving him a lot more credibility. As candidate he would have tacked to the center and wouldn't have been so strident on the two Americas meme.

Posted by: minion of rove on February 12, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Minion,

FWIW, Rice is going to have to do/be something really redeeming to become president in 1012. Right now, she is a primary reason in much public perception as National Security Advisor to Bush in August of 2001 for giving 'light weight' to the PDB warnings against al-Qaeda. This is not going to go away. She will always be tainted in a significant portion of the public's view. Depending on the mood of the country in 2012, this could be a 'killer'.


Look....I agree: she's black, she's intelligent. But she does have baggage that no one else has ever had. It is tough to say right now if she can live it down enough to become president....

9/11 will not go away in our lifetime.

Posted by: jcricket on February 12, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

sorry.. I even proofread it. Make that 2012.

Posted by: jcr on February 12, 2006 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

wow, Mehlman is a homosexual and he's trying to attack a political opponent using homosexual innuendo?

a psychologist's field day. Actually, it's not even that complicated.

Posted by: haha on February 12, 2006 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

"informed, self-deprecating, and fairly appealing. Nothing at all like the fire-breathing Rush Limbaugh caricature"

- Wait till she sees the attack ads saying she knew and approved of Clinton's affairs but didn't care because she was into 'open' marriages. She's goona look nuts.

Posted by: McA on February 12, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

jcr,

I don't think many people blame Rice for 9/11, and I doubt that an attempt to do it in 2012 will stick.

Assuming Rice is as impressive a person as she seems to be, it would be great for the country to elect as president a woman who, 50 plus years ago, was a little black girl in Alabama being terrorized by racism and a church bombing that killed some of her friends. A great only in America story and one that is pretty good symbolism in terms of the progress of the country.

Posted by: brian on February 12, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

informed, self-deprecating, and fairly appealing. Nothing at all like the fire-breathing Rush Limbaugh caricature"

- Wait till she sees the attack ads saying she knew and approved of Clinton's affairs but didn't care because she was into 'open' marriages. She's goona look nuts.
Posted by: McA on February 12, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah but everyone I know remembers the fact that she was 'ice' toward Bill after he had to admit the Monica affair....even the pix of Chelsea acting as intermediary holding hands between each of them walking toward the helicopter on the WH lawn depicts the fact that Hillary was totally pissed at the guy. In those pix, Hillary was ice. Believe me, if what you say is the strategy, one picture will dissolve it.


Assuming Rice is as impressive a person as she seems to be, it would be great for the country to elect as president a woman who, 50 plus years ago, was a little black girl in Alabama being terrorized by racism and a church bombing that killed some of her friends. A great only in America story and one that is pretty good symbolism in terms of the progress of the country.
Posted by: brian on February 12, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

Assuming that the public will forget her link to the disregard of the August 2001 PDB, that might be a nice 'rags to riches' story. But in American politics, someone always has a history. Hers is uniquely attached to the most destructive attack we have had on our soil. The "little black girl" will have to have some grown up credentials. Re-read my post above. She has some redemption work to do between now and 2012 if she wants to play in elective politics. So far, all she has had are appointed positions. Let the public have a piece of her, and by god - her history will matter.

Posted by: jcricket on February 12, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

jrc,

President Bush was re-elected after 9/11. If anyone was going to take a fall in a presidential election due to not appreciating the threat priot to 9/11, wouldn't it have been him?

Don't understand your hostility toward Rice. It would be good for the country to see her elected and then a successful president.

Posted by: brian on February 12, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary in 2008? You DO realize the entirety of the right is going to call her out on race-baiting in that Harlem church a few weeks ago.

And the whole posturing to the pro-lifers. If NARAL doesn't cut her funding, any sensible Pro-lifer will. She's pulling the standard "move to the center before an election" tactic.

And who will forget her proposal of "Hillarycare"? Hillary has a lot of history, and being attached to Bill might help with the base, but Hill doesn't have Bill's charm.

I do agree with you on a few things though, Hillary has the biggest freaking sack in the entire Democratic Party at this point, the rest of them being emasculated by their own stupidity. However, Hillary is downright frightening and is extremely polarizing to people. She doesn't come off as the kind who wants sympathy for being married to the Giggolo-in-chief so she can't run off of that angle. To be honest, I'd vote for Rex the German Shepherd and a Soldier's Doberman Pincher as a ticket before I'd vote for Hillary, but she's probably got a better shot at the presidency than anyone else in your wing, bar maybe Lieberman who has a plan for Iraq that doesn't revolve around Bush hate.

Posted by: Brian on February 13, 2006 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

jrc,

President Bush was re-elected after 9/11. If anyone was going to take a fall in a presidential election due to not appreciating the threat priot to 9/11, wouldn't it have been him?

Don't understand your hostility toward Rice. It would be good for the country to see her elected and then a successful president.
Posted by: brian on February 12, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

Brian,

You mistake objectivity with hostility. How odd. Bush was re-elected by a bare 51%. (Electoral college aside, this was the voting public split). Today, with all that has been revealed since then, perhaps a re-election would not be the case. BUT, since we do know today what we do know, it would be naive not to consider it in future politics. Does Condi have a political future? If she plays her cards right - absolutely. But be real. All her high profile positions have been appointed. AND more detrimentally, they have all been centered around 1. National Security at the time of 9/11 and 2.)The invasion of Iraq, and 3.)Our foreign policy with the rest of the world.

Two of these three are dismal failures. The third - foreign policy with the rest of the world -- is her only hope between today and 2008 of securing a respectable name for herself despite her boss. If our relationships with the rest of the world deteriorates in the next three years, then you can kiss your Condi candidacy goodbye. What else would she have to point to for proof of competency?

I don't have anything against the woman personally. But all I have seen of her is to be an active part of the Bush echo chamber. It's not flattering. If it means anything to you, it would be nice to see her rise above it.

Posted by: jcricket. on February 13, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

In those pix, Hillary was ice. Believe me, if what you say is the strategy, one picture will dissolve it.

Posted by: jcricket on February 12, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

The 'open marriage' rumor is not a strategy its just a hit that forces her into another line of attack. She gets 'angry' the 'lot of anger' line is set up. She shows off her 'ice' photos and she falls into the old rumors about her being a psycho who drove Bill into infidelity (along with he pre-makeover photos, that's pretty believable).

Hillarycare is another dead weight. She moves away from it. They tag her as a flip-flopper.

She says she's not. They'll show the staged pictures of her baking cookies vs the picture of her pre-makeover vs senator femme now.
She'll look like the Madonna of politics with all those image remakes.

Hillary's got more baggage than a 20 year Senator thanks to Bill. Heck, if Hillary runs any nookie bill got post-Presidency is hot news that the media will pay for. Again pulling her down.

Give it up. Unless Leiberman is the nominee. Dems are dogs in 2008.

Posted by: McA on February 13, 2006 at 12:37 AM | PERMALINK

McA -

A "hit" or line of attack like that would never be addressed by Hillary personally. Surely, you have seen how these thing work in american politics, haven't you McA?

A slimy personal swipe such as what you suggest would be "handled" by others.

If your first contribution to the discussion about Hillary being "into open marriages" (I believe are your words) are truly a strategy, then by all means go for it. You obviously really have never set foot in America long enough to figure out the husband/wife dynamic here. Really. Go for it. It's a loser, but....oh hell, McA, your Asian background just doesn't prepare you for a backlash like what you would get. Really your suggestion is at best, naive.

Posted by: jcricket. on February 13, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

I think Condi has absoloutley no chance of being president despite her good performance in national polls. To win the presidency, she would first have to win republican primaries, and there is no chance the racist core of the party in the south will go for her. Some reasons McCain lost in South Carolina were he did not support the confederate flag as quickly or as strongly as Bush, and Rove did the "he had an affair with a black woman" gambit. The problem with having a party built on racism for the last 40 years is that when you do have an allegedly competent person of another color, they have absoloutley no chance of getting the nomination.

Posted by: patrick on February 13, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

I would support a clinton-Obama ticket. Actually, I'd rather have an Obama-Clinton ticket but I don't think Obama can deny Clinton the top spot. Hope they both run in the primaries.

As for anger, the Republican slime balls are just getting warmed up to swift boat any and all candidates they want to defeat in both parties.
Any candidate who isn't angry after all Bush has done is either stoned most of the time, on tranquilizers, has a pretty low IQ and doesn't get it or is a closet Republican!

Think the Democrat theme ought to be "we're mad as hell and we aren't going to take it anymore" (Network). That would difuse the anger issue!

Posted by: rain39 on February 13, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK
RNC chairman Ken Mehlman rather bizarrely referred to the almost robotic Hillary Clinton as "angry" this week,

There's nothing bizarre about the RNC doing what it always does to whoever it fears will be the next Democratic nominee. Oh, I mean, its bizarre in terms of connecting the accusation to the target in any logical way connected to the meaning of the words, but that's hardly unusual for such attacks. In fact, its about as surprising as "Sun rises in east, appears likely to set in west."

Posted by: cmdicely on February 13, 2006 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

Surely, you have seen how these thing work in american politics, haven't you McA?

Posted by: jcricket. on February 13, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

I was in your country for the Kerry campaign and election. It'll stick. Jay Leno has been making jokes about the Clinton marriage for years.

The trick is using someone with plausible deniability to float the charge...Maybe one of Clinton's former women.

You reckon Gennifer Flowers would be keen for some publicity after all those years?

Posted by: McA on February 13, 2006 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

Patick,

Your comment about southern republican primary voters being unwilling to vote for a black is untested at this point. I don't even know that southern primaries would be crucial and, remember, the scenario was that she would be McCain's VP and then run in 2012 or 2016.

I suspect you may be wrong about southern voters, but it would be fascinating to see and, of course, the country would be well served if you are proven wrong.

Your comment about the Republican party being built on racism over the past 40 years is, at least, an overstatement. I think it has to be conceded that racism has played some role in the rise of the republican party in southern states, but how much is hard to judge and presumably it is less of a factor today than 40 years ago.

And to what extent could the 90% black support of dems be considered racist? We ordinarily don't think of it that way, but blacks are a racial group so hostile to one party they vote for the other. In your view, the racial group of southern whites are so hostile to one party they vote for the other. I realize the comparison is not complete and may not even be fair. Blacks were the victims of unjust discrimination while southern whites were the perpetrators. If white southerners are still voting racial politics, it would be motivated more significantly by bias against blacks than the black vote against republicans is motivated by bias against whites.

Finally, on labeling Hillary as angry, it strikes me as good politics and not really unfair. Dems call Bush a liar all the time in an effort to score political points.

Posted by: brian on February 13, 2006 at 2:28 AM | PERMALINK

The Rethuglican smear machine seems to consist of a one-note chorus. The sad thing is, they have enough of an audience with their Kazoo band to make things miserable for just about anyone the Dems nominate in 2008.

That being said-- as a liberal since the Adlai Stevenson days, I DO NOT want to see a Hillary Clinton candidacy in 2008 for the Dems. I was on board for a while, but after she declared she was in favor of invading half the damn countries in the Eastern Hemisphere, while stumbling around over that insipid video game issue and then-- to add the cherry on the banana split of inanity-- embraced that monumentally stupid anti-flag burning amendment, I've had it. I will not support her in the primaries, and I doubt I'd even show up to vote in the General election at all. I'd still prefer to self-flagellate with a whip dipped in brine before I'd ever cast a vote for a Republican, but if Hillary's the nominee and there does happen to be a semi-viable Third Party candidate in '08 (i.e., someone without the name of "Nader" who comes down hard against these stupid wars and anti-free expression idiocy that Hillary seems so big on), that'll be my vote in 2008.

I just hope it doesn't come to that. There are quite a few folks in the Dems' stable-- Wes Clark and Mark Warner being the heavyweights, though I'd take a Blanche Lincoln, Bryan Schweitzer or even an Al Gore any day-- who I'd prefer by miles over Hillary, and this seems to be a consensus among quite a few Dems. Don't buy into polls at this stage, it's just big-name recognition stuff (which is why McCain has big leads in the polls for both parties). Come primary season in 2008, things are gonna be gettin' interesting.

Posted by: Old Major on February 13, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

'Wes [Clark], on the other hand, can seem a bit thin-skinned at times on TV, so I'm not as confident in his abilities to stand up to the critics once the klieg lights are shining in his eyes...'

Trust me, when the chips are down, Wes Clark can be the most frightening, lunge-for-the jugular adversary you'll ever come across. The guy made decorated general for a very good reason-- he seems poised and reserved at first glance, enough to make him approachable, but he fights harder 'n a cornered black mamba if you try to press him. He is a wickedly tough hombre. (And speaking of hombres, I hear he can wax lyrically in Spanish before an audience, a skill that is VERY USEFUL in running for national office in this day and age.)

My big concern for 2008 is if the Rethugs run John McCain. For a while I thought he was persona non grata after the Pat Robertson hothead speech in 2004, but now, he seems to have really made nice with the GOP base. He was a solid supporter and a leader in the Senate for securing the confirmations of Bush's ultra-conservative Supreme Court appointments, and he's been taking enough conservative domestic policy stands (to go with his traditionally conservative foreign policy stands) to make himself appealing to the base. The GOP could very well run him in 2008, say with someone like George Allen in the VP slot, if only to really pour it on against an expected Hillary nomination.

If the Rethugs do nominate McCain, I'm not sure if it matters who the Dems run in 2008. McCain would be extremely tough to beat.

Posted by: Old Major on February 13, 2006 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

'"The Democrats only have one potential candidate who has taken all the shit the wingers throw and has come out looking stronger and better. [snip] She polls even with John McCain, the strongest Republican candidate. [No, she doesn't, not even close-- even at this early name-recognition stage when the polls don't really add up to much, she's way behind McCain.] Why the hell are we so worried?"


Kerry was never able to dictate the terms of the debate.

A Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama ticket would change the political landscape in ways an Al Gore or other white male could not. The simple newsworthiness would force the regular pundits to talk about them all the time; in addition the normally non-political media outlets will cover them much more than Kerry.'

The problem, gs, is that while she'll certainly attract a good deal of coverage, a frighteningly large proportion of it will not be of the warm and supportive kind. Hillary carries a ridiculous amount of negative drag-her-down baggage up front, which is a very bad characteristic in a potential candidate for national office. And as I said, it's not just with Rethugs and conservative-leaners, but a good number of very long-time loyal liberals are really incensed with her right now. I don't think she's "triangulated" well at all, she's merely gone off canvassing for a constituency that will never support her anyway, while enraging her own base. It's not smart strategy.

Also, please, please, please-- on both sides-- stop making this an issue of "she's a woman, so she'll be unique" or "she's a woman, so she'll be at a big disadvantage." There are plenty of electable women in positions of power, but I sense that animosity toward Hillary isn't of the "she's a woman" kind as much as, "she's a terrible candidate" kind. Someone like Blanche Lincoln or even Barbara Boxer from CA would probably go into 2008 with an invigorated Dem base, yet without anything near the negative baggage that Hillary already carries. An undue focus on her gender is a red herring, that's not the main concern here.

Posted by: Old Major on February 13, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

'1. The prediction of McCain then Rice as the next two presidents is probably the most likely to happen. I also think Bush could make a brilliant political play by having Cheney resign and then appointing McCain with the agreement that he would pick Rice as VP. McCain/Rice would win handily and set up Rice beautifully for 12 or 16, and perhaps set up 24 years of Republican presidents.'

Brian,

#1 Condi Rice has specifically said she wants no part in the general election as either the nominee or the running mate-- she's too smart too debase herself with that.

#2 Rice is on record as supporting both affirmative action quotas and pro-choice abortion rights. That's a deadly combination for a GOP candidate-- it's not her race/gender as much as the fact that two of her most basic domestic policy stands, especially with the synergism that occurs when they're taken together, are utterly incompatible with the GOP base.

#3 Fair or not, Condoleezza Rice is going to be associated firmly in people's minds with the Iraq disaster, since she was one of the most visible proponents from the get-go, an insider in the administration, and one who continues to see the debacle through even today as Secretary of State. She's a mediocre speaker at best, and the affiliation with Iraq along with the extremely controversial Palestinian elections in Israel gives her a dead weight almost as awful as Hillary's. Again, I suspect that she's too smart to tarnish her career and her undeniably accomplished record by wading into the cesspool of national politics, especially a Presidential election.

Posted by: Old Major on February 13, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

One more source of flabbergastment (bring your own word day today) about the whole Hillary-for-Prez buzz, is I think that overall, she's a decent Senator and would probably be a good party leader in the Senate, maybe even reaching levels that LBJ did in his day. She's obviously intelligent and has the gusto and presence in the Senate chamber to get important legislation passed, and she can do a lot of good for the Democratic Party and the country by focusing on being an outstanding Senate leader.

The whole Presidential bid thing just isn't gonna work. As I said, it's not just the conservatives with their acid tongues spitting out their poison, it's that she really has managed to anger enough of her base beyond the point of no return. That painfully stupid support of the flag-burning prohibition was the last straw for quite a few people. The Dems have viable candidates for 2008, but they need to step outside the media overindulgence toward Hillary and coldly evaluate their genuine options for 2008. They've got some good prospects from the farm team.

Posted by: Old Major on February 13, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Why would I post something about Hillary? She's not going to even be the nominee for the Democrats in 2008. Guess what: McCain isn't going to be the nominee for the Republicans, either.

For once, I stand in full-throated agreement with tbrosz. Hillary & McCain are the ultimate media nominees - the pundits just keep pimping them and pimping them as sure-fire nominees, all the while ignoring the fact that their bases absolutely detest them. Trust me, if either of them are dumb enough to stand in the primaries, the big story in the early months is going to be "Joementum, Part II".

Posted by: tam1MI on February 13, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Old Major makes some good points. When did courageous Senate leadership become some kind of low-life job in people's minds? It's the presidency or nothing for so many of these folks who'd have respectable, honorable careers in the Senate if they'd just settle down to it.

tam1MI: ...the big story in the early months is going to be "Joementum, Part II".

KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!

Posted by: shortstop on February 13, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

Opposition politicians to war pig Republicans need to resurrect Guckert and start insinuating Bush is a homosexual who puts male prostitute's penises in his mouth in order to make them orgasm. Every hour of every day America's opposition needs to paint the supporters of Bush as sado-masochist ritual child abusers. Democrats won't do it because they support most of Bush's policies, which is easily demonstrable by their Congressional votes for war, defense spending and tax cuts.

Posted by: Hostile on February 13, 2006 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Hostile:

How about we tell them that Republican politicians put the penises of male prostitutes in their mouths because they like the flavor?

The American voting public isn't ready for orgasms.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 13, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

I have seen all the possibles on the interview shows. The only one who doesn't avoid questions, who answers every one honestly (and brilliantly), is Obama. "Brilliantly" because he finds a way to be sincere about every issue that somehow cuts both ways. I can imagine both left and right often nodding in agreement.

Personally, I am so sick of pols that sidestep difficult questions, and that includes Honest John McCain; Hillary; Kerry (the master); that I will vote for a chimpanzee over any of these. Hmmm, actually, we already have one of those, I sure wont vote for him.

Our time is at hand, folks. The chimp has screwed things up so badly, the people will at last be open to real change. We need an inspirational leader like Obama, not the pusillanimous policy parsers who are the front runners right now.

Posted by: James of DC on February 13, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Obama is for war with Iran. Obama likes the flavor of male prostitutes' penises.

Posted by: Hostile on February 13, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary was boring at Scott King's funeral because she followed her husband. No one who follows Bill can look good.

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