Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 20, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT?....So Hillary's in. John Podhoretz must be breaking out in a cold sweat right about now. Her decision to make the announcement on her website on a Saturday, rather than at a traditional press event on a weekday, was interesting, wasn't it? In a way, it goes to show just how much clout she has: she doesn't need the extra fillip of attention that a news conference would get her.

Now, keeping in mind that back in 2003 I thought John Kerry was the weakest of the major candidates -- an almost Shrum-like prognosticating ability -- I think Podhoretz's nightmares are well founded. I've always figured she'd run, and that if she ran she'd probably win. Here's why:

  • She has a lot of strength in the black community. This isn't exactly a secret or anything, but I think it gets underestimated sometimes.

  • She will raise insane amounts of money.

  • She has nowhere to go but up. Seriously. Every nasty thing that can possibly be said about her has already been said. Her negatives may be high, but that's mostly among Republicans who won't influence her primary chances and wouldn't vote for a Democrat in the general election anyway. Rush Limbaugh will spew his usual swill to the dittoheads, but for the most part all the old attacks will seem, well, old. (And this is one area where the iron laws of the press corps will work in her favor. Old scandals are almost never deemed worthy of revival in a presidential campaign. You have to dig up fresh dirt to get their attention.)

  • A lot of people outside of New York will soon be getting their first real look at Hillary since 2000. I think they're going to be surprised. Many of them probably have vague, Limbaugh-fueled recollections of her as a dragon lady of some kind, but when they actually see her for the first time on Larry King or Oprah or whatever, she's going to seem much more engaging than they remember.

Oh, and Barack Obama will be her vice president. Or, who knows? Maybe Wes Clark.

For more pro and con, check out our July 2005 issue. Carl Cannon made the case for why Hillary can win while Amy Sullivan made the case against her. Ryan Lizza's TNR piece from last year, "Welcome to Hillaryland," is also worth a read.

Kevin Drum 11:53 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (230)

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Comments

Feingold!!

Posted by: Ghost of Tom Joad on January 20, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

I'll vote for her over any Republican, and I'd be more or less satisfied with her as president, but she's a good deal more conservative than I am, and I won't vote for her in a primary unless the 90% of democrats I would prefer drop out by then.

I agree that her negatives have peaked (or would that be bottomed out?). Shrill things will be said about her, but that will be true of any democratic nominee. Swift boats man your slime.

The candidate whose policy judgments I most agree with is Dennis Kucinich, but he has about as much chance of being nominated as I do.

Posted by: anandine on January 20, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, and bullet point number two is why I'm so opposed to her. A while ago I read an article that talked about how she's raised ridiculous amounts of money from Big Business of all stripes. That, and the fact that she'll probably have to/want to "act tough" in order to not look...well, feminine, I think, could encourage her to do stupid things.

Man, how much would it suck to be Bill Richardson though. When he announces tomorrow it'll be a tree falling in a forest, and few will hear it.

Posted by: Steve W, on January 20, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

So the the netroots revolution means nothing ?

The centrist establishment candidate will just waltz throught the primaries ?

Posted by: Ron on January 20, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

I like what one commentator said about the skeletons-in-the-closet issue: "What's she going to do, kill Vince Foster again?"

Posted by: Daniel A. Munz on January 20, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

The ticket you are prognosticating would put me in a bind. I'd probably vote for it but I wouldn't be happy about it. I don't think it would win the general election.

Posted by: Emma Zahn on January 20, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Every nasty thing that can possibly be said about her has already been said.

No, every true nasty thing has been said. Don't discount the ability of the noise machine to make up brand new bullshit.

Posted by: DonBoy on January 20, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Are the primary voters going to turn out for her in droves? I don't think so. Also, if the Iraq war is still a big deal, she has not renounced her vote in favor of it. Are the Democrats going to nominate an unrepentant pro-war hawk?

Posted by: Ghost of Tom Joad on January 20, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

The unhinging has begun over at the Corner. Someone actually suggested that Hillary wants to put us all in "reeducation camps." Seriously.

Posted by: keptsimple on January 20, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Here is what I said about Hillary's looming announcement on Wednesday:

Don't get me wrong - this does not redeem her in my eyes. She still helped us get into this clusterfuck, and I not only won't support her in the primaries, I will work vehemently against her; for that reason alone. I won't be forgetting that she was wrong and we were right, and I will be reminding everyone of that at every turn between now and when the election cycle gets going in earnest.

But on the other hand...Hawks deserting the cause is a necessary step in the process. I welcome them aboard, but they better be chastened because God Damnit, when you are this wrong, and the consequences are this big, you don't get a Mulligan.
Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 20, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Barak is going to win the nomination. Hilary simply is not very charismatic and she has waffled on almost every major issue.

Posted by: J.S. on January 20, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Her negatives may be high, but that's mostly among Republicans who won't influence her primary chances and wouldn't vote for a Democrat in the general election anyway."

That sort of goes along with something I've been saying all along. I've always maintained that her detractors may be a large group, but that the chances of this group voting for a Democrat are fairly slim. There's a large portion of the electorate that is in that swing category, like my mom. Unless she's hiding something, she doesn't have strong feelings one way or another about Sen. Clinton right now, as opposed to 2000, when she voted for Gore but also for Lazio. It's that slice of voters that Clinton will have to attract, and as we both acknowledge, it's very possible.

Also at work here is the same force that has worked in Bill Clinton's favor and in Dick Cheney's favor: nobody could possibly be that bad. If the Republican attack dogs label her as the representation of Satan himself who will turn over the country to Osama bin Laden to perform gay marriages, like they very well could, she'll benefit if she comes across as remotely human.

Posted by: Brian on January 20, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

I predict you're dead wrong.

Democrats tried "safe" with Kerry in 2004. They had much better luck with Howard Dean's "principled" approach in 2006.

Obama and Edwards are much better at getting to people's hearts. They will wipe the floor with Hillary's wooden, 2000-Gore-like form.

Posted by: Name on January 20, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

The way I figure, Bush is completely disconnected from reality and Clinton only feels the pull through 12 pound test connected to last weeks public opinion polls.

Hey seals and polar bears! Could you please slap Gore around with your flippers and then put him on a bus back to the Canadian border? We'll take him from there.

Posted by: toast on January 20, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK


Judging from the way she (for a long time) supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq, she has the sense of a goose.

Do you want another President like that?

Posted by: gcochran on January 20, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

On the con side, Hillary has about 1/10 the charisma and presence of Obama. At least, that's how it comes across on the teevee.

Posted by: Del Capslock on January 20, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

"She has a lot of strength in the black community."

In a coldly logical way, is this relevant?

Doesn't the Democratic candidate typically get something like 90% of the black vote?

How many more voters could Mrs. Clinton possibly get, relative to an arbitrary Democratic candidate, because of her strength in the black community?

Posted by: zonkala on January 20, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary and Obammammamma against Rice and Tiger Woods, anybody?

Posted by: Walter E. Wallis on January 20, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't the Democratic candidate typically get something like 90% of the black vote?

We're talking primaries here.

Posted by: q on January 20, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Is Andrew Sullivan moving in here now? Are you going to post about it? Will I have to change my book mark to keep reading your blog, will you both be on one page? (Glad the cats are happy, btw.) Long time reader, I never post tho.

Posted by: * on January 20, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Ron.

Netroots is nice & lovely all, and even growing in importance but to thinks it's more then just the newest focus group in politics is just unrealistic. And to rely on just one group is suicidal in the end. A new McGovern like scenario will be waiting then.

Posted by: Ernst on January 20, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

sure, kevin, she'll win. and iraq was a good idea. you have an amazing track record. thanks for doing your part to ensure a third consecutive GOP administration in 2008.

Posted by: slammin' sammy on January 20, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

At least she wasn't stupid enough to announce she is reporting for duty.

Posted by: The Heretik in an Era of Goldstein on January 20, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Every nasty thing that can possibly be said about her has already been said."

Yes, but it will be repeated endlessly until it is received wisdom.

However, the Republic party's candidates are a weak field so far.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on January 20, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

John Edwards was on a national ticket, and he has half the unfavorables she does.

The woman is pure electoral poison.

Posted by: David on January 20, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Name,

I'd argue that Obama and Edwards are the "safe" candidates, not Hillary. According to the media Hillary has the high negatives, wooden delivery and divisive history that makes it impossible to win the general election. How that counts as the "safe" electoral candidate is beyond me.

Obama and Edwards have the media meme that they are charismatic and uniters. Especially Obama is recond to be the second coming of (insert personal favorite political messias) by the media.

Now that is said, it's important NOT to simply take the last election "learn" the lesson from that and do the opposite of what you did wrong last time.

If you refight the last elections, you'll lose, even have "learned". New elections, new rules.

Hillary might be the "safe" candidate and still win.

Obama might be the "safe" candidate and still win.

2008 isn't 2004 or 2000. Applying blanket lessons is a sure way to lose.

Posted by: Ernst on January 20, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think that anyone who supported the Iraq War as long and as persistently as Clinton did - ending only last week - will have a chance. She's proven to be a captive of the Shrums and other triangulating dweebs of the Democratic Party

Do we have to draft Wes Clark or Al Gore?

Posted by: Max Power on January 20, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK
Doesn't the Democratic candidate typically get something like 90% of the black vote?
We're talking primaries here.
That's not true. In Kevin's list of "why she'd win", he states:
Her negatives may be high, but that's mostly among Republicans who won't influence her primary chances and wouldn't vote for a Democrat in the general election anyway.
Moreover, the links to other sites' articles, giving cases for or against her winning, are in terms of the general election. Posted by: zonkala on January 20, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

I think the Saturday announcement gives her the longest amount of time between Maureen Dowd columns.

Smart.

Posted by: HR on January 20, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Edwards is also a great candidate. Interestingly, it seems all the talent is on the Dems side this time.

Posted by: Max Power on January 20, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Barak is going to win the nomination. Hilary simply is not very charismatic and she has waffled on almost every major issue.

Here's where I think Kevin is right, and you're wrong. Hillary's current image is a caricature. She will come off far better when people see the real Hillary and not the dittohead fantasy.

Kevin is missing something, though. She will get horrible press. It's already started--like the bizarre story from Ann Kornblut where insinuated that Hillary was faking a cell phone call to avoid reporters.

This really is the grass roots vs corporate money smackdown. Edwards has positioned himself well for this kind of battle. Obama complicates Hillary's situation significantly--he's waging the same don't make waves candidacy, and he has to make her nervous about her black base. I personally think they both are going to have trouble delivering black votes as their namby-pamby positions become more widely known.

To me, this all looks good for Edwards, or a new Al Gore.

Posted by: jayackroyd on January 20, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary wouldn't be my first choice, for two main reasons: one, her support for the war (and the extent to which that reflects her "triangulating") and two, her divisiveness.

I happen to think fairly highly of her as a person, but there are scads of people in this country who are convinced she is the spawn of the devil, and will never be disabused of that notion. Democrats are never going to get those people's votes anyway, but I'd rather not cheer for 4 or 8 more years of extreme political division in this country.

I think a Clinton/Obama ticket would be hard to turn down, though- although I'd much prefer a Obama/Clinton ticket.

Posted by: pdq on January 20, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's dangerous for Dems (and the country) to get into the mindset that they've got the presidency locked up in 2008. We'll end up with Hillary or someone like her, God forbid.

Posted by: bob on January 20, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

John Edwards is a far better candidate:

His two Americas theme recognizes the economic divide. Hillary is clueless on this.

Edwards actually gets it on trade: fair trade, not free trade. Both Barry Obama and Hillary are free traders.

Edwards takes the side of the little guy against big business. Hillary and the Big O? Big time backers of the corporate agenda.

Finally, on the war: Edwards is out now. Hillary and Obama are doing their Bill Clinton triangulating imitations. With either of these two we'd be in Iraq far past 2012.

The choice is clear.

Posted by: Brian on January 20, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

I actually like Hillary Clinton. She's a smart, strong woman, and we need more like her in public office. However, I don't think she has a chance in hell of winning the presidency. I think the general antipathy to political dynasties is very very high these days, after the debacle of Bush II. And when we start hearing about Jeb Bush moving into federal politics that feeling is just going to get entrenched more deeply.

Posted by: lisainVan on January 20, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

zonkala,

I think Kevin is talking about both the primary and general election. proved by well, the fact that he mentions both

Her negatives may be high, but that's mostly among Republicans who won't influence her primary chances and wouldn't vote for a Democrat in the general election anyway.

The She has a lot of strength in the black community probably does too. It'll help her in the primary by votes and in the general by not having the "taking for granted" accusation that was leveled at Kerry.

Posted by: Ernst on January 20, 2007 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Brian: Agree.

But I only allow Edwards a positive rating because he has apologized for his vote.

Posted by: bob on January 20, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

A commenter over at Steve Gillard's site makes the very good point that she has been in a bubble for a very long time.

Posted by: jayackroyd on January 20, 2007 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

I can't believe I'm quoting Bob Novak, but he was spot-on when he said there was "no joy" in her campaign. There are all these excellent reasons why she could, would, should become the Democratic nominee, but there just isn't any happiness about it.

I also think it is crucial that we have a candidate who isn't associated with Bush's War in Iraq. I still believe that if Kerry had not voted for the Resolution or had been able to explain his position lucidly (as to why and how it was so different from that of Bush) he would be our President today.

Posted by: LAS on January 20, 2007 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Wesley Clark won't be the nominee in either position. The "New York money people" don't like him and, as we know, they control the world.

Posted by: Point C on January 20, 2007 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

I have always hoped we could just re-elect Al Gore.

Posted by: Dave Howard on January 20, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think Hillary has much strength in the NYC-area black community any more. Not after, at the height of the protests against a notorious police shooting, with black New York in the streets, Hillary held a presser to launch an attack on video games. She still hasn't said anything about trigger-happy New York cops (and yes, I'm white and far away, but Steve Gilliard is generally right about those things, and he's on the spot).

Posted by: Joe Buck on January 20, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

There still might be possibilaties there dave. It's almost a full year till the primaries start, a week is a long time in politics. A year is an eternity.

I'd like Gore to finally not only win the race, but also serve as president. But thats just dreaming out loud right now.

Posted by: Ernst on January 20, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I happen to think she'd make a pretty good president. But I am troubled at the thought of this sequence:

41. Bush
42. Clinton
43. Bush
44. Clinton

The thought of the presidency see-sawing between two families for a generation or so is a bit disquieting, as if they were our versions of the houses of York and Lancaster.

Or is it just me?

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on January 20, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Kevin on this one. I think she'll hit the rest of the country the way Reagan did in 1980. He had been portrayed as a bogeyman for a decade. If he was elected, all hell would break loose. Then the debates came, and Americans saw the guy didn't have horns. Made it a lot easier to vote for him.
Also, Hillary has a way of winning over enemies. (Don't ask me how.) The firefighters booed her off the stage (literally) in 2001. Last year, they endorsed her.

Posted by: Ronn Zealot on January 20, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

I have two thoughts why Hillary should not be nominated.

First, Hillary's campaign will be perfect. It will be well organized. It will be well staffed. It will be everything corporate money can buy. The woman might be a great person, but how will we ever know. Her every move will be scripted to the tenth degree. Her campaign will be without passion. Souless. Utterly lacking in inspiration. It will, none-the-less be perfect.

Second, the Clintons are sooo 1994. The are old news. They have long passed their expiration date. We need something new. Hillary isn't it.

Seriously, is there anybody out there who really want's Hillary Clinton in the White House again? Anybody who isn't being paid or doesn't own her that is.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 20, 2007 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

I'll vote for her over any Republican

I used to be fairly bipartisan -- growing up in Kentucky, where the Democrats served up a succession of mediocrities to be a shoo-in for Governor, I used to take positive pleasure in casting a futile vote for the Republican -- but the conduct of the Republican Party over the last decade means I'd vote for Skippy the Wonder Lizard before a Republican.

Posted by: Gregory on January 20, 2007 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, the only people THAT DON'T LIKE HILLARY is the MoveOn.org crowd, the Paul Krugman crowd, the Howard Dean people.

Kevin acts as if they are irrelevant. But they are not, and they know that Hillary, like Bush doesn't really want to get out of Iraq. It was plain by her silly talking on C-Span.

Hillary has the same propensity to lie as the Bush administration does. I'm tired of liars for President.

I've never forgotten that Clinton lied about WMD too. Clinton said those 16 words were just a mistake, and clearly Bill Clinton knew those words were not just some kind of mistake.

You can have Bush supporting the war or you have Hillary, I pick neither. Where is Al Gore when you need him? We need an honest person, not another dishonest one.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 20, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

I won't vote for her. not because I particularly think she won't do a good job, or politics, or anything, but I don't particularly want to line in a county governed by two families for 24 years. is our talent pool so shallow, and our opportunities so limited that we are willing to say that from 1989-2012 or realisticly 2016, the best people we could find are named Bush and Clinton? What are we, Argentina?

Posted by: northzax on January 20, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Out here in the hinterland, I'm noticing a mood for a much, much bigger change -- not to say clean-out -- than Hillary would represent.

Posted by: PW on January 20, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

The thought of the presidency see-sawing between two families for a generation or so is a bit disquieting, as if they were our versions of the houses of York and Lancaster.

Or is it just me?

No, it isn't just you.

The same applies to Jeb, as well, perish forbid.

Posted by: Gregory on January 20, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

PW

You got that right. The people outside the beltway are looking to clean house.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 20, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Ronn Z
Don't ask me how

She works very, very hard. She's been to every county in NY. She really did her homework on NY issues. She's been a fine senator, not as progressive as I would like, and, like many senators, a little cowardly.

For me, her one opportunity to demonstrate executive skills, the health care plan was completely botched. And it was botched precisely because of her excessive caution and her concern for the party's monied interests.

My vote, here in NYC, doesn't matter. I'll vote for whomever the Democrats nominate. The republicans don't have a decent candidate, nor, IMO an electable candidate.

Posted by: jayackroyd on January 20, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

I am ambivalent about Ms. Clinton. I think she is likable but too hated by a large portion of the electorate to be elected. She understands the needs for business regulation and wealth transfers, but is very beholden to the same large corporations that have accumulated so much wealth and thinks they need to be protected with public policy. She is also not strongly anti-war to satisfy me nor the present policital times, which is going to hurt her the most in the primaries. If there was no war, I would give her a better chance of winning the nomination.

Posted by: Brojo on January 20, 2007 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

PS: How well would Hillary do if she got the nomination and found herself running against Chuck Hagel? C'mon -- be honest now!

Posted by: PW on January 20, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

*Sigh* Al Gore would be my choice.

But I will say this... hell will freeze over before I vote Repub.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 20, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

But right now, nobody knows any of the other candidates. Why should an ex-first lady and current NY Senator have a better shot with people in Iowa or New Hampshire than anyone else?

Unless the primary schedule is packed so close together that only a candidate who starts with $15 million in the bank can get their message out, some of the others should begin emerging as they become known.

Just one debate and the playing field will be much more level.

Did you see that recent report about how Democratic women candidates did in the congressional elections, versus their male counterparts? It was pathetic. Does anyone seriously think Hillary's got the kind of charisma that will keep her on top once people have seen her debate the other candidates?

No.

While there is definitely a danger that, as with the last presidential election, the media will pick the winner because the large playing field leads to the pundits preferring to construct memes about who is important, while ignoring the rest.

But Hillary isn't the one who will benefit.

Posted by: catherineD on January 20, 2007 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

I'm with Roddy McCorley and northzax on this one. I honestly do think that granting implicit monopoly of executive power exclusive to the House of Bush and the House of CLinton has psychologicial implications that are not being thought through. It says to ordinary Americans that, contrary to the heart of the American dream, you can NEVER achieve the supreme office of state unless you have the right parents or husband. The effects of this can be insidious. Once, with Bush, could be written off to coincidence - but twice might not be.

Posted by: JohnTh on January 20, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Roddy,

Family names repeating in politics is pretty standard actually, You've got the Adams, the roosevelts, almost the Kennedys and now the Bushes. And thats just looking at the presidency if you'll look at the house, senate and governerships you'll find many dynasties. High level politics are all about wealth and most important: contacts. Both tend to run in the family. Other democracies aren't different in that respect. It might be disquieting to some but it's only a natural consequence of the system. Some of the best politicians and presidents come from dynasties (and some of the worst as well.)

If you disagree with that Even the fact the clinton name should be less troublesome then it normally would to you. Both the Clintons are first generation politicians, and on both the clinton and the Rodham side there are no other politicians in the family. And their child seems unlikely to enter politics. For a dynasty that's pretty meager pickings.

Posted by: Ernst on January 20, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

"I happen to think she'd make a pretty good president. But I am troubled at the thought of this sequence:

41. Bush
42. Clinton
43. Bush
44. Clinton

The thought of the presidency see-sawing between two families for a generation or so is a bit disquieting, as if they were our versions of the houses of York and Lancaster.

Or is it just me?"

Ditto for me on that.
Besides, voting for her in the general election would require major holding of the nose to avoid the stench. On the positive side, so long as Justices Stevens, Ginsberg, Souter, and Breyer can live until at least January 20, 2009, at least Hillary would not be appointing right wingers such as Alito or Roberts to the bench.....

Posted by: bushworstpresidentever on January 20, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

I echo northzax and Gregory's concerns. America is a democratic republic, not a monarchy. I have a real problem with two families dominating the White House for as much as 28 years. It isn't right and it isn't healthy for America.

I also think you are dead wrong with your "iron laws of the press corps" comment, Kevin. You seem to forget that this press corps you are talking about, took a real estate investment made by Hillary's husband 14 years before he became president and turned it into an 8 year investigation into every aspect of his life, from the curvature of his penis through the amount of the tax deduction Clinton took for his used underwear through the shape of the hole in Ron Brown's head when Brown's plane crashed. We will be treated to a reprise of Vince Foster, Cattlegate, Rose Law firm billing records and on and on and on. And this press corps will treat it all as if it were shiny, fresh and new, because the average American is so goddamn dumb and forgetful that they won't remember that it has all been debunked several times before. It will be a windfall for Rush Limbaugh and Joseph Farrah and Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly and G. Gordon Liddy and Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter and so on. God help us all. I think I will go live in a cave for the next 10 years or so.....

Obama/Edwards is the ticket!

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 20, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

Conservative Deflator,

How much of that kind of media & Republican action purely tied to the Clinton name? and how much of that is just standard operating tactics against any succesfull democrat? We know that Hillary can take it. How will Obama or Edwards stand up to that?

Posted by: Ernst on January 20, 2007 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

U.S. helicopter shot down north of Baghdad – 13 dead. Stay the course.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 20, 2007 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

The one undeclared candidate who keeps coming to mind is Al Gore. Consider his advantages:

  • He has experience in the Senate and in the White House.

  • He's extremely knowledgeable on domestic issues and foreign policy.
  • He served in Vietnam.
  • He was an articulate critic of the Iraq war long before it was fashionable to be one.
  • He has been an outspoken opponent of the Bush administration.
  • He has shown himself to be a passionate and influential leader on the major environmental issue of our time.
  • He's an excellent debater.
  • He's shown he can win a national election (if the votes are counted fairly).
  • As with Hilary, every nasty thing that can possibly be said about him has already been said. Unlike Hilary, he has fairly low negative ratings.
  • And...

  • He had no role in Whitewater, Monicagate, travelgate, Vince Foster, etc, etc. To most people, he represents the best of the Clinton presidency without any of the scandals.

Really, the only negatives about Gore are that he's considered a bit of a stiff and a policy wonk. But, after 8 years of a reckless and clueless administration, I think most Americans are going to be looking for stability, experience, and sober judgement in the next president.

He's our best shot at undoing the damage of the past six years. So how do we get him to run?

Posted by: Oregonian on January 20, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

She will raise insane amounts of money.

And its money that doesn't come from the netroots, so what does that tell us about Hillary?

That she makes her money the same nasty way Bush does, by sell American to highest bidder, that's how. It's government for sell and Hillary isn't hiding it well. The DLC slut.

Enough said, why vote for Bush twice.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 20, 2007 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

What planet do you live on, Kevin??? She won't get the nomination, because Democrats (all except her "base", the tiny niche group who like her, all women) know that she can't win the election.

I'd vote for her, but she'd be right up there with the yellow dog.

Posted by: astonished on January 20, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

The Washington Post:

The Fix: Clinton Embarks on Listening Tour

Will she be better at pretending to listen, I mean, better than Bush was pretending to do anything?

Hillay is just another Bush.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 20, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Oregonian,

As with Hilary, every nasty thing that can possibly be said about him has already been said. Unlike Hilary, he has fairly low negative ratings.

I'm for Gore as well, but at the moment polling shows his negatives are higher then his positives, so he stands at a net negative at the moment. Even Hillary has higher positives then negatives at the moment. That might be because Gore isn't in office right now and breaking a lance for a rather controversial issue, but it is something he must adress to win.

Other then that the best point you make is

To most people, he represents the best of the Clinton presidency without any of the scandals.

I always wonder why people don't bring up the fact that he oversaw the biggest reduction in goverment rules ever as vice president. He cut costs and improved effectivaty. Making government cheaper and better.

Serious, what' s not to like about that?

Posted by: Ernst on January 20, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Gosh, Bush isn't going under the FISA court at all.

Dan Froomkin points out that Bush is still wiretapping. Did the media LIE to us?

On Wednesday, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wrote a letter to senators announcing that "any electronic surveillance that was occurring" as part of the administration's controversial warrantless eavesdropping program " will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court."

WHAT, the NYT and WP can't get it right?

Many observers jumped to the conclusion that the administration had been forced into a major retreat in its battle to expand executive power. (See yesterday's column.)

But over at the White House, President Bush, who was granting interviews to a handful of regional broadcasters, was telling another story altogether.

In a brief sit-down with Sabrina Fang of Tribune broadcasting, Bush had this to say:

"Actually the courts, yesterday, the FISA court, said I did have the authority. And that's important. And the reason it's important that they verify the legality of this program is it means it's going to extend, make it more likely to extend beyond my presidency. And this is a really important tool for future presidents to have. . . .

"I felt yesterday was a very important day for the Terrorist Surveillance Program. Nothing has changed in the program except for the court has said we analyzed it, it is a legitimate, it is a legitimate way to protect the country."

Will I guess Hillary will be able to wiretap too, as Bush peddleing the great new wonder powers he got here.

Are Dems going to do anything, because short of impeachment, there isn't anything else they can do about Bush.

If only the Dems weren't so spineless.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 20, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, we've "progressed" in America. Blacks and women can now be serious presidential candidates -- but only if they're Ivy League lawyers, and already part of the ruling elite.

Sigh.

Posted by: Vincent on January 20, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

No more royal family bullshit please.

We need to pass a law that if an immediate family member or direct descendent of yours was president with two generations you cannot run for the office.

Posted by: Ten in Tenn on January 20, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

"Hillay is just another Bush."

Ignoring the typo, this is the kind of ridiculous thinking that inspired people to vote for Nader in Florida. Remember how well that turned out.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on January 20, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Every one of our potential candidates will have weaknesses, deficiencies, difficulties.

Hillary will have to explain clearly her position vis-a-vis Iraq, and if it isn't clear to the average person that her position represents a credible way out, I don't see how she wins the nomination. Secondly, she will have that eight year record of Senate votes that can be cherry-picked and swift-boated, so Kevin, there may very well be new negatives floated.

Obama has the aura and all the good vibes, which may well turn off the curmudgeons voting in the cold and dark in January in New Hampshire and Iowa. (I worked for Dean in NH, and in the nine days leading up to the 2004 primary, I think the high temperature was 15 degrees.) Really, everybody over 50 is going to look at him and go - where's the experience? National Security may well be priority one among the electorate after Bush bombs Iran and the Shiites in Iraq start a Tet Offensive against the American occupiers in retaliation.

Edwards also has a lack of foreign policy gravitas, but he may look like old man wisdom juxtaposed to Obama. However, it would help if he could grow a little grayer - he's 54 but looks 35. He has clearly broken with his vote on the war. He needs to show that he can hit back better and faster than he did as Kerry's VP candidate.

Gore says he's got another mission, and I believe him. I think he's gotten enormously more mature and likeable than he was in 2000. Ah, the irony, he could win but he doesn't want it.

Wes Clark, Bill Richardson, and Tom Vilsack are good people and each has the distinct advantage of never having been a Senator. But politics is a positive-feedback system - the more you look like a potential winner, the more money and buzz you get, and the more likely you are to win. These three need to get over the hump of being seen as potential nominees. Otherwise, they're going to be forever "second-tier" until the money runs out.

And then there's Kerry. Please please somebody up in Massachusetts tell him it's over. It's not that he's not a good Senator, or for that matter might make a fine president. He just cannot convince anyone now that he can win, not after 2004. The "botched joke" just before the 2006 election just dredged up so many bad memories.

I should also mention Kucinich. He is the conscience of the Democratic Party, and the most Christian (as in "Christ - like") of all the candidates. He represents peace and progressivism and a genuine interest in (not just concern for) those among us who have the least. One day in the future America may be a good enough country to embrace someone like him. Not now, heavens no.

Now, rather than be a total downer, I should say that we stand a good chance of winning in 2008 whoever the moninee is. Odds are that we'll have either a woman or African-American as one of the nominees (Pres. or VP) and quite possibly both. The sense of history and significance that such a ticket would bring about would be fantastically exhilarating. Pick any combination with Clinton or Obama as one of the pair and compare to anything the Repubs could possibly throw together (hint: two old white guys with plenty of Bush-fawning quotes to cherry pick and hurl at them).

Posted by: Greg in FL on January 20, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Vincent,

Even male WASP's can only compete if they're Ivy League lawyers, and already part of the ruling elite.

It might be wrong, but at least its consistant.

Posted by: Ernst on January 20, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Why doesn't Bush just fire the entire FISA court now, seeing has how these judges without anything to do, are simply drawing paychecks from taxpayers.

Talk about your government entitlement programs. Maybe Hillary can fire them all since they are completely bereft of purpose these days. The only moral judge among those privileged government FISA parasite judges has already morally quit his do-nothing job.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 20, 2007 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

Senator Clinton is a good Orange County Democrat: conservative, well financed, and completely without any liberal agenda. Meaning, of course, that she is capable of getting the votes in places where Democrats won't win in November. In blue areas, the base will not forgive her for being a hawk and for toeing the line until her consultants proclaimed it safe to oppose Bush.

Posted by: Dicksknee on January 20, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Both of the front runners from both divisions of the Party will have a difficult time winning their respective nominations because of their stance on the Iraq Occupation. Both Hillary and McCain are going to have to become anti-war in order to win any primary elections. The Republicans are not going to vote for a pro-war, the crisis looms, we must escalate candidate, and the Democrats are going to insist their candidate be anti-Iraq occupation. To me, Hillary is a stay the course candidate who has not repudiated her stance on the Iraq invasion. I think that works for her as a senator from New York, but not nationally.

Posted by: Brojo on January 20, 2007 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary has two advantages over all other Democrats running.

* She has been investigated to death, going back to her high school days. Every check she has ever written has been subpoenaed. She has survived a massive witchunt by partisan prosecutors and congressional committees. There is nothing to "expose" about her.

* She understands how the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy works, its various tentacles, its MSM handmaidens. She understands the whole mechanism. She knows what to expect from the Right Wing Noise Machine.

Posted by: Nan on January 20, 2007 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Okay, this hopefully won't be too long a post, but I've got a bunch of stuff to say here.

Lemme echo many here, and say that this former Howard Dean NH volunteer, contributor and blog activist would give a minor body part to see Al Gore run again. What Al has that the campaign lacks is serious passion on a signature issue. It's not the war; being a Cassandra in '03/'04 was valuable and deserved support for being right alone -- but today everybody with a brain opposes it enough to negotiate a withdrawal. With Gore it's the single most important challenge we face for the next several generations -- global warming and alternate energy. He could unlock a spirit of innovation and optimism that define America at its best.

But sadly enough, Gore won't run. He won't allow himself to be drafted either -- he just doesn't have that kind of burning ambition. His political career was at the behest of his dad, and he did his filial duty in discharging that. But since his relationship with his dad wasn't *all fucked up* like Bush's, he has nothing deep and psychological to *prove*, like Bush. So we can put that dream aside, enviro-friends ... *sigh*.

Kevin may have been wrong about the war, but he was oh-so-right about John Kerry -- by far the weakest candidate in '04, because he didn't know who he was. Kucinich and Sharpton were rocks of Gibraltar in comparison in that sense. And let me tell you -- this is precisely why I'm not on the Obama-wagon. All I can hear is Mondale's devastating comment in '84 to Gary Hart: Where's the beef?

Obama has an utterly sterling progressive voting record from his eight years in the Illinois legislature. He's a veritable 60s ACLU crusader, for publicly funded abortions, gun control, criminals' rights. It's like -- where's the liberal Charles Bronson to make a speech before his wife and daughter get mugged in Death Wish? But instead of running as an unabashed, unapologetic liberal a la Kucinich or Sharpton -- he's Mr. Can't We All Just Get Along. I'm sorry -- this makes me wanna puke. I have The Audacity of Hope and I haven't been able to finish it. There are only so many plattitudes I can read before it's like your third bowl of popcorn.

What doubly disturbs me about the Obama-nomenon is what the big donors who just kicked in to him are saying: "Oh, I think he'll bring a *fresh excitement* to the race." Excuse me, Mr. Big Donor, I'm part of the Base, and I don't need *you* to tell *me* what will get me excited, thank you very much. This is the same sort of strategic support, backing somebody because you think other people will like them, that gave us John Kerry. And Obama's problem is veritably Kerryesque. Just as Kerry ran from his principled leadership of the antiwar movement, Obama in the senate is like a charismatic Joe Lieberman -- it's like he *lives* to shake hands with Republicans and co-sponsor something equivocating. Check his climate bill ... *retch*

Damn, do I feel badly for Bill ("Who?") Richardson. As someone observed upthread, he's going to announce tomorrow and nobody will notice. And he's a guy I could get behind, too. He's got both substantial executive and foreign policy experience; I'll be watching him ...

And that leaves Hil and her bloviating colleagues in the senate. Can we all just dismiss Biden and Dodd out-of-hand already? I don't think three-hour State of the Union addresses are what America particularly wants or needs. Maybe I'm being too quick about this, but senate lions annoy the fuck out of me, even when I totally agree with them ... Gahh -- imagine President Byrd ???

As for Hil herself ... I hate to say this ladies 'n' germs, but I'm beginning to warm to her a little. I agree with Kevin -- though her negatives are hard, they're among people for the most part who'd never vote Democratic, anyway. But there's another side to that that's actually kind of delicious. The wingnut-o-sphere will become literally unhinged and ready to be tied down on the gurney and hypo'ed -- and that might actually be sorta fun. It's a different world than it was in '92 or '96. Fox and talk radio are no longer "alternative media," they're the establishment. I really do think -- especially absent a really good GOP candidate (and McCain certainly doesn't fill that bill); all that pent-up anger at Bush and GOP misrule -- that they'll seriously overshoot their target and create wellsprings of sympathy for Hil among the currently Hil-lukewarm and even Hil-hostile. Kind of like the way progressives flew to Bill's defense during Monica even knowing in our hearts that he's a sexual harrasser.

Plus I have six words: Bill Clinton as Secretary of State. Could you just *imagine* ... guy gets off a plane in a foreign country and people line the street waving American flags ...

Hillary is sponsoring a retroactive troop cap. More than a non-binding resolution, more than unrealistic proposals to defund the war, that's the most realistic shot we have of beginning to rein in George and Dick's Execrable Misadventure. As a war opponent, I think she deserves serious props for that -- as does Dodd and all who support the idea.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 20, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't think that anyone who supported the Iraq War as long and as persistently as Clinton did - ending only last week - will have a chance."

Hillary has been criticizing Bush's conduct of the war going back to 2003.

"I've always maintained that her detractors may be a large group,"

Her detractors are not a large group. They are a small but powerful group with a huge megaphone. They own large segments of the media.

Posted by: Nan on January 20, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

But instead of running as an unabashed, unapologetic liberal a la Kucinich or Sharpton -- he's Mr. Can't We All Just Get Along.

Yeah, imagine that. Unlike Sharpton and Kucinich, Obama is running to win. Bad Obama. Bad.

Posted by: Disputo on January 20, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

Bill Clinton as Secretary of State.

I am on record as saying that whoever promises to appoint WRC as SoS will get my vote, but I got news for ya -- that ain't gonna be HRC. No way will she put hubbie into an official position.

Posted by: Disputo on January 20, 2007 at 4:24 PM | PERMALINK

'I have six words: Bill Clinton as Secretary of State. Could you just *imagine* ... guy gets off a plane in a foreign country and people line the street waving American flags ...

Yeah, if only he wouldn't fuck the hired help...

Posted by: Joe Bob Briggs on January 20, 2007 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

My 23-year-old son just text messaged me the following:

"I'm voting for Hillary. Only a Mom can clean up this mess. We've screwed things up royally, and you ladies will have to make order from chaos. Sorry Mom."

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 20, 2007 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

I am on record as saying that whoever promises to appoint WJC as SoS will get my vote

Me too, Disputo. That is the message I sent back to the kid.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 20, 2007 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

if only he wouldn't fuck the hired help...

I couldn't care less. At least he didn't screw the public.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 20, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

And there is hope for that kid yet! He just messaged back:

"WJC as SoS? Awesome idea. That's why I talk to my Mom.:)"

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 20, 2007 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Every nasty thing that can possibly be said about her has already been said."

I'm with DonBoy. The Clinton Rules of Journalism apply - you can say absolutely ANYTHING about Hillary, and no one in the MSM will challenge you on it.

It's not the wingnut crazies I'm talking about here. It's the So-Called Liberal Media, led by the NYT.

Posted by: Steve on January 20, 2007 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Steve:

That's part of my point. The MSM (and at this point, I include Fox and ClearChannel) are going to be snarking and swiping at Hil all through the campaign. What I see is a backlash potential on the blogs, where -- ironically enough, jebus! -- the left blogosphere rushes to the defense of Damsel Hillary against the hoardes of cynically evil MoDon'ts of BeltwayJournalismLand ...

Since I honestly don't think her '02 AUMF vote will be so much a factor as it crucially was in '04, we may live to see the Bizarro World experience of watching Markos championing Hillary against a tut-tut-ing Broder column :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 20, 2007 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary is way to wishy-washy, almost as bad as John McCain. I think she will fizzle out early in the primaries.

She was way too pro-war when it really counted, is for a flag-burning amendment, and is a corporatist. She is not going to solve any of our problems.

She will be repug-light and will look week during her entire administration. Why not have a real repug, rather than Hillary...

Posted by: Brian on January 20, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

The Clinton Rules of Journalism apply - you can say absolutely ANYTHING about Hillary, and no one in the MSM will challenge you on it.

And the public will take about as much notice as they did during the clinton years.

According to the media she already killed Vince Foster, and she still has a net approval rating. What she gonna do? kill him again? Right now if she's found kicking puppies for satan, people wouldn't change her mind about her. Her negatives have peaked.

Posted by: Ernst on January 20, 2007 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Brian:

I dunno, but personally I don't look for presidents to "solve our problems."

I look to presidents to not make our problems any more worse than they absolutely have to be ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 20, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

...I'd rather not cheer for 4 or 8 more years of extreme political division in this country. pdq.


Plus the many similar posts so far...


Bushes, Clintons, for the love of our great nation, please, PLEASE go away.

Posted by: Globalize THIS? on January 20, 2007 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Pardon my skepticism but you are deluded to speak in such positive terms about Hillary. I'm on board with you as a progressive and agree with most of what you write on your blog, but I will never, ever vote for Hillary. If the Dems nominate her, a Third Party candidate will be garnering more votes (from disillusioned Democrats) than at any time since 1948, even it means hailing President Giuliani in January 2009...

I was a major Hillary supporter back in 2000. But then Hillary not only voted for the Iraq War Resolution in 2002, but then continued to support the war and be one of the most persistent Democratic hawks in favor of it in the years thereafter. Even when it became obvious how disastrous the Iraq War had become in 2006, Hillary stayed on as one of the most prominent hawks among the Democrats, like Joe Biden. A pox on both of them. Hillary has also been among the most hawkish people in both parties on Syria and Iran-- a very dangerous position that's pushing us toward another major war.

If it were just the war alone I could perhaps begrudge Hillary. But she and Biden were among the major supporters of that appalling bankruptcy reform bill, which shoves in and twists a knife on people forced into bankruptcy by things like serious medical illness (thanks to our dwindling health insurance safety net) or auto accidents. One of my good friends faced bankruptcy for this reason, and this cruel, heartless bankruptcy bill that Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joseph Biden promoted is terribly damaging to her.

Then there's Hillary's support for outsourcing, backing of the flag-burning amendment-- in short, far too much for me to take.

What I find so infuriating about the Hillary hoopla, is that we really have the best chance in many, many years to finally put a Progressive into the Oval Office, the way the electorate is incensed at the Republicans right now. But instead, the Democrats talk up a hand-picked, DLC candidate gushed over by the corporate elites (Rupert Murdoch is a fan) and also by the pro-war types who are profiting from the Iraq War.

If the Dems are stupid enough to pick Hillary for the 2008 nomination, I'd rather that somebody like Giuliani win in 2008, so that we'd have a chance to elect a real progressive (in the midst of even more fatigue at the Republicans) in 2012.

So go ahead, just go on cheerleading for Hillary in 2008. Meanwhile, the rank and file of the progressive, war-abhorring Democratic Party will be looking elsewhere, and in December of 2008, we'll once again be treated to yet another episode of hand-wringing and frustration at the hapless, incompetent Democratic Party that can't do anything right.

Posted by: Hannah on January 20, 2007 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum has absolutely no political skills. None. At all. I'd trust Jerome's prognostications over at MyDD before I'd trust Drum's, and that's really saying something. Kevin Drum mistakes support for Hillaries husband and the support of some minor black leaders as support from the black community. Nobody who has had actual exposure to the black community would make that mistake. Reading this post, it was actually hard to believe that Drum was talking about someone who lost a full !/3rd of her primary supporters last year. 1/3rd. If she keeps that up, she'll be heading into NH with the support of just 15% of Democrats nationwide. Even in a crowded field, there is no way to win with that percentage. She has 100% name Id, is there anyone who really truly sees room for her to build that support?

Add to this the fact that she's taken redeployment off the table, and have no mistake that 2008 will be about the Iraq war, the Iraq war and more or less only the Iraq war. Edwards, Obama, Dodd, hell, everyone will make sure that everyone knows that a vote for hillary is a vote for the Iraq war. No matter how much Drum loves his little war, even he has to realize that her position is going to kill her candidacy. Even if she somehow (cough*Vote Rigging*cough) wins the nomination, this position will neutralize the primary advantage we have over ANY Republican nominee, our status as the anti-Iraq war party. Her video game stances will kill our advantages among young people, and if she makes it a primary aspect of her campaign (and knowing her triangulating ways, she will) then we lose that advantage permanently. Add to that the effect she'll have on down ballot races in the west and south, and it becomes clear that nominating Hillary will help Republicans. It will help them hold off Democratic advances in the senate and house. It will help them win the general election by removing our biggest weapon. And it will help Republicans make up their losses amongst young people (Even if they don't vote yet, they will later, and they will remember who oppressed them) because a Hillary campaign is likely to be a campaign against pop-culture. This isn't worth a chance at having a female president. If you think it is, you need to get your priorities in order.

Posted by: Soullite on January 20, 2007 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

Well, since this is all sheer speculation and conjecture. Let's take another angle. How about TV drama series as the basis for predicting who will win the nomination and Presidency.

Based on the series 24...it will be Obama

Based on Commander in Chief, it will not be Hillary..the show was cancellled

Based on West Wing...it will be Bill Richardson

How about we compromise with a Obama/Richardson ticket and pray no one assasinates either??

Posted by: glissade on January 20, 2007 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

I do agree with Ernst that worrying about the MSM is moronic. They had a lot more clout in the 90's, and nothing stuck to the Clintons in any serious way. People do LIKE Hillary, no matter how much the folks in Washington hate her. Her Negatives peaked a long time ago. The war and the Bush presidency have seriously damaged the publics confidence in the media. If they couldn't kill her popularity then, they can't do it now. Besides, they'd attack anyone else the same way, with the same words, and with the same ferocity. These people don't have decency, in fact they are barely people. They don't matter.

Posted by: Soullite on January 20, 2007 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

"She has nowhere to go but up. Seriously. Every nasty thing that can possibly be said about her has already been said."

I'm not a big Hillary fan, and I don't wish her ill. But if Kevin thinks "every nasty thing" about Hillary has been said, he is "misunderestimating" the Right-wing.

I can't wait for 2009, so I can read stories in the "Daily Howler" regarding how the MSM aiding the Right (oxymoron?)in spreading stories of the scores of murders Hillary ordered and the female corpses dug up for her to engage in lesbo-necro sex.

Posted by: Allen on January 20, 2007 at 5:34 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see Hillary Rodham Clinton beating Obama in the Black community. But I live in a Black area where the state rep was an early supporter of Obama in his U.S. Senate campaign. We got to know Obama before he was a national figure.

Posted by: Carl Nyberg on January 20, 2007 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK
…who supported the Iraq War as long and as persistently as Clinton …: Max Power at 1:36 PM
That statement exemplifies the smears&lie game of rightists never ends

CNN LATE EDITION WITH WOLF BLITZER
Interview With Hillary Clinton…
Aired August 29, 2004 - 12:00 ET
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR:...
BLITZER: Do you regret your vote in favor of giving the president the authority to go to war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq?
CLINTON: You know, Wolf, I have said I don't regret giving the president authority. I regret deeply the way he used that authority. And I think there is plenty of reason for us to question the decisions that were made from the moment that he received that authority.
BLITZER: But when you voted for that resolution, like almost everyone else, you believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction?
CLINTON: Right, right. Well, indeed I did. And if someone asked me that if we had known then what we know now, there wouldn't have been a vote. You know, no administration would have come to the Congress and asked for a vote that would have authorized any kind of action based on what we now know….

So, in fact, she disavowed this in 2004 yet according to CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, FOX, AP and all others, she still supports her vote and the war.

Walter E. Wallis at 1:05 PM
Cute: well qualified Democrats against an unqualified Sec of State and golf champion. No wonder Republicans are thought of as being clownish.
…like the bizarre story from Ann Kornblut where insinuated that Hillary was faking a cell phone call to avoid reporters… jayackroyd at 1:41 PM
That is typical Clinton Rules in American journalism: say something negative; and, if you don't have anything negative, make shit up.

This should be a great primary. Hillary brings Bill to her campaign. That's a huge plus. He has experience answering RNC smears within 24 hours, which is the way it has to be done. The smear&lie campaign against Obama is incredible now and it will only worsen.
Richardson is going to enter. That gives the Democrats credible female, Latino, and African-American candidates.

Posted by: Mike on January 20, 2007 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

What about the part where millions of progressives and Greens stay home rather than vote for another asshole triangulating Republican Lite DLC tool?

Posted by: Alan in SF on January 20, 2007 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

Her decision to make the announcement on her website on a Saturday, rather than at a traditional press event on a weekday, was interesting, wasn't it?

Yes.

I have no idea whether she'll win. Leftists I know don't like her. If the war turns worse, then her vote for it will weigh her down (especially with all the quotes in favor from her speeches.) Her switch from opposing biofuels subsidies to supporting them was accompanied by a terrible speech ( as senator from NY, she opposed the subsidies because of the cost to NY taxpayers, but as a presidential candidate she has a national perspective.)

I prefer Phil Bredeson, Tom Vilsack, and Bill Richardson, but Hillary is definitely a good candidate.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 20, 2007 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK

someone sez:

She has nowhere to go but up. Seriously.

someone else sez:

People do LIKE Hillary, no matter how much the folks in Washington hate her. Her Negatives peaked a long time ago.

There is no up left. Yes, her negatives peaked long ago, and have gone sideways ever since.

Here is a recent poll:

(Favorable/Unfavorable/No Opinion/Not Familiar)
Clinton: 51%/46%/3%/0%

Everyone is familiar with Clinton, and the number who hasn't decided how they feel about her is negligible. The only way she gains on this is by convincing people who have hated her for years to vote for her.

Contrast this with Obama:

Obama: 46%/21%/12%/21%

Sure, his lags behind Clinton in favorability (by 5%), but fully one third of the people surveyed didn't know enough about him to even have an opinion. He's got room -- and the time -- to get above 60% favorable; Clinton is locked in at 50%. Clinton will never win a general with that.

Posted by: Disputo on January 20, 2007 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Democrats tried "safe" with Kerry in 2004. They had much better luck with Howard Dean's "principled" approach in 2006.

The problem with that argument is that Schumer and Emmanuel had far more influence in the selection of the winning candidates than Dean had, and they selected candidates that the Deaniacs mostly did not like. The one candidate who clearly had the most Deaniac backing was trounced by Liberman in the general election after winning the primary (though he also was not backed by Schumer/Emmanual after losing the primary).

Posted by: calibantwo on January 20, 2007 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Mike:

Good post. And I think they'll be a substantial number of blog-savvy progs like yourself who will rally to Hillary's side as these attacks begin to mount. Nothing the lefty blogosphere likes so much as someone embattled, nothing they ho-hum about more than an MSM darling. As that mantle shifts to Obama, and we watch Obama continue to equivocate and make nice, ringing statements about nothing (bipartisanship, transcending the poisoned discourse, other toothless goo-goo speak) -- the more the big prog guns might dust off their well-used Clinton Denfense Arsenals.

And I totally agree that Bill is her biggest asset -- and disagree with Disputo that Hil won't use him in a high-profile cabinet position. SecState would, of course, be ideal ...

As for the other progressives in the race: Kucinich and Edwards are righteous, but neither have any foreign policy experience. I'm waiting to see how Richardson -- with longtime executive branch experience as a trade representative and diplomat as well as being a governor -- will shake out. I really hope he doesn't fizzle.

As for Obama -- I'm sorry; the guy needs to run on his uber-progressive record. If he doesn't come out early and define himself vis a vis his support for publicly funded abortions and gun control -- he can bet his bottom dollar the GOP will do it for him. I'm starting to smell John Kerry all over this guy and it doesn't make me very inclined to support him, needless to say ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 20, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

YAWN

I`m glad she is the "front runner" at the moment given that no "front runner" this early has ever won the election. Same with Obama. Maybe this will be the cycle that changes. Maybe not.

YAWN

Come back & wake me up in February 2008 & I`ll start paying real attention.

Clowns to the right of me, clowns to the left of me & here I am stuck in the middle w/a bodacious gaggle of foolish puppet sheep.

YAWN...

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." - H. L. Mencken

Posted by: daCascadian on January 20, 2007 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

YAWN

After the worst Presidency in my lifetime (and arguably in US history) it is quite natural (and healthy, imo) for people to take extraordinary interest in the process that replaces him.

Posted by: Disputo on January 20, 2007 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

I have always hoped we could just re-elect Al Gore.

I think Gore is the strongest Dem candidate, if he times his entry just right and avoids all hint of campaigning right up until then.

First, the timing for his environmental message is just right, and he is a true leader on the issue.

Second, his opposition to the invasion is now the dominant view of what would have been right at the time.

Third, there is a strong sense that he would have been a better president than Bush, that the outcome in 2000 was unjust (even if technically legal), and that he earned the presidency so he ought to be given another chance. I hope he presents a more Clintonian economic policy than he ran on in 2000.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 20, 2007 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see Hillary Rodham Clinton beating Obama in the Black community.

Neither do I. WJC might be "black", but HRC is as WASP as they come. And with Oprah backing Obama, whatever Jackson and Sharpton say is so much background noise.

Posted by: Disputo on January 20, 2007 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

A little one-sideded Kevin, Brownback and Buchanon are also announcing this weekend. That's probably the best ticket combination announced yet. This will be fodder for some good anagrams: Bob Can Whack Unborn, Nab Brown Nacho Buck . . . still working on it . . . oh crap, the Buchanon is some congressmen just filing to run for reelection.

Posted by: Al's parrot on January 20, 2007 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo:

Edwards has a lot of street cred on poverty and urban issues, which is why Jackson and Sharpton are close to endorsing him over Obama. Obama's actually more beloved by white yuppies than any other single constitutency. Oprah? C'mon -- the girl tried to boost *Jonathan Franzen* -- speaking of, you know, white self-aborbed yuppie nerds. Oprah is "America's woman of color" -- not necessarily a good barometer of racial politics.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 20, 2007 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

calibantwo:

Al Gore isn't playing Coy Games, waiting for the right moment. He's happy as an environmental advocate and investment consultant. Take it to the bank -- he is not going to run.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 20, 2007 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

"As for the other progressives in the race: Kucinich and Edwards are righteous, but neither have any foreign policy experience. "

Bob, the problem with calling attention to Hillary's "foreign policy experience" (in comparison to the apparent lack thereof on the part of Edwards) is that it's not in any way the sort of foreign policy experience that inspires confidence or respect.

It's an experience of total, abject failure. She didn't just support the IWR in 2002, she continued to cheer the war year after year following the IWR, even in the subsequent years when it was obvious to anyone how disastrous it was. She was pushing intensely for a confrontation against Iran and Syria before even Bush himself was.

IOW, Hillary is a lot like for example, Anthony Eden in the UK during the Suez Crisis, or LBJ and Nixon during Vietnam-- very experienced in foreign policy, in the most disastrous way possible. Hillary is one of the prime architects on the Democratic side of this debacle in Iraq when she could have been one of the people working to halt the march of folly and gained political streed cred in the process.

And, Hillary is also one of the prime Democratic architects of what could be a new war against Iran and Syria, for which Hillary expressed support long ago.

In relative terms, then, the "lack" of foreign policy experience for Edwards and, e.g., Bill Richardson is not a problem and may actually work in their favor. (And I'm not even sure it's an accurate designation-- John Edwards has formulated coherent and remarkably sensible policy stands on Iraq and Iran since 2004.) What foreign policy experience did Bill Clinton have as governor of Arkansas? Practically none, yet he turned out to be a President with a decent foreign policy sense. (Kosovo may have been a mistake, but on most matters he was quite astute and with a surprisingly good intuition about foreign relations.)

In fact, it's in large part Hillary's foreign policy "experience" that's pushing so many of us once-loyal Democrats to stay home or vote Third Party in 2008 if she's nominated. Much better to have someone less experienced (but capable of learning) like Edwards, Richardson or Obama.

Posted by: Hannah on January 20, 2007 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

For most progressives the biggest problem with Hillary is that she is being shoved down our throats by her highly paid bunch of beltway shills.

There isn't an authentic bone in her body.

Seriously, just what has she ever done? She was a minority senator for 6 years. Now she has been a majority senator for about a month. Big whoop.

Other than sleeping in the white house for 8 years and f**king up national health care for a generation what has she ever done?

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 20, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Hannah:

Well, it's remarkable how much two progressives can disagree over, but disagree we evidently do. You're also factually incorrect on a few things, but I'll try to separate them from the mere differences of opinion.

Where do I begin ... the list is rather lengthy.

First, Bill Richardson has genuine foreign policy experience -- he was our trade representive and UN ambassador under Clinton; I'm not at all averse to supporting him. Whatever position Edwards may have formulated (and I'm not contesting your characterization), it's not the same as hands-on experience with foreign leaders and diplomats.

Second, Kosovo was an air campaign that led to a great many civilian deaths, but it's not generally viewed as a "mistake." It got a war criminal -- Slobodan Milosovec -- in the dock as The Hague, to face charges of genocide.

Third, '92 was an entirely different era. Foreign policy wasn't nearly as essential; the cold war was over and we were facing no immediate foreign threat. Today, of course, we'll be changing commanders-in-chief in the midst of a war. Foreign policy experience is obviously more critical in the coming election.

Mainly, you are grossly mischaracterizing Hillary's record, statements and intent. Let me preface by saying I'm not at this moment a Hillary-backer; I was a Dean man in '04. But I know the difference between caution and recklessness, between supporting the president based on a case she trusted him on and cheerleading for war. And I also realize that Hillary is way too close to Israel for my personal liking; I think it's essential that the Palestinians get a settlement.

Let's take the most egregious charge first: Hillary is *not* cheerleading for war against Iran and/or Syria, that idea is positively libelllous. She has argued for *confronting* Iran and Syria, but diplomatically. Maybe I wouldn't personally be so agressive, maybe I'd personally read all this animus against these regimes as being projected at the behest of Israel -- but pining for *war* against them is a fever-dream; only a handful of diehard warhawks in the adminstration are pushing for it. It would be insane.

Secondly, Hillary Clinton is not Joe Lieberman. She voted for the AUMF and believes to this day that we shouldn't taken out Saddam Hussein. I don't personally agree with her, but she has stated repeatedly in interviews that she believed Bush's WMD case. She also said in an interview quoted upthread by Mike that had she known now what we know about WMDs, there never would have been a vote on the war at all. To construe out of this that Hillary's has been "cheerleading" for the war is stretching it, to say the least ...

Personally, I trust Clinton's judgment and temperament, and think she would make a great impression on the world and help serve to patch up the relationships that Bush has so horribly strained. While I do believe that she tends to behave cautiously, I don't see that as necessarily a bad thing for a chief executive.

I think we've had a bit of a surfeit of "bold leadership" in the Oval Office lately ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 20, 2007 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

She will come off far better when people see the real Hillary and not the dittohead fantasy.

Actually, I believe that seeing the "real" Hillary is what would make her unelectable. I suspect that her trainers will do everything possible to hide the "real" Hillary.

I'm also not sure about what the "real" relationship is currently between Hillary and Bill and whether that relationship, whatever it be, won't be a major media distraction during a general election campaign.

Posted by: pencarrow on January 20, 2007 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

pencarrow:

Hillary doesn't have "trainers."

What (not "who," because the image you're attempting to project is thoroughly dehumanized) exactly do you believe the "real Hillary" is?

Sheesh -- I thought rank insinuation like this was a wingnut specialty of the house?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 20, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

It's the Senator thing. I believe there is a pretty good reason why so few Senators have made it to president. There just seems to be an "equivocation gene" required for that body. Maybe it is the "to get along, you go along". This is not the stuff from which leaders are made.

Barack Obama can give a wonderful speech but is maddeningly convoluted in his policy choices. HRC comes off the same way at times. Both of them seem to fall into "corporate politician" mold.

I will vote the big D in the general election, but sure as hell hope that maybe the CW is wrong here. I'd like to see something more like a Schweitzer or a Spitzer in the mix. I like a lot of what Edwards is saying as well, and maybe by now he's had the "Senate gene" removed!

Posted by: RickG on January 20, 2007 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

RickG:

I tend to agree with those sentiments. That's why I'm waiting anxiously to see what Richardson's going to do ... Better an ex-governor with executive branch experience than a single-term senator with no political experience for four years, is how I look at Richardson vs Edwards.

Richardson needs to knock it out of the park during his announcement ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 20, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Bob,

Your defense of the Grand Triangulator HRC would be a little more believable if you weren't simultaneously dissing Obama for not presenting himself as progressive as he is.

Posted by: Disputo on January 20, 2007 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Hannah: If the Dems are stupid enough to pick Hillary for the 2008 nomination, I'd rather that somebody like Giuliani win in 2008....

That's crazy. We have nominations for the SCOTUS in play with the next president. A progressive who would rather see a Repub as prez ain't no progressive in my book. Bah! We would have had President Gore if it weren't for stupid kumbaya progressives who couldn't foresee the train wreck over the horizon.

Vote your conscience in the primary, but by God, vote Dem in the general election or a pox on your house for voting for a third-party progressive (if one runs), splitting the liberal vote, and enabling a Repub to win.

Sure, I'd like to have a viable third party in this country or a "real" progressive but 2008 isn't the year. That's a pipe dream anytime soon without a major overhaul of campaign financing. I'm a dirty-hippie type but I am not a fool to the reality of the consequences. I would have voted for Howard Dean if he hadn't withdrawn by the time my primary came around. So I got behind Kerry. It's what adults do... deal with what life gives you.

I expect Hillary to pick Obama or Richardson as her running mate. My guess is Richardson because of his energy creds. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if there isn't already some behind the scenes talk. But all is speculation at this stage, Hillary hasn't won the nomination although I don't think Vilsak, Dodd, or Edwards can beat her. Richardson may have a chance. I like him enough to consider him in the primary. But there's no need to get so strung out at this time. Who knows who will be on the ballot in '08, for chrissakes.

I also think people are underestimating Hill. With a Dem Congress, I don't think she will behave so Repub Lite. And as Bob said, and rightly so, she's no Lieberman, And with Hill, you get Bill. By God, she's looking better to me all the time.

Anyone who thinks today's America will elect a left of center progressive is smoking some serious shit. We're a decade or two away from that reality, dammit. So deal with the present reality in the meantime.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 20, 2007 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

And with Hill, you get Bill.

Why does everyone assume this? She's kept hubbie in the basement since she decided to run for the Senate. What makes you think that all of a sudden she'll kick him up to the front office? Unless she wants to foster the notion that she can't govern without her man there to make the decisions for her, she won't.

Posted by: Disputo on January 20, 2007 at 7:30 PM | PERMALINK

Senator Clinton botched the two most important issues she has ever face. She muffed healtcare reform and then made the wrong decision on supporting the Iraq war. I have no confidence that Senator Clinton would do the right thing as president. (Kevin is partially right, Clinton made a big effort to go to every county upstate and was fairly well received in 2000. I don't think that means much in a presidential race though.)

Posted by: Buffalo on January 20, 2007 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo;

Well, I don't honestly think you're questioning my "believability" here, because that would be questioning my sincerity -- and I don't think you mean to make an ad-hominem argument :)

If it's puzzling to you, consider it a matter of dialectics.

Progressives are overly bashing Hillary and overly drooling over Obama.

I'm merely attempting to serve as a brake on both tendencies. I probably won't wind up supporting Obama in the primary, but stranger things have happened. And I certainly hope I don't *have* to support Hillary -- but it's important to submit to the Reality Principle and elect a damn Democrat. Any Democrat -- even my dead cat.

No more Naders and all that there ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 20, 2007 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: Al Gore isn't playing Coy Games, waiting for the right moment. He's happy as an environmental advocate and investment consultant. Take it to the bank -- he is not going to run.

The more people there are who believe that, the better his chance of winning. Nixon wasn't a candidate either in 1967, he was happy working in a law firm, where, among other things, he represented a client before the Supreme Court.

I'd bet he won't run, as you say. but he is the one credible candidate who doesn't have to decide before 2008.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 20, 2007 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

calibantwo:

Fair points.

And truthfully, he's the only potential candidate who I'd support in less than a heartbeat.

He'd be assured of winning, too. Everybody who voted for him the last time would vote for him again.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 20, 2007 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo: What makes you think that all of a sudden she'll kick him up to the front office?

I don't think that. But I do think he's an asset in helping her campaign strategy, in offering advice as she asks for it, but behind the scenes.

I also remember when Bill first announced in 1992, the buzz about Hillary... that she was super smart and maybe it should be Hill instead of Bill who was running in '92.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 20, 2007 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: Bill Clinton as Secretary of State.

Wouldn't it be illegal for HRC to appoint him?

Posted by: calibantwo on January 20, 2007 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo:

Nobody every accused the Clintons' relationship of being particularly simple ...

Did you ever see the Coretta Scott King funeral on CSPAN? Bill and Hil were there, along with Bush and a number of other politicos, and most of the remaining lions of the civil rights movment, naturally. A black church in the Deep South, Bill was in his element and gave a positively terrific speech -- had the whole congregation eating out of his hand. He called Bush's church "the frozen chosen" :) And it was all a setup for Hillary, who followed him. Talking about Coretta, he said that after Dr. King was murdered, nobody had a better excuse than her to return to a normal life and put politics and the struggle aside. But she didn't ... she thought long and hard how best to carry out his legacy. And that was, of course, the baton which he masterfully handed off to his wife, so she could speak of ... carrying on the legacy.

Hil blew it of course. With the wooden arm gestures of a highschool valedictorian and that horrible nasal Midwestern accent of hers, her speech was pure snore material, not a single memorable line.

But if Hil had really intended to keep hubby in the basement, she surely wouldn't have him upstaging her at events like that (including her campaign events, where he regularly appeared with her) all the time, now would she ...

I still think Hil'd make him SecState in a heartbeat.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 20, 2007 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

calibantwo:

You mean unconstitutional? I don't think so. I think the amendment they passed after Roosevelt only applies to the presidency, not a cabinet office (if I'm not mistaken).

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 20, 2007 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK

Bob and calibantwo ~

Don't forget that Bobby was JFK's Attorney General. Nepotism isn't unconstitutional. The problem - if there is one - is that as SoS, Bill would be third in line of the presidency should some horrible event occur to the Pres, VP and Speaker. Constitutionally, he could only serve two years, as the constitution limits the presidency to 10 years. IIRC. But, the liklihood of that is pretty minimal.

Posted by: jcricket on January 20, 2007 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

I recall back in 91-92, when Bill was coming on, the joke in feminist circles was that he was ascending on his wife's coattails.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 20, 2007 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to see Governor Brian Schweitzer from Montana on the Ticket. Not that that would ever happen. Ah hell, I figure whoever is on the ticket for the Dem's is far better than what is currently in the office.

Posted by: n0rd1x on January 20, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

Judging from the way she (for a long time) supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq, she has the sense of a goose.

The DLC slut.

I think some of us are getting a little carried away with the criticism of Hillary and the Iraq War. I was not in favor of that famous “war resolution”, but I certainly have better sense than to buy into the Republican fiction that a vote of authorization of force (if necessary) was a vote for war. It was not a vote for war.

Also, no President has ever come close to losing such a Resolution vote. For perspective, see read the speech Kerry gave on the same day he voted for it. It was not a vote for war. And the President of the United States agreed seek UN resolutions. And don’t bother screaming at me, I know that he is a liar.

The fact is, a President Hillary would absolutely not have invaded Iraq any more that a President Kerry.

I’m angry with every politician who did not speak out loud and long against the war, including Hillary Clinton. But I’m not going to overstate what she did and did not do.

As for the DLC, I suppose that most of the readers here are aware that Bill Clinton was one of the founding members. But he was never “ideological” about it. Some of the DLC members are, but not the Clintons.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 20, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

I just surfed around some foreign language TeeVee and those channels have very excited and pneumatic female newscasters talking about ¡Hillary!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 20, 2007 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: Al Gore isn't playing Coy Games, waiting for the right moment. He's happy as an environmental advocate and investment consultant. Take it to the bank -- he is not going to run.

I'm not as convinced of this as you are. There is a growing awareness (finally) amongst the general public of the looming problem of climate change. That awareness is going to continue to grow. As POTUS, Gore would be able to have much greater influence in leading this country, and the world, out of the path of this impending catastrophe. None of these other candidates have a clue, and quite frankly, if something isn't done in the next 10 years, this planet is screwed.

Oh, and as a Decline to State in California, I'll be re-registering as a Democrat to vote against Clinton in the primary.

Posted by: josef on January 20, 2007 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

I certainly have better sense than to buy into the Republican fiction that a vote of authorization of force (if necessary) was a vote for war. It was not a vote for war.

It required one more effort at diplomacy, and that a report on that effort be submitted to Congress. And it permitted the president to wage the war at his discretion, on those two conditions.

In 2003, Congress passed a resolution in support of the invasion, and specifically commended the president's diplomacy. That one had 90% support in the House and Senate.

Don't read the speeches alone. Read the texts of the resolutions. It's the text that is legally binding, not the speeches. That's why they hold the votes.

Back to the 2002 resolution. If not a resolution for war, do you really believe that it was a resolution for yet another bluff? The military build-up for war, and an increase in the intesity of the gorund-air war entailed by the enforcement of no-fly zones, were well underway.

Don't forget that Bobby was JFK's Attorney General.

The law against nepotistic appointments to cabinet positions was passed subsequently. Otherwise, HRC's role in the health care debacle could have been more formal; as it was she was an unpaid consultant of some sort. She could have been HHS secretary or something like that, absent the legal prohibition.

Posted by: calibantwo on January 20, 2007 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Old scandals are almost never deemed worthy of revival in a presidential campaign. You have to dig up fresh dirt to get their attention.

I wonder if Kevin recalls Ted Kennedy's run for president in 1980. First big interview, Roger Mudd makes quite a big deal about Chappaquiddick , which happened in 1969.

Posted by: Jay Rosen on January 20, 2007 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

calibantwo: In 2003, Congress passed a resolution in support of the invasion, and specifically commended the president's diplomacy. That one had 90% support in the House and Senate.

I'd like to read the text of that resolution and see for who voted for it. Got a link? Or the exact name of the resolution so I can google it?

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 20, 2007 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Already sick of her and Obama. We gotta listen to two years of these tiresome, tiresome people, along with other candidates who will get exactly one vote each -- Dodd, Biden. At least our crazy idiot President invaded Iraq for some other reason than raw domestic political calculation. That's all I can see behind Hillary's vote. Edwards is the only one I can remotely stomach.

Posted by: Pat on January 20, 2007 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK
…they'll be a substantial number of blog-savvy progs ...who will rally...as these attacks begin to mount… rmck1 at 5:59 PM
Thanks for the kind words. I undertake to bring to the media's attention any misstatement of fact about anyone, not just the Clinton's, and have been doing that for some time. I wouldn't endorse anyone at this early stage. It's best for the candidates mingle, debate and prove their mettle under campaign conditions. For me, how they respond to the inevitable smears from the right will be crucial. Kerry let that go on for weeks and it made him look weak. Hillary has taken on the right wing smear machine already. She is probably tougher stuff that Bill. Raising children, being the center of controversy, and being under constant attack tends to make or break. There's nothing broken about her.
…She muffed healtcare reform and then made the wrong decision on supporting the Iraq war. …Buffalo at 7:31 PM
The war issue will not be essential in as much as she is well positioned on plans for withdrawal now. The health care program was, in the final analysis, too complicated. It was defeated by an industry smear&lie campaign that they were unable to counter because there were no pro-groups able to fund ads. Today, the pressure for national healthcare has been growing and simpler systems are in the offing. Ezra Klein is a go-to guy for discussions on this issue.
big deal about Chappaquiddick Jay Rosen at 10:27 PM
True and he also stumbled on the question, why him? Clinton has had personal questions posted to her during her senate campaign and on numerous tv interviews. She's highly experienced at handling them. Posted by: Mike on January 20, 2007 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I simply can't believe you've so blatantly choked on the Hillary Kool-Aid like this. It should be blindingly obvious by now that for those of us who've invested years in the Democratic Party-- those of us who've dedicated so many years of blood, sweat, toil and tears to get progressive candidates nominated and elected-- Hillary Clinton is the candidate that we can least tolerate on the Democratic ballot for 2008. Only Joseph Lieberman, or perhaps Bayh or Biden would be worse. I've always taken you to be a sensible, feet-on-the-ground kind of liberal blogger, but if you so openly embrace such an unacceptable candidate to represent us for 2008, how can we trust your judgment on other issues?

We might not have felt so strongly anti-Hillary in our household, except that Hillary's Iraq war advocacy and her pro-corporatist economic policies have hit home and in all the wrong ways. A very close family friend of ours was grievously, horridly wounded in Iraq, the war that Hillary was so instrumental in making happen. He was badly burned and suffered brain damage, and along with the horrors of PTSD from what he saw there (which is an unimaginably vicious, awful disease), it will take him years to even mildly recover from the trauma of this stupid, horrible war that Hillary has been consistently supporting for the better part of her period in the Senate.

All of us in our household joined and have campaigned for the Democrats because they're supposed to be the party of the people, the ones who actually care somewhat for the working class, the underpaid, the people who lack power and otherwise don't have a voice. But Hillary is all about snuggling up to those with the power and the deep pockets.

To support a Republican in 2008, one would basically have to embrace a warmonger with the corporatist stamp of approval. If the Democrats were to nominate Hillary in 2008, then, we'd have a choice between a warmonger with the corporatist stamp of approval-- and another warmonger with the corporatist stamp of approval. If we wanted to support politicians who have basically pledged fealty to the most greedy corporations and the merchants of deadly weapons, we'd have been voting Republican decades ago. The Democrats are supposed to represent something different.

There's only one good potential thing to come out of a Hillary Rodham Clinton candidacy: If she were to be nominated by the Democrats, she would anger so much of the party base that, for the first time in over a century, the electoral system in the USA might finally witness the rise of a viable 3rd Party.

The two-party system is antiquated and broken, and it grossly defies the will of the people.

It's just too easy to use machine politics, backroom deals, winner-take-all stupidity and other anti-democratic schemes to ensure that the people are not given a real choice, that they're allowed to choose only between one or another horse of basically the same color.

If Hillary were to be nominated in 2008, our entire household-- the whole neighborhood, in fact-- will be not only voting for a 3rd Party, we'll also be pledging our funds and our campaigning efforts to it. If not in 2008, then soon enough in another election year, we'll finally have a progressive 3rd Party to challenge both the Democrats and Republicans, shills as they are for the multinational corporations and the war profiteers.

The Democratic Party chiefs had better take notice. We are not going to tolerate a corporate-media, war profiteer-selected candidate on the Democratic ticket, and despite our almost unyielding support for the Democrats in years past, if Hillary were on the ticket, we'll make sure that the American people have a strong third alternative when 2008 rolls along.

Posted by: True Blue on January 21, 2007 at 12:20 AM | PERMALINK

Sadly, I fear John Edwards has become the invisible man of presidential politics.

Posted by: Vincent on January 21, 2007 at 12:26 AM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Mike on January 20, 2007 at 11:43 PM

Good points, Mike.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 21, 2007 at 12:32 AM | PERMALINK

I yea vote for the AUMF was a vote for war and everyone knew that at the time. Did anyone actually think if they gave Bush a green light and wouldn't drive drunk all the way through it? As I recall the political debate was 'let's get this out of the way so we can talk about domestic issues.'

Posted by: Yes = War on January 21, 2007 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

'As for the DLC, I suppose that most of the readers here are aware that Bill Clinton was one of the founding members. But he was never “ideological” about it. Some of the DLC members are, but not the Clintons.'

Bill maybe, but this certainly doesn't apply to Hillary-- she's on board with the DLC plank from soup to nuts. Workers in the USA today are literally being killed by the negligence, working hour demands, diminishing salary, corruption and malfeasance of the big corporations. In the power balance between the boardroom and the workers on the ground, the position of favorability has swung ridiculously toward the corporations and away from workers, who have pathetically little power to improve their miserable lot and lose still more power every day. Hillary is a major shill to the big-money corporations, including the war profiteers, and she and her true-believer DLC friends go against everything that the Democratic Party has represented. She is a terrible national candidate.

It's not just the Iraq war that's made us so bitterly opposed to Hillary, little ole jim-- it's the whole disastrous DLC-wrapped package that Hillary brings along with it.

Again, the Democratic higher-ups have been warned: nominate Hillary, and expect a serious 3rd Party challenge for the first time in over a hundred years.

Posted by: True Blue on January 21, 2007 at 12:48 AM | PERMALINK

"But my gut feeling ever since — well, ever since forever, is that there is no chance in hell that she [Hillary Clinton] would ever get either nominated or elected. Regardless of what anyone thinks of her personally, she's a wildly divisive figure and has absolutely no chance of ever becoming president short of Jesus himself descending from heaven and telling people to vote for her. And even that might not do it."
--Kevin Drum, "Hillary Mania", September 20, 2003

Posted by: Chris on January 21, 2007 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

True Blue:

Thank you, Ralph Nader.

*rolling eyes*

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

Obama was the only person smart enough, or not on the take, to know going into Iraq was for oil and Bush had long said he wouldn't stand for Saddam having all that oil.

This was obvious to me... and him. He's got my vote.

At least John Edwards has had the gumption to say he made a mistake.

Hillary?

I think she will lose. I think she is a big, big mistake if she becomes the Dem candidate. Leave it to Dems to blow it....

J

Posted by: Clem on January 21, 2007 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK

Much too early for sizing up the situation, but two even-handed articles in the Sunday Chicago Tribune on Hillary, one by Jill Zuckman and another by Michael Tackett. Overall, very positive. Also, in the Zuckman piece...

A new ABC-Washington Post poll showed Clinton leading Obama 41 percent to 17 percent among Democratic-leaning voters. Edwards received 11 percent support, while former Vice President Al Gore got 10 percent and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry received 8 percent. Neither Gore nor Kerry, the 2004 nominee, has said he is running for president in 2008.
Looking forward to hearing what Bill Richardson has to say today.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 21, 2007 at 5:08 AM | PERMALINK

Clem:

If it were '04, I definitely wouldn't support Hillary in the primary over her war vote, just as I didn't support John Kerry for his. But I held my nose for and voted for JFK in the general, and I suspect you did as well.

In '08 it's less relevant, because Hillary has since staked out a position as being a strong critic on the occupation, and sponsored a retroactive troop cap, which is the only strategy open to Democrats with the potential of passing to gain some legislative control over the war. Hillary is a pragmatist, which isn't such a bad quality to have in a chief executive. I dunno about you, but I'm kind of browned off on "bold leadership" atm ...

All this said, I'm waiting to hear what Richardson has to say as well -- and if I like it, I'll do my damndest to make sure it doesn't get drowned out in the Hillary / Obama media circus. I need a progressive with foreign policy experience (executive experience doesn't hurt, either) to support this cycle.

But if you want to go make the electability argument (I flippin hate the electability argument), I will turn it right back around and say that if the Dems are foolish enough to nominate Obama, the GOP will run him through a paper shredder before he can finish saying the word "bipartisanship."

Obama has a solid record as a Illinois state legislator representing an urban district. It is unabashedly liberal, which is completely understandable. But it is unabashedly liberal on signature wingnut social issues. Obama voted for public funding for abortions. He supported a bill to prevent a second doctor to be present to save the life of a fetus if it happens to survive an abortion (which was an essential vote, because the bill would have defined a fetus as a "person" and paved the way for a SCOTUS challenge to Roe v Wade). He voted to prevent the death penalty to be applied to gang members if they kill somebody as part of an initiation. He also strongly supports gun control. Hey -- I would have supported these things, too.

But can you just *imagine* the Willie Hortonizing? Obama is just too green, too lost in a bubble of adulation, to have ever faced the VRWC head on. He just seems like way too much of a decent guy to do what will need to be done, as soon as it needs to be done. Right now, he's running as Mr. Bipartisanship -- as far away from his actual record as he can. They crucified JFK for this. They will similarly crucify Obama if he continues to try to sell himself as a "post-partisan" centrist.

One thing you have to say about Hillary Clinton: She has taken everything the VRWC can throw at her and then some. She's been accused in print and whispering campaigns of every heinous, immoral act imaginable except, I dunno, torturing kittens, mabye. No candidate in the field is more battle-tested, or has grown a more durable Teflon armor. Her negatives can't get worse than they are, so Kevin's right -- she only has up to go.

All that said -- I'm still not a Hillary supporter. She's still a goddamn one-term senator, and her botching healthcare reform in a high-handed and secretive manner (much worse than the actual proposal) is a black mark on arguments for her executive experience. I'd much rather see a governor, and Richardson has a fantastic resume.

Plus, we shouldn't make up our minds for real until we see at least a few debates, so we're still months out on that.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

I don't dislike Hillary, I think she's a pretty good Senator. I still think her campaign is going to collapse like a wet paper bag. Old scandals go away if they're resolved, not if they're left hanging. Who put the billing records on the desk two days after the Statute of Limitations expired? Is George Snofolophogus going to retract what he said about her penchant for stonewalling? Who hired Craig Livingstone? Will Hugh Rodham run the pardon auctioning shop? Lotsa luck Hillary donors, I'd advise you to save your money.

Posted by: ex-minion on January 21, 2007 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

ex-minion:

Why didn't that crap get any traction in two senate campagins?

I'm sorry -- this is precisely why Hillary has a good chance of winning. The American public aren't interested in yesterday's scandal, "resolved" or not. They know that at the end of the day, she was absolved over Whitewater.

The right-wing blogosphere, however, will once again turn this stuff into a cottage industry. And that will be *delightful*, because it will once again ignite the dynamics which caused the American people to reject impeachment and hold WJC's approval ratings high all through it. You guys will all be bloviating your guts out: "But don't you people *see*?? Why can't you people *realize*?? ... " and the more shrill you sound, the more the public recognizes it as pure partisan axe grinding. You've heard of Bush Derangement Syndrom? Positively *nothing* like the Real McCoy, which is Clinton Derangement Syndrome :)

It's called blowback, my ex-miniony friend. Something that you guys on the right have never understood. Couldn't happen to a more worthy political cohort, either :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Bob,

When I look at Hillary, I'm reminded of the 1980 coronation of Teddy as the successor to Jack and Bobby's legacy. Saint Jimminy was about as popular as Dubya is today, and some old news about driving off a bridge was resolved and put away too -- until Teddy announced. Hillary would be a worthy successor to Teddy as the voice of the left in the Senate - I think she secretly realizes it too...pushing her too run for an office she's not suited for doesn't make sense.

Posted by: ex-minion on January 21, 2007 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

BTW, my contest to come up with a new moniker is still open. Winner gets all the glory of helping advance my reputation on this comment thread.

Posted by: ex-minion on January 21, 2007 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

The antipathy in the progressive community for Hillary Clinton is really amazing.

i) One would think the legacy of her husband would count in her favor. No, she's far from a Bill Clinton clone, but surely they must share most of the same political values and policy preferences. Wouldn't y'all like to see Bill Clinton back in the White House? Doesn't Senator Clinton get at least some credit for being part of this very successful Democratic administration?

ii) She's hardly anything but a main stream liberal. Her positions on a wide variety of issues -- gay rights, reproductive rights, civil rights, defendants' rights, healthcare, taxes, child poverty, the environment, energy independence, education, public transportation, urban issues -- place her well within mainstream American liberalism. Indeed, she's something of a trailblazer on certain items (healthcare, for instance). This is a politician with a proud and solid record of progressive achievement.

iii) If anything, the potential for a "liberal" upside (if she's elected) has to be substantial. I mean, I really get the sense that her more centrist image these days is mainly about getting elected. In other words, she's demonstrated boatloads of political savvy (all the more impressive given her admittedly wooden campaign style) and has managed to win millions of redstate-style votes (and why is this a bad thing, by the way). But I think the "real" Hillary will prove to be more progressive than her current persona suggests (I'm thinking all the way back to her days as a Senate staffer during the Watergate era). I actually think the right wing gets it on this account: they fear her as an old style, unreconstructed liberal. My guess is their instincts are sounder than the many liberals who apparently think Hillary's the second coming of John Breaux.

iv) Contrary to the received wisdom about the difficult time she'd supposedly have in a general election, I think Hillary would actually be a brutally effective candidate for the Democrats. She's already proven to be a formidable challenger for conservative votes in her own state. I see no reason she cannot do this nationally (remember, it's not like she needs to capture a majority of conservative votes nationally, just enough to enable her to pick off a few purple states). Plus, she's a woman. Don't you think the history-making quality of a Hillary Clinton nomination adds to her electoral appeal? Ten years ago I'd probably say being female was still a net negative for a presidential candidate. I don't think that's true anymore.

Posted by: Jasper on January 21, 2007 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

The only thing worse than a thread about robot Hillary is a thread about Hillary that mentions Amy Sullivan. Christ! When does the pain end?

Posted by: Pat on January 21, 2007 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

ex-minion:

Well, if I were you I'd name myself Snardbafulator, just cuz it's the name of one of my knottier musical compositions. Changes time signatures every single bar, it does.

But then again, you're hardly me, aren't you :)

Hillary = Teddy in '80? *Really* bad analogy. Hil's hardly challenging his own party's incumbent; many prog Dems wanted Teddy iced for that reason alone. Mainly, though, that was in the days before Kennedy cleaned up his act, and he *did* drink too much, womanize too much and was forgiven by the voters in his state too much at that stage of his career. No contrast with Hil, who is genuinely abstemous, diligent and attentive. Say what you want about her politics or ideology, but her only real character issue (aside from the Madame DeFarge stereotype the right and certain Beltway pundits -- I'm looking at you, MoDon't -- have tried to hang on her unsuccessfully) is why she stuck by that horndog for all those years of marriage. Nothing like driving a secretary she was probably fucking into a river and not calling the police until a day later ...

Jasper:

Really good, intelligently-written post. I agree with some of it, especially regarding Hillary's association with a by-and-large successful Democratic administration and her political skills in wooing conservatives and surviving conservative broadsides. But I'd dissent a bit regarding Hil's core ideology. I think she's far more a cautious, tempremental centrist than the liberal manque stereotype which I believe the right has a vested interested in cultivating, the better to energize their base against her. Bear in mind Hillary is from a well-to-do Chicago family and was a Goldwater Girl as a teen. Sure, she went through that "we need to be penetrated by a more intense level of experience" embarrassing sexo-political stage at Wellesley, and she was a bulldog staffer on Fullbright's Watergate committee. But she married Bill, settled in Arkansas, had a kid and eventually returned to her midwestern Methodist roots.

I'd put her smack in the middle of Democratic ideology (and that's to the left of Breaux) and not liberal ideology. And her signal issue healthcare demonstrates it, I think. Were she a true tiedyed-in-the-wool liberal, she would've concocted a single-payer system (proposals had been floating around congress for years). Instead, she locked herself in a room with industry poobahs and designed a needlessly complex private insurance preservation program. Why? Free-market dogma about preserving competition. Ironically enough, she tried to undercut the GOP by embracing a core element of its market ideology, in the process inventing a mechanism to harness that "natural drive" so convoluted that Bob Dole could just point at a flowchart, crack a knowing smile, and the proposal was DOA.

The called it "big government socialism." In truth, it was big government Lockeanism -- a monstrous birth from a miscegenated conception.

So yes, I take Hillary at her word when she says she's "cursed with the responsibility gene." That's both her greatest strength and her greatest weakness. It constrains her from offering bold, paradigm-shfting solutions and keeps her erring on the side of caution.

In another political era, I'd probably find this outlook and approach too stodgy for my liking. But well-tempered caution might be just what the doctor ordered after 8 years of appalling recklessnes out of the executive branch.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Two words. Ferraro Factor. With Geraldine Ferraro on the ticket Dems were able to carry one state - Minnesota. (and Ferraro wasn't hated and carrying the high negatives the way Hillary is) With Hillary Dems will carry DC. Period. Obama same thing. Why in hell's name would the DC consultants think the country has changed so much in 22 years?

Gore, Edwards, Clark the only electables.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 21, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Instead, she locked herself in a room with industry poobahs and designed a needlessly complex private insurance preservation program. Why? Free-market dogma about preserving competition.

I don't know that it was Hillary Clinton's "dogma". I've always had the impression she calculated (wrongly as it turns out) that this approach was the correct one because it was politically feasible, and single payer was not.

I wasn't quite the policy wonk back then that I am now (for one thing the web wasn't available as a research tool), but, what I want someone to examine (Kevin? Ezra Klein?) is why, if Hillarycare was larded up with provisions inputed by the insurance industry, did they promptly turn around an attack it? I can understand the GOP opposition, but I don't get insurance industry opposition. Wouldn't Hillarycare have handed them more profits?

Posted by: Jasper on January 21, 2007 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

jonny17

Posted by: jonny17 on January 21, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Jasper:

Well, that's precisely why I called it a monstrous birth from a miscegenated conception. It was trying to preserve market forces while setting limits on markets and mandating to classes of insurance companies who they had to cover. A perfect neoliberal solution that only an overeducated wonk could love, it tried to have it both ways and failed the test both ways -- as a way to unleash competition and as a way to efficiently regulate the captive market of health insurance.

Naturally the industry opposed it; industry generally opposes government mandates of any kind. Insurance executives used their leverage to preserve private companies whose competition was supposed to drive efficiency, but within an overall regulated framework. Don't forget that the next logical alternative -- single-payer -- spelled death to their entire industry. They probably thought they extracted the most the could out of HillaryCare (just enough to sabotage the plan), and then vigorously opposed it after it was released to the public.

But like you, I'd love to hear the whole story of HillaryCare from an insider's persective ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Two words. Ferraro Factor. With Geraldine Ferraro on the ticket Dems were able to carry one state - Minnesota.

Bobby Kennedy himself couldn't have beaten Ronald Reagan that year. IIRC, GDP expanded by better than 6% in 1984, and there was no war going on. Under such circumstances, incumbent presidents don't lose elections in American politics. Ever. You can't pin that one on Ferraro. And yes, I actually do think the country has changed substantially in the quarter century since then.

2008 will be a different cup of tea. It would be the Democrats' election to lose even if we weren't stuck in an unpopular war: usually (eg, 1952 1960, 1968, 1976, 1992, 2000) the country wants a change in leadership after one party has held the White House for multiple terms. The only exception in the modern (ie, post-FDR) era is 1988. I doubt very much the conditions of 1988 (peace, prosperity, an extraordinarily popular and affable incumbent leaving office) will obtain in 2008.

Posted by: Jasper on January 21, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

jonny13

Posted by: jonny16 on January 21, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Jasper:

Totally agreed. I was going to simply snark at how reactionary that post was (we haven't changed in a generation on equal rights??), but you responded on the merits, so good for you :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

re: Jasper and Bob. You cannot account for so very disastrous a loss by the fact that Reagan was an incumbent. Maybe you two are posting from some ultra liberal type areas, but in the notorious "heartland" things haven't changed that much.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 21, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

"She has a lot of strength in the black community."
Uh. Barck Obama is running, too, right? Any second thoughts about Hillary's "strength in the black community."

Posted by: Gray on January 21, 2007 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Jasper, you talk about having an advantage because the war is unpopular. Do you honestly think the Republicans aren't going to tar Hillary as the neocon's war promoter #1? How could she possibly position herself as being any more opposed to the war than a Republican opponent after her actions over the past 4 years.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 21, 2007 at 12:38 PM | PERMALINK

You don't get much more "heartland" than where I live. My zip-code is the only one that loosens the buckle on the bible-belt. I cast my 1984 ballot on an Air Force base in Kansas.

I would contend that it is indeed a vastly different world now. My son and his friends - the age of the soldiers who are dying - are backing Hillary in the primaries (I am not) because she is a woman. I'm trying to convince them that Bill Clinton as Secretary of State is more important than electing a woman to the presidency this election cycle.

The metropolitan centers of the "heartland" (called that because the brain isn't here) are changing the political landscape because people from other, more liberal areas are moving into these areas when they take jobs.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 21, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

You cannot account for so very disastrous a loss by the fact that Reagan was an incumbent.

Chrissy: When incumbents win reelection, they've usually done so by very large electoral margins (at least in the post-FDR era. George W. Bush has been the sole exception to this rule, as far as I know; Clinton didn't win an Electoral College landslide, but it was still a very comfortable victory that I think was never really in doubt).

Eisenhower, Johnson and Nixon all won, big, thumping, 45+ state landslides. Reagan wasn't the exception. He was part of the rule. It may be in any event that the Mondale/Ferraro ticket was a weak one, but the credit or blame in the final analysis has to go to the top of the ticket, not the running mate. Still, I can't help but think the Mondale/Ferraro ticket would have had more success in, say, 1976 or 1992.

It's easy to say that candidates who get blown away by incumbent presidents were weak based on the results (people no doubt said the same thing about Stevenson, Goldwater and McGovern). But it would be a mighty strange coincidence if both parties always managed to nominate disastrously weak candidates every time they're facing an incumbent president. I think the much more likely explanation is that it's hard to beat incumbent presidents, it's nearly impossible to do so if there's abundant peace and prosperity, and that the poor chaps unlucky enough to have their moment in the sun under such circumstances inevitably get blamed for being weak candidates (or stupid candidates who make bad mistakes like picking a female running mate). I just don't buy it.

Posted by: Jasper on January 21, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

How could she possibly position herself as being any more opposed to the war than a Republican opponent after her actions over the past 4 years.

It's called "triangulation" and it was practically invented by the Clintons. The Senator is now noisily calling for a cap in troop numbers leading to a "phased withdrawal". If you're "Joe Average Voter" and you're opposed to the war, who are you going to vote for under these circumstances: Hillary Clinton or John UberHawk McCain?

This is not to say that Clinton will win (or easily win) the nomination, by the way. Democratic primary voters may well punish her for her vote to authorize the Iraq War. I'm just arguing that in a general election she'll be a formidable candidate (and I think she'd likely win). As a corollary I'd also argue, of course, that said Democratic primary voters ought to adopt my view -- or at least give her a fair hearing -- if they're serious about taking the White House.

Posted by: Jasper on January 21, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, no doubt things are changing. Thank God! But there are still way too many older white males and white females who will vote against a woman, (especially a woman with baggage like Hillary's) to take a chance.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 21, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

You were right about Kerry. As a former Masshole, I was telling everone I could that he was barely electable there, nevermind nationally. Boring waffle waffle,

Billary is more of the same.

Please explain why Democrats whould want her as president. She stands for nothing except the most recent poll results.

When forced to choose, both Clintons always chose the conservative option.

Posted by: Esq. on January 21, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

Uh. Barck Obama is running, too, right? Any second thoughts about Hillary's "strength in the black community."

It's been widely reported that Senator Obama's support in the African-American political establishment is tepid at best. Perhaps he'll resonate more strongly with ordinary black folks -- we shall see. But the conventional wisdom is that he has his work cut out for him in wresting African American leadership support away from Clinton.

Posted by: Jasper on January 21, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

SHE WILL LOSE. Gore or Obama would mkae much better (and electable) candidates.

Posted by: billmiller456 on January 21, 2007 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Jasper, yeah people will vote for the lesser of two evils on the war, unless the lesser is Hillary. Girl's got too much baggage.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 21, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Jasper:

Agreed, once again, on both counts. Global, too -- but that goes without saying 98% of the time :)

Chrissy, let's say that Geraldine Ferarro was married to the mob. It certainly didn't help the NY AG candidate Jeannine Pirro that her real estate bigwig hubby had many of the same "quasi-legal" problems that Ferarro's real estate bigwig husband had.

A shady spouse might well be a legit political issue -- but what exactly does this have to do with either candidate's sex?

Geraldine Ferraro was bolloxed up in a debate with GHWB on "throw weights" (a nuclear weapons issue), and everybody thought dark Freudian thoughts about women not understanding men's Heavy Equipment. Oooh.

But nobody'd catch Hil with her skirt down on a technical military issue. Even her opponents concede that she is entirely serious when it comes to having the required foreign policy knowledge and experience.

In fact, more than most of her potential Republican opponents.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy:

What "baggage" is that?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Gray:

Jackson and Sharpton are looking to endorse Edwards over Obama (though Sharpton's thinking of running again as well). Obama's support is by far strongest among well-educated white liberals.

Obama has deliberately set himself apart from some of the more vocal civil rights leaders because Obama's whole gig is trying to find a way to transcend interest-group politics and create a "post-partisan discourse" (or something).

I admire the guy for trying ... but just like in '88 when Gephardt had to lay the smackdown on the beloved but lightweight Paul Simon -- somebody's gonna haveta come along at some point and "kill Bambi."

Obama's best chance (and it's a good one) is for a VP slot.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Jasper, yeah people will vote for the lesser of two evils on the war, unless the lesser is Hillary. Girl's got too much baggage.

I think her substantial margins in red areas of New York state in two consecutive elections demolishes the "baggage" meme. Again, she doesn't need to win Mississippi or Idaho -- just Iowa, New Mexico, Colorado, Florida, Ohio, etc (or at least be sufficiently competitive in a bunch of these states to force the GOP to fight a 42-45 state race). Ain't no way Hillary Rodham Clinton won't at least be competitive in these increasingly blue/purple places.

Posted by: Jasper on January 21, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Jasper:

I wanna know if it's "she's married to a man she doesn't love who serially cheats on her because they have a newfangled decadent marriage of convenience to further their political careers -- they had Chelsea only so Bill could be viable in Arkansas" baggage, or ...

"Everybody knows that she ordered the murder of Vincent Foster" baggage :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Here's some baggage for you: In six years Hillary hasn't shown one ounce of political courage. If you want to run as a strong courageous woman, you need to at least once take a courageous stand against the truly abominable Bush/Cheney horror show. Baggage number 2 is all the garbage the right wing threw at her during Bill's presidency and in a lot of people's minds it stuck. I think she wanted to do good things but the right put her on the defensive all during the Clinton years and the bullshit stuck in many people's minds. There was no substance to it, but that doesn't matter.

Hillary will have to constantly defend herself. We need a candidate who doesn't have to spend 90% of their time answering and defending against right wing attacks and can go after the Republicans. (Although the right will throw garbage at whichever Dem it is, Hillary is a virtual magnet). You're gonna hear the "L" word and I'm not referring to liberal.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 21, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

I have no personal animus toward Senator Clinton, but I won't vote for her in the primary election. Neither do I support Senator Obama, even though I'm an African-American with February's Ebony cover issue of him and his wife (I got the same giddy feeling looking at their cover pic as America's Hot Couple as an impressionable 9th grader attending my first Jackson 5 concert!). Although I'm reserving judgment on Gov. Bill Richardson, quite frankly, Sens. Dodd, Biden, and Kerry just don't ring my political bell, not at all. My choice is ex-Senator John Edwards.

Despite the ABC/WashPo poll showing HRC with 41% of the Democratic vote, I don't believe it has much validity or much reliability (Obama with only 17%!?! Come on!).

HRC definitely has the name recognition, she has faced the whirlwind of media scrutiny, and she has been buffeted by a deluge of malicious Right Wing ad hominen attacks. I admire her steadfastness, her durability, her endurance. But I don't care for the fact that she voted for the Iraq AUMF; surely anyone with a modicum of political perspicacity would have suspected that Bush was determined to use the flimsiest excuse to invade Iraq (as he subsequently twisted the language of the authorization itself, not circumstances or facts based on the findings of the weapons inspectors)!!! Flag burning and opposing violent video games are such blatant penny-ante political posturing that it makes me want to puke. HRC's report card: Smart, yes. Hard-working, yes. Determined, yes. Discerning, NO!!!

For years, I've believed that it's been a myth that Blacks *love* WJC, and by default, HRC. Not so fast, my friend. Regardless of Bill Clinton's deliberately calculated knock against Sister Souljah (which was also a twofer, in which he also marginalized fellow candidate Rev. Jesse Jackson), most African-Americans were happy to discover a white politician who seems genuinely concerned about their issues, who sits through the entire church service, who holds, hugs, and kisses little black babies, who smilingly shakes their hands while looking them in the eye, who doesn't vilify them all en masse, who doesn't openly condescend, who doesn't appear to think of them as the "N-word". How refreshingly different from:
Nixon - originator of the Southern strategy;

Reagan - started his 1980 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi with the CCC, the business suit version of the KKK; or

"Poppy" Bush - won by running the Willie Horton ad, perpetuating the image of the Mandingo rapist of white women.

Back to the future. In the African-American community, we've had a few bones tossed our way, but now we recognize that we need some meat on those bones. It's not good enough to come to our churches, sponsor a fish fry, pay off a few of our *leaders*, or put one of us in a token position. And I think most Democratic presidential candidates realize that as well. We are not a monolithic, single-issue, sheep-like following. Just showing up at the Living Hope of the Blessed Lamb Overcoming Deliverance Word of Hope Apostolic True Gospel Baptist Church won't cut it anymore.

The Obamas make a cute couple, but if he doesn't state unequivocally his positions on the burning issues --- Iraq, Katrina, ensuring the authenticity of elections with a paper trail (NO more Florida and Ohio voting debacles!), ending genocide in Darfur, supporting embryonic stem cell research, fully funding the global fight against AIDS/HIV, global warming, energy independence, universal health insurance, improving the job market for African-Americans, raising the minimum wage, improving public education, ending domestic surveillance of American citizens, ending racial profiling, and ending the Israeli subjugation of the Palestinian people. Ditto for HRC.

I strongly support John Edwards, and so far, I haven't read anything that mitigates that. Indeed, everything I've read online since HRC's announcement solidifies my resolve to work on his behalf.

That said, I will support the Democratic nominee for POTUS in 2008, whoever he/she is.

Posted by: GaPeach103 on January 21, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

As I said, I am not backing her in the primary, but here is an act of courage displayed by the Senator the day habeus was taken out back and had two put behind it's ear.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 21, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy:

Oh doubtless. They'll also be photoshopped snaps of Hillary on the net dildoing herself, too. (And I'm being dead-serious.)

So what?

Your first argument is not a "baggage" argument; it's a political argument. You're entitled to make it, as it's perfectly fair game. Hillary isn't my first choice, either -- but my bottom line requires somebody with a serious resume, especially on foreign policy, because we're at war. That leaves out candidates who I otherwise might be inclined to support purely on issues, like Obama, Edwards or Kucinich. It even leaves out Clark, who -- though I deeply admire the man -- just has no elected experience at all. Gore, sad to say, is not going to run, otherwise he'd be my first choice in a heartbeat.

So for me, the only viable alternative is Richardson (forget those those other two bloviators in the Senate). We'll see how he does after he announced. He happens to have a killer resume.

The second argument isn't a "baggage" argument, either. "Bill had an affair with Gennifer Flowers" is a baggage argument. Your argument is a deeply *cynical* argument about the GOP noise machine. They threw crap at her, none of it was true, but it still stuck in peoples' minds. If it were strictly true -- then all Democrats might as well stay home, because the GOP can and will do that to everybody.

The fact that it *hasn't* stuck in people's minds -- amply demonstrated by the big margins Hillary won in deeply red NY counties -- obliterates it. People not from NY think of it as this monolithic "blue state," but that's hardly true. The enormous NY City metro area and other cities tend to be *very* blue, while there are vast stretches of the state, especially upstate, that are as conservative as any other rural area. Hillary won those voters over by significant margins; that says something important about the "baggage" argument.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't Hillary's people bring up something about Obama being schooled in a madrassa?

Posted by: nikkolai on January 21, 2007 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

GaPeach:

Excellent post; well-reasoned, from the heart. i understand your support for Edwards; as I've said it's still a little too early for me to make a committment. As a former Deaniac, Edwards and his supporters alienated me in '04 for a number of reasons I won't go into here, but I suppose at this point I need to let that go ...

I do think, though, a foreign policy brief will be important. Edwards, though, has demonstrated an admirable committment to his signature issue of "the two Americas" and poverty generally. He deserves much props for keeping that issue alive in the campaign.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

No offense Bob, but as a former Deaniac don't you think you're ability to judge electability might be a little skewed?

Posted by: Chrissy on January 21, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy:

Skewed? *guffawing heartily*

Hey don't blame me. *I* didn't nominate John Forbes Herman Munster Kerry :):):)

Democrats voting with "electability" foremost in their minds is precisely how we nominated such a singularly unelectable candidate.

Though Dean was always a long shot -- I cast my vote and gave my support because he was right on the war. Kerry's signal unelectability was apparent from the very first second I tuned into the campaign.

I cast a vote out of committment, though. I have nothing to be ashamed about in that primary season.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

Dean's presidential run served a vital function in reclaiming the majority in both houses.

Without the Dean run in '04, the youth vote would not have been as mobilized as they were in the midterms. Without the Dean candidacy, Howard Dean would probably not be the chairman of the DNC right now, and whoever would be in that spot in his stead would not have implemented the brilliant 50 State Strategy. For the love of all that is holy, the Kansas 02 is represented by a Democrat! There is your illustration of just how effective Dean is at the DNC. I firmly believe that only three people believed Nancy Boyda could pull that one out - Nancy herself, Howard Dean, and me.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 21, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy:

Kerry was unelectable because he spent the entire campaign running away from who he was -- especially his strong and important leadership in the Vietnam antiwar movement. As soon as he morphed into "John Kerry, Reporting for Duty," I knew he was toast.

Hillary, though, doesn't have that kind of problem. Despite all the right-wing bullshit, I don't believe she ever was this hardcore radical liberal. Her healthcare reform attemp failed -- but it was hardly radically anti-business. She's pretty much always been a middle-of-the-road liberal. So it's not like she's going to have to pull a Kerry and run away from her past in the campaign.

And also unlike Kerry, I think she has a much more solid sense of who she is and will simply not stand to have herself defined for weeks before responding. If there's anything she's learned from her husband about politics, it's that.

So in my judgment (take it FWIW), she'd be a much more electable candidate in the general election than Kerry. In the primary, it might be another story, though. We'll see ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

Globe:

Mazel tov, dear one. I once again bow to you and choke back a tear on behalf of that runty little Tourette's / Asperger's victim in the cheap suits.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Bob, I get the impression Hillary might have the same ball and chain around her ankle that dragged Kerry into obscurity. It seems like they listen to their high dollar consultants instead of being genuine. Kerry was told not to hit back hard when he started getting attacked. I think Kerry was a good candidate until he started to be too cautious. Hillary will probably be told don't be to hard or harsh or you're going to be called a bitch. That's a problem women have that men don't.

Btw, Blue State Girl, I have no argument with your assessment of Dean as DNC chair. He's been superb.

Posted by: Chrissy on January 21, 2007 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy:

It was actually Al Gore who spent too much time listening to his consultants in '00. Thing was Gore was -- deep in his heart of hearts, he really didn't want to run. So he was fine with relinquishing control and having people around him coach him on how to come across. It made a basically affable but sometimes dreadfully pedantic guy come across as inauthentic even when he was being totally authentic. Because he was so self-conscious about how he was coming across. That's why he just couldn't shake the stupid memes spun around tiny grains of truth like the Love Story and Internet legends ...

Kerry didn't have that precise problem; he was plenty ambitious and he exerted plenty of control over his image. Kerry's problem was more fundamental -- he really did believe he could airbrush out his opposition to the Vietnam war by touting his service record. Kerry didn't respond to the *inevitable* Swift Boat attacks because he's a fundamentally patrician character. He just wouldn't let himself dignify having his patriotism and service impugned. And that was a fatal mistake -- and one entirely Kerry's fault.

Hillary is made of different stuff. First, there's virtually no kind of attack -- no matter how baseless, no matter how sleazy, that she's not prepared for. Secondly, she has internalized the value of rapid response, through her husband's example if nothing else. Third, Hillary doesn't have to respond in a shrill, aggressive or "unfeminine" way to effectively counter the charge.

Do you remember the famous debate during the first Senate campaign, when Rick Lazio marched over to her podium and tried to get her to sign some pledge (I think it was to not take PAC money) -- and Hillary just gave him this look like he was a stalker?

In a very few gestures, she turned that around and made Rick Lazio -- this baby-faced Italian kid -- look like a sleazebag. It was a stunning moment of political ju-jitsu, and it demonstrated to a lot of people that Hillary knows how to appropriately respond to attacks.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

nikkolai: Didn't Hillary's people bring up something about Obama being schooled in a madrassa?

Hell, fucking, no! Media Matters:

Melanie Morgan, Lee Rodgers, Rush Limbaugh, and John Gibson all forwarded the accusation made by a website controlled by Rev. Sun Myung Moon that Sen. Hillary Clinton was responsible for spreading information linking Sen. Barack Obama to a madrassa, or Muslim school. None of the four cited any evidence, other than the article, that Clinton was responsible for promoting the madrassa story, and the article cited no one by name. More...

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 21, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised to see folks on Hillary's bandwagon I wouldn't expect...maybe she does have a better chance than I thought. Re Obama, he seems to be a mirror image of Colin Powell -- more Ellis Island immigrant narrative than African-American, at least in the black community's eyes. Kinda reminds me of how disappointed Bob Marley used to be when he went on tour in the US and the audience was all white college kids....

Posted by: ex-minion on January 21, 2007 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

I agree that HRC is the most battle-tested and would probably run the most efficient campaign in the general. However, there is no getting around these numbers which I posted above:

(Favorable/Unfavorable/No Opinion/Not Familiar)
Clinton: 51%/46%/3%/0%

HRC's favs have been maxed out at 50% for a long time now. Unless she has found some magical way to convince those who hate her to support her, or has developed a virus that will selectively give Republicans intestinal flu on election day, there is no way she is winning the general election.

Posted by: Disputo on January 21, 2007 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1 on January 21, 2007 at 2:04 PM

Word... every word of your post.

OT: Go Bears! However, if the Saints win, it would be a boost to NOLA and I'd be glad for 'em.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 21, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't Hillary's people bring up something about Obama being schooled in a madrassa?

Let's nick this in the bud, shall we?

A rightwing online "news" source, owned by the Moonies, claimed that unnamed sources from Hillary's team told them -- and only them -- that Hillary's team is making that claim. While it is not ridiculous that Hillary's team is doing oppo research, it is ridiculous that they 1) would be dishing that dirt to wingnut orgs and, 2) leaving their fingerprints all over it. Much more likely that wingnuts are trying to kill two birds with one stone.

Posted by: Disputo on January 21, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

OT: Saints are making a comeback.

I'm in Chicago, but especially after reading the NYT article today about how NOLA has probably permanently lost half its residents, I'm secretly rooting for the Saints.

Posted by: Disputo on January 21, 2007 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy: Hillary will probably be told don't be to hard or harsh or you're going to be called a bitch.

Didn't stop her from coming out swinging against Bush and she most certainly did not come off as a "bitch":

“I’m certain that if my husband and his national security team had been shown a classified report entitled ‘Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States,’ he would have taken it more seriously than history suggests it was taken by our current president and his national security team,” she said during an appearance on Capitol Hill.
The comments by Senator Clinton ratcheted up an already bitter exchange of charges between the Bush and Clinton camps over how the two administrations responded to the threat posed by Al Qaeda before the attacks, which occurred nearly eight months into the Bush presidency.
In her remarks, Senator Clinton also suggested that Bill Clinton’s animated defense of his own national security record as president, delivered only a few days earlier, provided a powerful example for Democrats, whom Republicans have sought to portray in recent national elections as too weak to lead the country in such perilous times.
“I think my husband did a great job in demonstrating that Democrats are not going to take these attacks,” she said.
That was a moment that got my attention and made me re-think Hillary. She's got guts, I'll give her that. But I don't think there is a more politically astute couple than the Clintons. Hillary's decision to run indicates to me that Bill and she think she can win. We'll see. Too soon to speculate one way or the other. Still, I'm agnostic especially at this stage and I favor Richardson.

If she survives the primaries and the inevitable rightwing smear machine, she will have earned it. And that deserves respect.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 21, 2007 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

I hope she wins. The US and the rest of the world desperately need someone with experience in the White House. No one with a learning curve, please!!!

Posted by: Poéthique on January 21, 2007 at 5:46 PM | PERMALINK

HRC's favs have been maxed out at 50% for a long time now. Unless she has found some magical way to convince those who hate her to support her, or has developed a virus that will selectively give Republicans intestinal flu on election day, there is no way she is winning the general election.

She doesn't need "magic" or selective influenza. If she captures the nomination she just needs to run a good campaign and prove herself -- and in doing so nudge that 50% favorability up a few points. That and the general FUBAR state of the world under Bush should be all she needs.

Posted by: Jasper on January 21, 2007 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

. If she captures the nomination she just needs to run a good campaign and prove herself -- and in doing so nudge that 50% favorability up a few points.

Being viewed favorably is a necessary -- but not sufficient -- prereq to getting someone's vote. To get someone to vote for you, they need to view you favorably, but being viewed favorably is no guarantee of their vote.

HRC needs to get her fav numbers up into the 60s in order to have a chance of getting a majority of the votes.

Posted by: Disputo on January 21, 2007 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

(Off Topicf, but we keep touching on football here anyway...)

Wow. Last time I saw a touchdown like that, it was in a middle-school game of herd-ball

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 21, 2007 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

Not keen on her myself, but she's by far and above the smartest player in the field and has put up with Republican shit, and a lot of it, for a VERY long time so knows how to deal with it. She may lose NY to Giuliani though which worries me a bit, no one else I'd be concerned about (McCain included).

Was Clark would be her Sec. of State. Barak possibly VP but I see her going with an outsider of sort. Get Sebelius (Gov. of Kansas) for the double-wammy!

Posted by: Fred F. on January 21, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

OK progressives and liberals everywell, lets get real about electability here because it really does matter in the long run and its the only thing that really matters in the long run.
Hillary (aka Senator Clinton) IS electable in the country at large despite of her perceived negatives because she has shown herself to be a spectacularly good campaigner who can even win over and work with conservatives to actually GET THINGS DONE. She has demonstrated this in her work in the senate and she will demonstrate this in her campaign so just open you minds. ONLY A SOMEWHAT CENTRIST ALBEIT LEFT LEANING canditate can be elected in a general election.
Sen.Barack Obama. He is smart, well educated, articulate, with a magnetic presence. But he is still ALL HAT; NO CATTLE.
Gov. Bill Richardson. Great Resume, Great experience. Seems competent. One big problem. This country is not in any mood to elect a man who is SO PRO ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, not even amoung the rank and file Democrats. Just check out some of the platforms of the newly elected democratic congress people.
Sen. John Edwards. Good populist message for Democratic rank and file and is playing well in some red states. He to may be electable if he moves closer to the center.
All others: Not enough know yet.
So just keep your powder dry at this point. Also, who did or did not originally vote to authorize the President to go to War as a LAST RESORT as did 90% of the Congress, when all of the Congress was lied to will make absolutely no difference to the general public now. It will make a difference as to where each candidate stands now.

Posted by: Merg on January 22, 2007 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

I'm a registered Dem, and have been since I started voting.

I don't like Hillary at all. I don't like that she doesn't take vocal positions on tough issues, I don't like that she carpetbagged her way up to New York when pursuing a Senate seat so she could have a bigger national platform, I don't like that her election would be another few feet down the stairway toward dynastic rule, I don't like her close ties to the DLC, and I don't like that she's in the pocket of a kajillion special interests.

She's out front of exactly one person in my list of preferences for the primary field (Biden), and much as it pains me, there are actually a few Republican candidates that'd pull my vote over her in a general election.

Posted by: Vlad on January 22, 2007 at 7:41 AM | PERMALINK

Merg:

Basically good post, with one major quibble. First, let me underline the most important point you made: '04 is a different political context than '08, and the AUMF vote must be judged accordingly.

In '04, the war was still polling with majority support, and the "stay the course" meme had wide salience. Those who opposed the war either with a vote or outside Washington were truth-tellers, on the side of the angels morally and as a matter of policy. Thus, it was an imperative for progressives to reject all candidates who equivocated on their yes vote or war support; had Hil run in '04 I'd be heaping invective on her for being a trangulating DLCnik with the best of you. It's why I busted my ass for the little doctor from Vermont.

Today, things are different. War support has cratered even among Republicans. Bush has rejected the advice of the wisest minds of his own party. The number of genuine Iraq war *enthusiasts* in Congress can be counted on fingers and toes. So the question you have to ask yourself about Dems who voted for the AUMF (and thank gods neither my congressman nor my two US senators did -- NJ rocks :) is a little more subtle. Are they merely excusemaking about being lied to? Do they -- like Joe Lieberman -- admire McCain for his "gutsy move" in supporting even more troops than the Surge, because they genuinely believe in establishing a long-term military outpost in the heart of the Mideast?

To be perfectly honest, Hillary doesn't get an A here. As a NY senator with a large Jewish constituency (remember the kvetchathon she endured when she kissed Arafat's wife?), she's way too close to Israel not to see taking out Saddam and menacing Iran and Syria in terms our little buddy over there. But put this in perspective: since the '67 war, we've *never* had a president who wasn't too close to Israel, and the presidents who were marginally less close, like Bush I, were way *WAY* too close to the Saudi monarchy. So we can't expect pigs to fly out of the Zeitgeist's butt here. Hillary has been a strong and persistent critic of the occupation, supports benchmarks for troop withdrawals, and as Global reminded us, gave a blistering, Byrd-worthy speech, reminding Bush of the Framers' intent, in favor of habeas corpus.

So all things considered, her '04 vote isn't going to be a major factor in who I eventually support in the primary (that won't happen until after a few debates). Her current policies will, not least among them her steadfastness in opposing the surge in a practical way that shows leadership and affects change. We need much more than righteous symbolism here; we need to effectively rein in the executive branch.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 22, 2007 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

Vlad:

Biden ???

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 22, 2007 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Vlad:

I'm sorry, bro, but anybody who'd vote for a Republican this cycle has absolutely *zero* credibility to bitch about the DLC.

End of story.

And please -- if the Kerry fiasco didn't teach you a lesson about vain, pompous, bloviating career senators who feel compelled to meticulously parse every vote they ever made, then you appear to have a ganglia deficiency.

Hillary is more than a one-term senator. She was an extremely activist First Lady who's racked up genuine foreign policy experience.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 22, 2007 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

'04 vote = '02 vote (AUMF)

Posted by: rmck1 on January 22, 2007 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

Merg:

Apologies in advance for being a bloghog; this will be my last post, I promise, until this thread starts generating discussion. I just want to address my quibble with your post, because it's quite significant.

You are dead wrong about Bill Richardson (or *any* politician, for that matter) supporting "illegal immigration." Please -- get that out of your vocabulary. *Nobody* supports *illegal* immigration, and for you to frame the issue that way shows a mindless acceptance of jingoistic rhetoric that should be beyond the pale, at least for Democrats. Leave immigration demagoguery to the GOP where it belongs.

I don't know Richardson's specific position, but I'd guess that he'd favor Bush's comprehensive approach in the Kennedy/McCain senate bill last year. So do I. So do many Democrats. To not offer the illegals already in this country an honorable (and heavily taxed) path to citizenship is both morally wrong and deeply unrealistic. Walls aren't going to do it; criminalizing illegals is going to be counterproductive to taxpayers (and consumers) and burdensome on first responders who have enough on their plates as cops, firefighters and healthcare workers to become an arm of the DHS. It's bad public health and safety policy.

As a matter of politics, it's a non-starter as well. Hispanics are the largest growing demographic group in this country, and there are simply more Hispanic citizens (naturalized and otherwise) struggling to attain the American Dream through honest hard work than there are panicked people in towns losing their historically white/African American character. Karl Rove, Ken Mehlman and incoming GOP chair Mel Martinez certainly understand this. The backlash is a rearguard action that may pay short term benefits (Pete Wilson in CA), but leads to historic realignments (a solid Hispanic Democratic bloc in CA).

If I were to put on my amoral, Machiavellian, reverse-Rovian chapeau and do a Mephistopheles impersonation, I might whisper this into the shivery midnight ears of Democrats: Even if you have the votes to easily get a comprehensive (Kennedy/McCain) immigration package passed with Bush -- don't do it. Drag your feet for two years. Let it become a festering open sore in the '08 campaign.

Here's what will happen. Tom Tancredo is running for president. He hasn't a prayer in the world of capturing the GOP nomination, but public outcry on immigration (fanned by hate radio) has a good chance of pushing him into a third-party run.

Tancredo runs as a latter-day Perot on immigration and the Dems -- no matter who they nominate -- are guaranteed an electoral landslide :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 22, 2007 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Bob,

I just wrote an elegant epistle in response to your comments above, hit preview, and it disappeared. I blame John Ashcroft. Anyway, here's a concise summary of what you missed.

Hillary and the Jeeewwws - Doesn't your, er, isolationist rhetoric bother you a bit? Sounds kinda close to the Dixiecrats complaining about those too interested in African Americans, instead of real Americans. Suppose you and the little doctor got your way in 2002, and Tel Aviv was a hole in the ground now -- would you still feel that we had done the right thing?

I also had some ideas about making the words "illegal alien" the new verboten phrase in party circles... kinda like "reverse discrimination" or "quotas" used to be. I'll write about that later.

Posted by: toady, the former minion on January 22, 2007 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

rmck1: *Nobody* supports *illegal* immigration

Not officially anyway. But failure to enforce existing laws is de facto support. They sure do make for a cheap, compliant workforce though.

for you to frame the issue that way shows a mindless acceptance of jingoistic rhetoric

How is it jingoistic?

To not offer the illegals already in this country an honorable (and heavily taxed) path to citizenship is both morally wrong and deeply unrealistic.

Why do you want to heavily tax poor people?

And while I agree that it's impractical and unethical not to grant amnesty to illegal aliens who have been here for a number of years, I have no confidence that another amnesty will be accompanied by any serious effort to reduce illegal immigration.

Show me the effective enforcement first, and then we can talk about another amnesty.

Walls aren't going to do it

Probably not.

criminalizing illegals is going to be counterproductive to taxpayers (and consumers)

Which taxpayers? Which consumers?

BTW, there is no need to criminalize the act of simply being in this country illegally. However, fraudelent use of a Social Security is a criminal act, which is where most enforcement efforts are aimed nowadays. The efforts need to be much more extensive though. We also need stronger sanctions against employers.

and burdensome on first responders who have enough on their plates as cops, firefighters and healthcare workers to become an arm of the DHS

Current law doesn't require them to be ICE deputies, nor is there any need to change that.

Posted by: alex on January 22, 2007 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

toady -- hey I like that. Still not as good as Snardbafulator, but what are ya gonna do, eh? :):

This sort of insanely puffed-up rhetoric in response to Israel criticism precisely makes my point. Oh good gracious, I'm *such* an anti-semite, and my Jewish friends who share that mainstream lefty POV are *obviously* self-hating Jews, too. Christ on a crutch.

Did you notice, toadster, that last week the Je- err, New York Times Magazine had a long piece on Abe Foxman of the ADL's "anti-anti-semite problem"? You think *sane* American Jews and Israelis somehow can't tolerate criticism of the US's "special relationship" with a country armed to the teeth with nukes who could waste any hostile country in the region ten times over? The days of '67 are over, my friend. Egypt and Jordan have peace treaties with Israel and the Soviet Union is no longer propping up pan-Arab regimes. My mainstream lefty POV is very simply that Israel is a big boy now and is more than capable of taking care of itself. We don't need to base such an *enormous fraction* of our foreign policy and military resourses making the region safe for -- call it what it fucking well is -- an apartheid government that calls itself a democracy. Ask Israel's own Peace Now movement.

As for the term "illegal alien," it's simply an empirical descriptor; either it's true for an individual or it isn't, and so is politically neutral.

It's the phrase "pro-illegal immigration politicians" that should be banished from the discourse.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 22, 2007 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Bob,

If you had seen my original (lost) post, I jumped through all necessary hoops and tugged my forelock to avoid calling you an anti-semite. FWIW I don't think you're an anti-semite. Lets change the venue to avoid this canard. Do you think the big, bad, imperialistic USA has a moral obligation to help defend Taiwan? Why should we inconvenience ourselves for their survival if we shouldn't do it for Israel? And you didn't answer my hypothetical - if Saddam wiggled out of sanctions and fulfilled his promise to annihilate Israel, how would you and the little doctor feel about that consequense?

Posted by: toady on January 22, 2007 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

much as it pains me, there are actually a few Republican candidates that'd pull my vote over her in a general election.
Posted by: Vlad on January 22, 2007 at 7:41 AM | PERMALINK

Van I think you've been suckered by pro-Republican propaganda pretending to be "principled progressive analysis"

Hillary will lead where the people want to go. And unless you haven't noticed the wind is blowing to the left very strongly right now. When the Dems take firmer control of the House and Senate in 2008, Hillary will follow.

National healthcare in our lifetimes.
Progressive tax reform.
Sane national security
oh yeah.

Posted by: Nemesis on January 22, 2007 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

toady:

Oh come on, toadster, those are ridiculously puffed up straw-man hypotheticals -- essentially questioning if Howard Dean and myself somehow harbor veritably Hitlerian levels of anti-semitism.

We'd probably lose our appetites for lunch the day it happened ... *rolling eyes*.

You know, it'd be like alex asking me what I'd think if some of the more unhinged activists of La Raza got their way and annexed the American Southwest for Mexico.

Is this sort of thing even worth dignifying with anything but the most sardonic response?

For the record, Israel will always remain an ally of the US for many reasons, some better than others. Transcending all the whispery, shuddery talk about the Israel lobby and oil interests, etc., Americans, as a frontier civilization, feel a tremendous degree of genuine empathy for Israel (hey, we wiped out and mistreated our indigenous population, too) and (for much more culturally positive reasons) feel a strong cultural bond and brotherhood with Jews as a racial / religious / ethnic group.

But we needn't follow the advice of neocon documents like A Clean Break, which outlined the neocon vision, which were written by hardcore pro-Israeli ideologues, either. Unconditional support of an ally is one thing. Conflating the alpha and omega of our national security with theirs something else again ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 22, 2007 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

Do you think the big, bad, imperialistic USA has a moral obligation to help defend Taiwan?

No.
This has been a simple answer to simple questions.
Bottom line, America's 'nuclear umbrella' over Taiwan is a beautiful lie. We are not going to exchange nukes with China over it.
Likewise with Israel. This is why Israel developed its own nuclear arsenal. In some respects the Israelis are more realistic about America's self interest then we are.

And you didn't answer my hypothetical - if Saddam wiggled out of sanctions and fulfilled his promise to annihilate Israel, how would you and the little doctor feel about that consequense?
Posted by: toady on January 22, 2007 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

If this happened I think my feelings, your feelings and everybodies feeling would be besides the point. Isn't that the problem? Likudniks ask us to run America's foereign policy on our feeeelllllinnnngs. Our feelings towards Israel. Our feelings towards Arabs. Time to be adult. Time to be serious. Time to move beyond feeeellllinnngs in foreign policy.

If you are so damn concerned about this why don't you dedicate the rest of your life to re-starting the non-proliferation regime and global negotiations towards eliminating the possession of nuclear weapons, as Ronald Reagan wanted to do at then end of the cold war. Because your pet solution, destroy anyone we don't like who tries to build a weapon, is a poor long term strategy that sooner or later will fail. We succeeded in Iraq, it has been obliterated. Will we succeed in Iran? What if we have to go after Saudi Arabia next? What about Pakistan? How many nations must pass under the bomb for us to feel secure? Can we keep it up forever?

Long term your policy choice is a loser. It is very "american conservative" All short term gain for long term pain.

Posted by: Nemesis on January 22, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Nemesis:

Very good points. It's time to move back to a rational calculation of our national interest and away from emotionalized messianism based on "core values."

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 22, 2007 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

Bob,

All I'm trying to illustrate with my hypothetical is that sometimes every option you're left with is a bad choice. Was Bush's response to the situation he found us in a bad choice? Yes, I think it was -- but compared to what? I don't think you or Dean are little Hitlers (or little Eichmanns) but I think you are too eager to overlook the consequenses of singing Kumbiya instead of confronting bad guys with force. Slick Willie could have confronted Saddam many times, or forced our useless "allies" to confront their hypocrisy in supporting him, but that was too much like work. Bush decided the can couldn't be kicked down the road any further, and Hillary supported him in order to ensure the survival of our little buddy, among other reasons. What should she have done to get an A on your report card?

Posted by: temporarily the toady on January 22, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Nemesis:

I don't think our support of Taiwan is all nuke -we're spending a lot more than that. Perhaps you dismiss feelings as a valid motivation today, but I'm old enough to remember how Kissinger prostituted our country's values on the altar of "realpolitic" which turned out to be neither very realistic or very successful in the long term. Feelings are as American as apple pie.
As to your Reaganite nonpoliferation arguments - one of the reasons I'm supporting McCain is because I believe he is one of the few politicians in this country that could pull that off politically. I'd also support a candidate that premised future aid to Israel on their abandonment of their nukes. I think nukes are passe as an effective instrument of power for the reasons you cite, and we should take the moral high ground on this issue.

Posted by: toadster on January 22, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

alex:

>> rmck1: *Nobody* supports *illegal* immigration

> Not officially anyway. But failure to enforce existing
> laws is de facto support. They sure do make for
> a cheap, compliant workforce though.

No, I don't think it is. At least not necessarily, flowing from a
positive position that illegal immigration is a good thing. It
could be that the existing laws are difficult to enforce or that the
resources are lacking to enforce them. Is a politician who hires a
nanny from a legit service and an oppo researcher discovers that the
nanny was in truth undocumented unbeknownst to her employers really
"pro-illegal immigration" as a matter of policy? Of course not.
But gods forbid if it happens, because it becomes a campaign issue.

>> for you to frame the issue that way shows a
>> mindless acceptance of jingoistic rhetoric

> How is it jingoistic?

Because it's in the time-honored tradition of American nativism. But
I suppose it would be more accurate to call it rhetorically grotesque.
It's like a power plant executive giving detailed testimony about why
he's opposed to a bunch of new air pollution regulations. I suppose
in some superficial way this makes him "pro-pollution" -- and no doubt
clean air activists would characterize him that way. But is it fair?
Of course not. Nobody's *in favor* of air pollution just as nobody's
in favor of breaking the law -- or against Mom & Apple Pie, either.

> To not offer the illegals already in this country an
> honorable (and heavily taxed) path to citizenship
> is both morally wrong and deeply unrealistic.

> Why do you want to heavily tax poor people?

Because I (like yourself) don't support a blanket amnesty, alex.
Because if illegals are going to "cut in line" for citizenship,
it's appropriate that they pay a penalty for that, on behalf of the
immigrants who apply for citizenship legally. Nobody's talking about
a draconian tax, just back taxes for their years here plus a fine.
No doubt they'd be given a payment schedule over a number of years.

It's the morally correct thing to do.

> And while I agree that it's impractical and unethical not to
> grant amnesty to illegal aliens who have been here for a number
> of years, I have no confidence that another amnesty will be
> accompanied by any serious effort to reduce illegal immigration.

This isn't "another amnesty" like '86, where a statutory wand was
waved and all current illegals became citizens overnight. This is
a program that gives current illegals a *path* to citizenship, based
on recognizing their contribution to our economy as good residents.

"Amnesty" is one of the great canards of this debate. You can't have
it both ways, alex. You can't claim to be against "heavily taxing
poor people" yet support giving them citizenship. If they're to get
citizenship, they need to pay a penalty for coming here illegally.

> Show me the effective enforcement first,
> and then we can talk about another amnesty.

I understand and respect the reasoning for this position, but I beg to
differ, primarily on moral grounds but also practically. Enforcement
alone, without a goal for illegals to shoot for, disincentivizes them
to act within the law. I don't wish to create a class of scofflaws
out of people in this country with the strongest work ethics and,
among the very poor, the least amount of behavioral dysfunctions.

>> criminalizing illegals is going to be counterproductive
>> to taxpayers (and consumers)

> Which taxpayers? Which consumers?

Added law enforcement is an added tax burden, especially on the local
level. But a wider view would be this; people complain about illegals
taking up community resources, especially healthcare and education.
If you throw a bunch of illegal kids out of schools, unless you're
willing to mass-deport them, think of the costs to the community
imposed by kids milling around all day without getting educated. If
you think about illegals using ER services for healthcare, imagine
if they fear being reported by doctors and they don't seek treatment
for contagous conditions -- then you get a public health crisis.

As for consumers -- nobody wants to pay $7 for a salad at McDonalds.
Or think of the lost harvests in CA in some of the fruit crop which
fell off the trees unpicked; migrant farmworkers were panicked away
by the new enforcement focus. That represents millions of dollars
in losses, not to mention unavailable fresh fruit in the supermarket.

> BTW, there is no need to criminalize the act of simply being in
> this country illegally. However, fraudelent use of a Social
> Security is a criminal act, which is where most enforcement
> efforts are aimed nowadays. The efforts need to be much more
> extensive though. We also need stronger sanctions against employers.

I have no objection to this.

>> and burdensome on first responders who have
>> enough on their plates as cops, firefighters and
>> healthcare workers to become an arm of the DHS

> Current law doesn't require them to be ICE deputies,
> nor is there any need to change that.

The House proposal last year would require these workers to turn
in illegals to the DHS as a matter of law. This would create a
perverse incentive and keep illegals informers from talking to
cops and contagiously sick illegals from seeking healthcare.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 22, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

> How is it jingoistic?

rmck1: Because it's in the time-honored tradition of American nativism.

You assume that that's people's motivation. Unfortunately, for some people, it's true. And that makes it harder for people, like me, who aren't nativists but support stronger enforcement of our immigration laws.

It's like a power plant executive giving detailed testimony about why he's opposed to a bunch of new air pollution regulations. I suppose
in some superficial way this makes him "pro-pollution" -- and no doubt clean air activists would characterize him that way. But is it fair?

It's as fair as it gets in politics. Calling someone "pro-illegal immigration" is fairer than calling your hypothetical power plant executive "pro-pollution". I'm sure that if the executive could eliminate the pollution at no cost to his company, he'd be more than happy to do it. But pollution is a by-product of no benefit to the company, by contrast illegal immigration is a means to an end - cheap and compliant labor.

if illegals are going to "cut in line" for citizenship, it's appropriate that they pay a penalty for that, on behalf of the immigrants who apply for citizenship legally.

Fines are a political sop. I'm not categorically opposed to them, but do think they should be recognized for what they are. How much is a green card worth? Create a market and you'll find people willing to pay a lot more than any fine that could be realistically imposed on illegal aliens.

This isn't "another amnesty" like '86, where a statutory wand was waved and all current illegals became citizens overnight.

That's not how the '86 amnesty worked. People got green cards. There's still the 5 year wait before you can apply for citizenship.

"Amnesty" is one of the great canards of this debate. You can't have it both ways, alex. You can't claim to be against "heavily taxing
poor people" yet support giving them citizenship.

Why, there's no contradiction. Somehow "amnesty" became a dirty word. I'm in favor of it, provided that we see some effective enforcement first.

Enforcement alone, without a goal for illegals to shoot for, disincentivizes them to act within the law.

They're already disincentivized. My "first show me the enforcement" wouldn't make it worse. By contrast, amnesty simultaneous with supposed future enforcement would demonstrate just how unserious we are (just like '86).

> Which taxpayers? Which consumers?

Added law enforcement is an added tax burden

Always is. The question is whether it's worth the cost. To people with low-paid job skills (the people with whom illegal aliens generally compete) I think that it is.

If you throw a bunch of illegal kids out of schools, unless you're willing to mass-deport them, think of the costs to the community
imposed by kids milling around all day without getting educated. If you think about illegals using ER services for healthcare, imagine
if they fear being reported by doctors and they don't seek treatment for contagous conditions -- then you get a public health crisis.

Yup, those are two things that have to avoided. Serious efforts wouldn't change that.

As for consumers -- nobody wants to pay $7 for a salad at McDonalds.

Oddly enough, before illegal immigration reached epidemic levels in the 1980's, we had affordable fast food, houses, etc.

Or think of the lost harvests in CA in some of the fruit crop which fell off the trees unpicked; migrant farmworkers were panicked away by the new enforcement focus. That represents millions of dollars in losses, not to mention unavailable fresh fruit in the supermarket.

Why does the "we need cheap labor" argument only apply to selective areas, like fruits and vegetables? While we're at it, should we import cheap labor so that our manufacturing can compete better against China? Where does it end?

This argument gets traction only because the people with whom illegal aliens compete have little political power.

For a good explanation of how our de facto (and even our de jure) immigration policy isn't based on lowering consumer costs, see

http://www.cepr.net/publications/professional_protectionists.htm

The House proposal last year would require these workers to turn in illegals to the DHS as a matter of law.

I never said the House proposal was a serious one. It was "get tough" grandstanding. Effective enforcement is mostly an executive function, with Congress limited to budgeting and perhaps some small tweaks to the law.

Posted by: alex on January 22, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK
*Nobody* supports *illegal* immigration

Sure they do; illegality provides both a scapegoat and a workforce with an incentive not to take action for the enforcement of rules governing labor conditions, people who benefit from either or both of those often in fact support illegal immigration.

Of course, usually these people are among the biggest supporters of increasingly restrictive rules on immigration and draconian but ineffective enforcement regimes.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 22, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I think the "amnesty" v. "effective enforcement of existing rules" debate is pretty misguided. Amnesty doesn't solve anything, it just (at best) kicks the ball down the field without any aim; "effective enforcement of existing laws" misses the point that the present laws are badly designed in ways which inhibit effective enforcement and needlessly encourage violations.

We need first to fix the rules to make them sensible, moral, and practical to enforce, then we need to enforce them well. Any backward-looking correction should, ideally, emerge as a natural extension of the new general scheme.

Deal with the decade long waiting lists to legally immigrate, and you'll do a lot to deal with the incentive to immigrate illegally. People who aren't the kind of people we want to prohibit entirely, ought to be allowed to immigrate when they want to (provided adequate time to process and verify paperwork); now, if there is a limit on how many immigrants we feel we can accept before we start incurring social costs that need addressed, then establish limits and assess fees, on immigrants and/or their sponsors, to address the costs of immigration beyond those levels. Have both the limits of free immigration and the costs of nonfree immigration reflect the priorities we have for different categories of immigrants.

And once you do that, well, illegals that want to be regularized—and aren't personally undesirable for criminality or some other reasons—are just another class of people who want to regular status, either in a free category or paying to bypass limits. You handle them within that framework.

Do that, and the laws will be much more enforceable as well as more humane.

Posted by: cmdicely on January 22, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

"I'm sorry, bro, but anybody who'd vote for a Republican this cycle has absolutely *zero* credibility to bitch about the DLC.

End of story."

Her DLC affiliation is a black mark in my book relative to other Democrats in the primary, but my willingness to vote for a sane & reasonable Republican over her in the general comes down to one thing: I don't think she's fit to serve in the office. Deep down at her center, she has polls figures in lieu of values, and I think it'd be a flat-out disaster if during a time of crisis we had a leader who was always looking to triangulate first rather than lead.

I don't care about "credibility" in this crowd. I'm just saying that I won't vote for her, and I don't think I'm the only one who feels that way.

Posted by: Vlad on January 22, 2007 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Somehow, black voters prefer white Southern candidates to white Northern liberals. A white Southern candidate is respectful of the Christian faith and Christian values in a way that few Northern liberals are. And blacks, if you hadn't noticed, tend to be deeply religious. A white Southern candidate has personally confronted race as an issue in a way that few Northern liberals have (see how incredibly out of place Kerry looked in that black church photo op among actual black people). He is more likely to have actually had close relationships with black people. We have a saying, "A redneck is straight with you. If he likes you he'll tell you. If he doesn't like you he'll tell you. He's not two faced like some Northern liberal". Note how perplexed Jerry Brown was during the New York 1992 primary at the fact that although he was running to the left of Clinton and had Jesse Jackson's support he was NOT picking up black support.

So on the economic issues and on cultural affinity I would give Edwards the edge with black voters.

We are in an era where the issues are Democratic (health care, jobs, economic security) instead of Republican (crime, taxes, strong defense). There is no reason to run a DLC appointed corporate shill. The Democratic Party wants someone they actually want to vote for, not to settle for the 'safe' candidate. It has learned that economic populism can win over 'values voters' (provided they keep their mouths shut about Christianist theocon fundagelicals worshipping the Flying Spaghetti Monster). The GOP absolutely must carry Ohio and a strong economic populist message will make that impossible.

Posted by: Charles Warren on January 22, 2007 at 10:31 PM | PERMALINK

Bob, Alex and others

While I accept your comments on my use of the term pro 'illegal aliens'. I would simply direct you to the website of billrichardsonforpresident.com There he details in a speech his position and plan for non-legal aliens (if you like). He uses the figure of 11 million of these people in the US as of now and stresses the emergency nature of 'solving this crisis now' I did not mean to necessarily reflect my own particular views. Only to point out, as the thread comments will bear me out, that this issue can be a big negative for the Governor. Read his position, especially the parts about his recent visit with Mexican President Caulderon and their efforts to work a solution for Mexican guest workers to come to the US who will then send some of their earnings home to help support the Mexican economy and I think you will see why I don't believe this is going to 'Play well in Peoria'. Do let me know what you think.

Posted by: Merg on January 23, 2007 at 4:32 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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