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Tilting at Windmills

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September 12, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

TERROR FIGHTIN' HILLARY....I've been actively avoiding most poll blogging until now, but with the Iowa caucuses a mere four months away it's probably time to start paying attention. Today's LA Times poll confirmed a couple of obvious things (Hillary's ahead everywhere and Dodd, Gravel, Kucinich, and Biden need put their egos back into cold storage and stop wasting our time) but also a couple of nonobvious things. Nonobvious to me, anyway.

First, Hillary Clinton is not only ahead in all three of the early caucus/primary states, but her supporters are more firmly in her camp than Edwards' or Obama's. Interesting! I would have guessed that Obama had the bigger corps of highly dedicated supporters. Second, and more important, Hillary leads not just in the general category of "more experienced," but in the very specific categories of "best at fighting terrorism" and "best at ending the Iraq war." And she leads by enormous margins. That may be wildly unfair (especially the latter), but it's really, really important. The 2008 campaign is going to hinge on terrorism and the war, just like the 2004 campaign, and as long as Hillary has a massive lead on those two issues she's unstoppable. Obama and Edwards better find a way to change that perception or else they'll be roadkill come this time next February.

Kevin Drum 12:29 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (93)

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Comments

With a lopsided lead like that, at this point it's Hillary vs. not-Hillary, and so long as the not-Hillary vote is split between multiple challengers, then Hillary is in.

My question is, when did this supposedly democratic country I grew up in suddenly convert into a third-world oligarchy with political power tightly controlled by a few dynastic families?

Posted by: jimBOB on September 12, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

I wish I could endl the Iraq war.

Posted by: LLamura on September 12, 2007 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

Why do you think that Dodd, Gravel, Kucinich and Biden are wasting our time? Rather it is the others who are wasting our time and money since in practical terms their administrations wouldn't be too different from each other. And I'm amazed when people fault candidates for egoism. Is egoism a virtue in the front runners (i.e. those who have raised a lot of money) only? And maybe, just maybe the other candidates are in the race because of political principles and not just ego?
It seems that the elite liberal bloggers haven't really gotten over 2000 yet.

Posted by: RS on September 12, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

that is surprising - I would have never have guessed that people think HRC would end the Iraq war.

Posted by: yep on September 12, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

that is surprising - I would have never have guessed that people think HRC would end the Iraq war.

Posted by: yep on September 12, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP side is chock full of interesting tidbits.

1) About 10% of New Hampshire Republicans don't know if they are certain that they'll vote for their chosen candidate. How can you not be sure if you're sure? Raise your hand if you're sure!

2) McCain, the reliably anti-choice and anti-gay candidate is weak across the board for "Best handle abortion/gay rights." I guess the right still thinks of him as a maverick, even though he isn't any more and never was on those issues.

3) Republicans are generally weaker on the "certainty" question, showing that even with Freddy in the race, they aren't terribly happy with their chocies.

Posted by: Adam on September 12, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

jimBOB: My question is, when did this supposedly democratic country I grew up in suddenly convert into a third-world oligarchy with political power tightly controlled by a few dynastic families?

I think it's a function of choosing a candidate via primary elections. In the old days, party leaders chose the candidate in secret, but at least they knew the candidates. Today, a candidate has to become widely known very quickly, so we get movie and TV stars, very rich people, and relatives of former Presidents. Maybe we were better off with the smoke-filled rooms.

Posted by: ex-liberal on September 12, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

jimBOB - when and where did you grow up? The US has a history of political family dynasties (e.g. the Adamses, the Roosevelts, the Kennedys).

It's likely that 2008 will be the first presidential election in *36 years* that the Republican party ticket will not have a Bush or a Dole on it. And that's not a lock, either.

Posted by: ralph kramden on September 12, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary leads not just in the general category of "more experienced," but in the very specific categories of "best at fighting terrorism" and "best at ending the Iraq war." And she leads by enormous margins. That may be wildly unfair

Just because ending the Iraq war isn't on her radar right now as it is for candidates who make it one of their main selling points doesn't mean she won't be the most cogent leader to get it done later, nor does it mean that it won't probably or inevitably become a focus of hers soon enough after she is elected.

Posted by: Swan on September 12, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

If Hillary gets elected, she will be hamstrung by endless investigations and will probably get impeached for lying about her recipe for baking cookies or her cattle future trades three decades ago. Count on it. The GOP hard-right vermin get apoplectic at the word "Clinton". Elect someone cleaner, like Obama or Kuchinich.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 12, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

It looks like "Don't know" has an outside chance of beating HRC in NH....

Seriously though, it is not at all surprising to me that HRC's support is more solid -- she's been in the public eye longer. Nor am I surprised that her hawkish campaign has been able to convince voters that she is better at fightin' da terra-ists, which in many people's minds dovetails into bringing the Iraq war to a conclusion. (Note: the question asked for the "best" at ending the war, not the "quickest".)

What *is* surprising is that most people polled think that she has the best chance of beating the GOP candidate in the general. That her campaign has been able to keep Dem primary voters from learning that she still has 49% negs in the general voting population is quite an accomplishment. I think that that is where Obama and Edwards need to target their ammo.


(Also, it's surprising to me that Edwards is getting only 7% support in SC. Is the antagonism between SC and NC stronger than southern pride?)

Posted by: Disputo on September 12, 2007 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

I also have doubts as to the generalizability of this poll. Are those polled representative of the average voter, or are they outliers?

Posted by: absent observer on September 12, 2007 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Re: "Obama and Edwards better find a way to change that perception or else they'll be roadkill com this time next February."

Obama might be content to get picked by Hillary for VP, which means he won't try too hard (ie, go too negative) in a long-shot attempt to win the nomination. I'm an Obama supporter, but a "Clinton/Obama" ticket sounds good, and would do pretty well.

Posted by: Jim W on September 12, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Well, folks people are voting for Bill really when they vote for Hillary. After 8 years of disasters after disaster, people may want Bill back. People want to give Bill another chance to fix existing problems. Hillary and Bill are a team and people realize that. She could become prez but he will be available when needed. Bill Clinton can't run again but he could be awarded the third term he wanted all along. Obama and Edwards can't beat Bill Clinton.

Posted by: bob on September 12, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: I think ...

IObjection: Assertion not in evidence.

But then, that's par for the course for "ex-liberal." No one, least of all "ex-liberal," imagines he posts in anything but bad faith.

Posted by: Gregory on September 12, 2007 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Has anybody checked out the "Be more likeable" this one is weird.

Hillary is dead last in Iowa and New Hampshire with 20%, but in South Carolina she's polling at nearly double that at 38% and in the lead?

Can anybody come up for this reason? Edward's drop can be explained by regional hostility. Obama is constant.

I was all for Hillary portraying herself as the person you don't want to have a beer with, but somebody you want working for you.

Posted by: Dervin on September 12, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary is riding a well-honed political organization that's over a decade old and that has roots deep in the political system and the media. Go look around at all the movers and shakers that are "ex-Clinton" people. Barring her getting hit by a meteor, her candidacy was almost a given.

Gregory, if you can't do anything but throw your own feces at a perfectly benign comment that just happens to be from somebody on your hate list, do it outside and not at the keyboard.

Posted by: harry on September 12, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

jimBOB: My question is, when did this supposedly democratic country I grew up in suddenly convert into a third-world oligarchy with political power tightly controlled by a few dynastic families?

2000 A.D.

ralph kramden: The US has a history of political family dynasties (e.g. the Adamses, the Roosevelts, the Kennedys).

The Adamses were a long time ago - I'd hoped we'd put that to rest.

The Kennedys could have been a dynasty, if RFK wasn't assassinated (or even if JFK hadn't). Otherwise they're just a Massachusetts thing (Teddy is still around because the Massachusetts Constitution stipulates that at least one Kennedy hold office).

The idea that the Roosevelts were a dynasty is silly. TR and FDR were fifth cousins. TR didn't think much of FDR (TR died in 1920 before FDR had done much), and the two branches of the family had little to do with each other. Two presidents, one dead 12 years before the other was elected, and in different parties, is anything but a dynasty. If it wasn't for the last names, the fact that they were fifth cousins would be nothing more than a trivia question.

Posted by: alex on September 12, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary comes across as the most *politically* capable of the lot, which is why I think she gets as much as support as she does, despite her negatives. It'd be grand to have some honest idealism in the White House for a change, but that isn't going to stop the Republican campaign juggernaut. Republican's can't govern, but they can campaign ruthlessly and I think most people realize Hillary can withstand that kind of attack. I don't see Barak or Edwards having the teeth or the efficiency to withstand a campaign like that and ultimately, I want a Democrat in office, regardless of which one it is. I'll vote for someone else in the Primary just to keep things close, but I think Hillary is scoring most of her points on her political ability to beat Republicans, both in the campaign and while in office.

Posted by: Fred F. on September 12, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

What's with the SC voters? Fred Thompson wins overall but trails Giuliani heavily in four of the six categories. I guess the poll should have asked "Best drive a red pickup truck."

Posted by: Barringer on September 12, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

A year or two ago I could not believe anyone would propose Hillary for president. I am really wondering what people are thinking here.

The nation is seriously divided. The right will be just as incensed about Hillary as the left has been about Bush -- for good reason in Bush's case in reaction to what he has done. But for Hillary the division will be upfront before she has any chance of making her case. She, carrying the Clinton baggage, will be effectively marginalized. Although she carries as good a policy package as the other candidates, her chances of getting much of it done are not good. Hillary is a divisive figure in American politics. I don't foresee her uniting the country.

Posted by: lou on September 12, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Regardless of your choice for president, who do you think would..."

I found it interesting that they asked different questions of Democrats than Republicans.

The Democratic list:

Who would...

Have new ideas
Be more likeable
Have the right experience
Be best at fighting terrorism
Be best at ending the Iraq war
Understanding people like yourself

The Republican questions:

Who would...

Be the strongest leader
Best handle abortion/gay rights
Best fight terrorism
Keep taxes low
Best handle [note: not end] the Iraq war

Might have been fun to mix those around a bit.

Posted by: harry on September 12, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

harry: Hillary is riding a well-honed political organization that's over a decade old and that has roots deep in the political system and the media. Go look around at all the movers and shakers that are "ex-Clinton" people.

They way I'd put it is that Hillary's greatest success is her ability to raise money. She collects more bribes (oops, I mean contributions) than any other Dem.

In addition to her well known bribes from Big Pharma, the money behind her outsourcing enthusiasm is explained in this article.

Hillary supporters rarely say anything especially good about her proposed policies or past decisions, just that she has experience and is well connected. Pardon my lack of enthusiasm.

Harry Truman gave good advice on where that gets you in a general election: "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time."

Posted by: alex on September 12, 2007 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

The major factor that is making this race lopsided is Hillary's support among women. Regardless of her actual past (i.e. voting for the Iraq war, political opportunism w.r.t. unions, gays, etc.) it seems that Democratic women like her so much they are willing to give her a pass on nearly everything. I suppose it's a Rorschach phenomenon--if she were a he, I highly doubt someone of Hillary Clinton's past would even be a major contender for the nomination--just a few more years in elected office in Obama, and a lot more baggage.

It just bothers me that we don't know what we're getting. I have no idea how Hillary would actually handle the Iraq War. Yglesias is right: saying that we're going to leave some troops in Iraq to train and perform counterterrorism operations (i.e. do what they're unable to do now because there aren't enough troops there, only with fewer troops) makes absolutely no sense. And liberals don't much care for the Clintons and would likely have no patience if she kept this thing going much past 2010. Hillary would win in 2008--the climate is such that she can't help but win. But she would lose in 2012 when liberals stay home because of Iraq, unless she really moves to end the Iraq War, and her comments seem to give little evidence of that.

Posted by: Lev on September 12, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Have the right experience? Six years as a U.S. Senator, not enough. Three years as a U.S. Senator, plus eight years as a state senator, not enough. Seven years as a U.S. Senator, plus eight as official White House hostess -- just right.

Posted by: Grumpy on September 12, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Skip the poll blogging Kevin.

First, you clearly do not want to do it.

Second, you need to evaluate the worth of the poll when discussing it, which requires a discussion of methodology, comparisons to other polls, etc.

For example, this poll is predicated on 800,000 Iowans appearing at the Dem caucuses. This total would increase the number from the 2004 caucuses SEVENFOLD.

I criticize the Left blogs for too much hrose race blogging, but I must admit that their having spent so much time on the subject foes give them a certain expertise that I think you lack.

And good for you for that.

Posted by: Armando on September 12, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Right now i don't know if I would vote for Hiliary,But you have to think it would be very interesting to put Bill Clinton where Rove was in Juniors Adm. You think that would scare the hell out of the people that tried and tried to ruin his Presidentency.People like Rush and Sean could just vanish.

Posted by: john john on September 12, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

"My question is, when did this supposedly democratic country I grew up in suddenly convert into a third-world oligarchy with political power tightly controlled by a few dynastic families?"

Sometime in the 1700s.

Posted by: Jim J on September 12, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

"Hillary is dead last in Iowa and New Hampshire with 20%, but in South Carolina she's polling at nearly double that at 38% and in the lead?"

Vastly higher numbers of African-American voters? What other reason could there be?

Posted by: Jim J on September 12, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Obama's problem is he spent so much time talking about how was against the war five years ago while Hillary's been talking for a while about she wants to end it. Elections are more about the future than the past.

BTW, it's easy to get the impression Obama's supporters are more committed if one goes by media and blog coverage of the campaign, which has largely ignored the story of how effective Hillary's been thus far.

Posted by: Paula on September 12, 2007 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

As a lifelong democratic voter (90% plus of the time), if Hillary wins the democratic nomination I will not give money or work for a democratic presidential candidate for the first time since I have been able to vote 22 years ago.

And I will most likely vote Green

She is indeed Bush/Cheney light and a dead end disaster for the future of America and the democratic party. 4-8 years of 'why not have a real conservative' on the hate-radio shows is more than I can stomach.

Posted by: Brian on September 12, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I'm also wondering where the anti-Hillary idea came from. Her favorable rating among Dems is consistently over 80 percent, so where's this anti-Hillary bloc going to come from? They aren't buying that whole dynasty argument either, apparently. It's not like she's being handed the nomination. She's been outraised by Obama, remember, and gotten a tiny fraction of the positive press he's received. The media wants someone to close in on her to make the race more compeitive, so they're hardly in her corner.

Posted by: Paula on September 12, 2007 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary leads ... in the very specific categories of "best at fighting terrorism" and "best at ending the Iraq war." ... by enormous margins. ... and as long as Hillary has a massive lead on those two issues she's unstoppable.

—Kevin Drum

Precisely.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 12, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

All these negative comments about Hillary because she will be a big target for the republican slime machine or wrong.

Do you really think the republicans will not "swift-boat" whoever is the democratic candidate?

They have been throwing their mud at her for 16 years. It is going to be much more difficult for them to come up with something new against her then against other candidates. Moreover, she has shown a really great ability to withstand those attacks while the ability of the others to do so is unknown.

Posted by: spencer on September 12, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter DLC talking point:

Gravel and Kucinich need put the truth back into cold storage and stop wasting American military idolator's time.

Posted by: Brojo on September 12, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

With one of the questions who do you think would have the right experience, it's a pity that Richardson was not one of the choices, as he has experience as governor, U.N. Ambassador, and in Congress.

More important, the media, including Mr. Drum, should minimize coverage of the polls and maximize coverage of what the candidates actually have to offer.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on September 12, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

I wish you wouldn't poll-blog the primaries. It just depresses me that HRC is likely to be the Democratic nominee in 2008, and I will hold my nose and vote for her. And I will continue to deeply resent the fact that she is being shoved down my throat.

The fact that she is running at all is evidence that the Democrats STILL haven't figured out why the conservatives have had such a stranglehold on the American electorate. I figure she'll be a one-term president, and that the conservatives will be back in double strength in 2012.

jimBOB upthread has it exactly right. In a nation with 300 million citizens, two families should not be trading off the WH. Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush-Clinton...it's obscene.

alex has done an excellent job responding to the cynics who think America has always been run as an oligarchy. I just want to add the historical footnote that Adams pere left office in 1801. Adams son did not become President until 1825. That's very different from the eight year baton pass between papa Bush and W, and between Mr. Clinton and his wife.

As long as Americans think this consolidation of family power is just business as normal, we can't break the pattern. How about Jeb in 2012?

Posted by: PTate in FR on September 12, 2007 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, there are a lot of non-Hillary Dems who are split between Edwards and Obama, so the level of certainty is a little misleading. We are very certain we will vote for one of them and not her.

Posted by: RollaMO on September 12, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

As a right-leaning independent, I lean toward Richardson, who at least has a resume and an on-the-ground track record. Besides, he's a decent human being.

However, he like other Dems is susceptible to pander-monium, as he ditched No Child Left Behind the other day in Iowa, which La Raza likes, to suck up to the NEA powerhouse in that caucus state.

Hillary is so rich, she doesn't have to suck up, so no more "plantation accents" or other egregious missteps are necessary. She's got a mortal lock.

Posted by: daveinboca on September 12, 2007 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

The poll doesn't focus much on negatives, though. Which is to say that while neither Obama nor Edwards has won me over at this point, I'm pretty certain I won't be voting for Clinton in the primary. I'd also like to see the qualities number broken down by voter preference. Maybe her supporters are convinced she's the end-all be-all who will end the war, but I'm definitely not.

And frankly, the prospect of a candidate who wants to outlaw flag burning and who still defends her ridiculous Iraq vote doesn't sit well with me.

Obama could have won me over, but he's spent more time talking about his "new kind of politics" than telling me what his new kind of politics would accomplish. I don't want our nation's fagile soul to be healed by his charisma, I want the damn country to be run better.

Posted by: Royko on September 12, 2007 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

As long as the anti-Hillary vote is split between Obama and Edwards, Hillary will walk with the nomination. If there were only one "not-Hillary" candidate the contrast would be clear and the her deficits would be more apparent. I really see Obama's ego-trippin candidacy as tragic. It is forcing Hillary as the nominee and although he will never see it, Nascar dad ain't votin' for him.

Posted by: Chrissy on September 12, 2007 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Daveinboca, where on earth did you get the idea that Richardson is a decent human being? I'd beg to differ on that one, having first hand experience of being stabbed in the back by him during a congressional primary. He's no progressive when it comes to playing politics.

Posted by: KathyF on September 12, 2007 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

RS, I'm totally with you.

Kevin, your "wasting out time" comments were out of line, and sounded like a Democratic party shill.

If Hillary gets the nomination, I'm voting Green again, as a non-elite liberal blogger and newspaper editor.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on September 12, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Hillary leads not just in the general category of "more experienced," but in the very specific categories of "best at fighting terrorism" and "best at ending the Iraq war." And she leads by enormous margins.

I think this comes from the perception that Hillary is most likely to actually be able to do these things if she wants to. Maybe not a fair perception, but whether it is a result of her advertising, her personal style, or whatever, she comes across as the most mature, practical and competent of the the top tier candidates.

Obama could have won me over, but he's spent more time talking about his "new kind of politics" than telling me what his new kind of politics would accomplish. I don't want our nation's fagile soul to be healed by his charisma, I want the damn country to be run better.

Exactly. My practical side wants to know what exactly he wants to accomplish, and how he intends to do it. I don't see any evidence of Republicans wanting to meet him halfway. In fact, if history is any indication, they will dig in as they did in '92. Is he counting on a total Democratic takeover of Congress? Inspiration is wonderful, but it has to have a focus or it is just feel-good stuff.

Posted by: Dawn on September 12, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

This is pretty easy stuff, really. There are two main camps in this campaign, either pro-Hillary or against Hillary. Edwards supporters and Obama supporters all know they are in the second category, and are, in large part, willing to shift their support to the other (with notable exceptions, but that doesn't change the general point). The problem is, by the time they figure out where their support should be, this front-loaded primary season will have already decided on Hillary.

Posted by: dathon on September 12, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, there are a lot of non-Hillary Dems who are split between Edwards and Obama, so the level of certainty is a little misleading. We are very certain we will vote for one of them and not her.

Sure, but unless you are ALL going to coalesce behind the same guy, it is still Hillary v non-Hillary, with non-Hillary split at least two ways.

Posted by: Dawn on September 12, 2007 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

KathyF

I used to work in Democratic campaigns and while engaged in primaries & other activities, never considered myself a human being, let alone a decent one.

Ditto for when I worked for John Anderson back in '80.

As a person, not a politician, Bill helped me and my wife on numerous occasions [he dated my wife at Tufts & got her an LA job with a US Senator while he was a staffer at the SenFonRelCte.

Posted by: daveinboca on September 12, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

And when Hillary gets elected to end the war, and she proceeds to not end it, what do you think is going to happen to the Democratic party?

I'm sorry, but it does not appear to me that the Democratic party has much of a future beyond the elections next year. After Democrats refuse to follow through on the publics trust, they will be all but dead as a major political party.

Posted by: Soullite on September 12, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know which was funnier: daveinboca's assertion that he's "a right-leaning independent" or his implication that he's capable of recognizing what makes someone a decent human being.

Posted by: Gregory on September 12, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy: As long as the anti-Hillary vote is split between Obama and Edwards, Hillary will walk with the nomination. If there were only one "not-Hillary" candidate the contrast would be clear and the her deficits would be more apparent.

Exactly, which is why primaries, like all elections, should use a ranked preference system (eg from most to least favorite, Obama, Edwards, Clinton).

The best known form of ranked preference is instant runoff voting. It's not the best (Condorcet is my favorite) as there are potential quirks, but it's the simplest (readily understandable is important for the sake of people's confidence) and has the catchiest name. It certainly beats plurality wins.

Get enough "Obama, Edwards, Clinton" and "Edwards, Obama, Clinton" votes, and Hillary would be toast. Ok, now I undertsand why they don't use it.

Posted by: alex on September 12, 2007 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you, DLC, for playing into the GOP's hands. (Sigh.)

Posted by: Vincent on September 12, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

It seems unlikely the basic dynamics will change much on the Democratic side from now until caucus/primary season begins, in four months. (This may not be true for the Republicans, where McCain is edging up, Rudy is losing ground, etc.) So while the emerging conventional wisdom may hold (It's Hillary's to lose, and this could very well be true), now Hillary is in an Ed Muskie position: If she underpeforms in any of the primaries, even if she actually wins, she might then be vulnerable. (Remember who actually won in New Hampshire in '92? In '72? In '68?)

Overall, though, it's a Democratic year coming. America has had it with Bush and the Repubs. Even Republicans have had it with Bush & Co. We are looking at a real possibility of a filibuster-proof Senate to go along with a Democratic President. And the messes they will have to clean up . . . the worst mess since '32.

Posted by: MaxGowan on September 12, 2007 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

gregory What's funniest of all is someone judging someone else on this thread through a few remarks. I guess Groupthink is the operational mode when you drop into lefty sites.

Posted by: daveinboca on September 12, 2007 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

I find myself in a Hillary defender role here, and I have not made up my own mind yet about the primaries. But as far as electability in the general election goes, there is no hard right hoard that will only come out and vote against Hillary and will sit out the election if the nominee is Edwards or Obama. Given the rascist nature of much attack machine product over the years, do you really think the rightie hoards are going to stay home on election day and let Obama win? C'mon. Also, as we saw in '04 the attack machine would be spun up at least as hard against Edwards or Obama as it would be for her. We've already seen a little of what they have in store for Edwards, and they have barely rolled out the 'trial lawyer' stuff yet. My own barometer is the dittoheads I work with, and they to a man say they would vote for Hillary before Edwards.

The point is that they will all have unique difficulties in the general and I don't think that should be a factor in the primaries.

Posted by: Dawn on September 12, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

Good points, Dawn. I hope Edwards trots out those other sleezy trial lawyers, like Abe Lincoln and William Howard Taft.

They will attack whomever. This may be where Hillary has an advantage. Aside from the fact that unlike Kerry, she has balls and she will respond, she's been so saturated attacked by the right over the past 15 years, it may simply no longer matter.

Posted by: MaxGowan on September 12, 2007 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

gregory What's funniest of all is someone judging someone else on this thread through a few remarks.

Oh, bullshit, daveinboca; you're being judged, quite rightly, based on your history of remarks here. I submit that they hardly speak well of your awareness of the qualities of a decent human being.

I guess Groupthink is the operational mode when you drop into lefty sites.

See, here's the funny thing wingnuts like daveinboca, Red State Mike, et al don't get when they whine about "groupthink" or "echo chamber" after being called on their bullshit.

It's true that Kevin doesn't get honest conservatives commenting here, but the dishonest, deuded, diabolical and dishonrable authoritarianism advocated by daveinboca and the rest of the 28% dead-enders that still support this failure of an Administration is not the antithesis of liberal thought. It's the antithesis of everything that makes a decent American and, yes, a decent human being.

Calling douchebags like daveinboca out on their long-debunked bullshit does not groupthink make. Indeed, if the crap peddled by davinboca and his ilk wasn't itself the produuct groupthink, it'd stand up to even momentary scrutiny. The abject failure of the wingnuts to make honest, let alone convincing, arguments says a lot more about the groupthink on the Bush Cultist side, doesn't it?

Posted by: Gregory on September 12, 2007 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

gregory What's funniest of all is someone judging someone else on this thread through a few remarks. I guess Groupthink is the operational mode when you drop into lefty sites.
Posted by: daveinboca

If you talk to it, it talks back. Best to ignore the local poo flingers.

Posted by: SJRSM on September 12, 2007 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

My own barometer is the dittoheads I work with, and they to a man say they would vote for Hillary before Edwards.

That should tell you all you need to know to not support HRC.

Btw, 10 points above to the crank who is blaming the black man for not bowing out and letting the white man beat the white woman. Good job.

Posted by: Disputo on September 12, 2007 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

And the award for best unintentional irony goes once again to RSM for this gem:

Best to ignore the local poo flingers.

*Applause*

Posted by: Disputo on September 12, 2007 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

The Dittoheads around here sort of shrug their shoulders at Obama and Edwards, but Hillary? They go nuts.

Posted by: RollaMO on September 12, 2007 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory, Methinks the nutjob doth protest too much. You certainly project a lot, and it's more heat than light. Good little exercise in polemical exhalations, but you are a GROUPTHINK kind of guy, aren't you? Not an "honest" anything, are you.

Posted by: daveinboca on September 12, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Best to ignore the local poo flingers

Red State Mike, if you don't want to be called on your bullshit, don't post bullshit. it's really very simple. It's too bad for you that there's no honest means of defending the Bush Administration's mendacity, incompetence, corruption and tyranny, but that you choose to take the dishonest and dishonorable road of advocating authoritarianism is your shame, not ours.

Irony alert: daveinboca writes: Not an "honest" anything, are you and again complains about groupthink and

I notice you don't really have a comeback to the refutation of your rather laughable complaint that you're being judged unfairly, daveinboca, just a lot of handwaving. Sorry; that dog won't hunt.

Look, I know that honest conservatives don't post here, and douchebags like you seem to be the best we can get, but the comments I made ages ago to tbrosz -- who at least showed he was capable of honest debate, if his blinkered, tribal desire to defend the Bush Administration made him so often choose not to -- if you don't want your feeble conservatard bullshit treated with the contempt it deserves, don't post it -- and tborsz to his credit eventually took that advice.

A decent human being would be embarrassed at having their mendacity, jingoism and foolishiness exposed time and again. And then there's you guys.

Posted by: Gregory on September 12, 2007 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory, if you don't being called a poo flinger, don't fling poo. It is really that simple. You should try to actually discuss the topic at hand. You'll fail miserably and embarrass yourself, but it will make people smile.

Posted by: SJRSM on September 12, 2007 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

I for one am glad to see that RSM and daveinboca have finally found each other. BFF!

Posted by: Disputo on September 12, 2007 at 4:09 PM | PERMALINK

Dang, going nutzoid in the School of Mines, can get one lost.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 12, 2007 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

Irony alert: Red State Mike wrote: You'll fail miserably and embarrass yourself

I have yet to see evidence authoritarian apoligist Red State Mike knows the meaning of the word "embarrassment."

Posted by: Gregory on September 12, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory misspelled
apoligist...

See, you made me smile!

Posted by: SJRSM on September 12, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

The only good thing about Hillary becoming president is that she will inherit a god awful impossible mess, and it will show her as the incompetent creep that she is. She was a secretive disaster as a health care planner, she is the same scum who supported the Iraq war and claimed to be too stupid to read what Kucinich and Wellstone could read, she's big business, big money and big lies. The country deserves this kind of disaster. Especially the Democrats who vote for her. But, we will finally be done with the Clinton's for good, as well as a lot of other things.

Posted by: Christine on September 12, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

I think gregory's dyspeptic response could be
1: A Left Coast Hangover from a late night binge
2: A generally irascible temperament or
3: He likes Bill Richardson even less than Kathy

Posted by: daveinboca on September 12, 2007 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Is it true that Hillary! is going to appoint Sandy Burglar to some sort of post? Sloppy, that...sloppy.

Posted by: nikkolai on September 12, 2007 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

I wish the LAT had put in a question:
"What if Al was running?"

Teddy is still around because the Massachusetts Constitution stipulates that at least one Kennedy hold office

Not so! It stipulates that at least one of our seated Senators must cause foaming at the mouth in at least 30% of the constituency of at least 50% of other states.
Ted's had a good run. Consensus seems to be that while Senator Kerry can cause a fair bit of gnashing, most of it is contrived.
So, Barney is next.

Posted by: kenga on September 12, 2007 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Grover Cleveland was a one man political dynasty.

Posted by: model 62 on September 12, 2007 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

I think gregory's dyspeptic response could be
1: A Left Coast Hangover from a late night binge
2: A generally irascible temperament or
3: He likes Bill Richardson even less than Kathy
Posted by: daveinboca

He's just stupid. Follows me around like my little pet donkey. Bray, Gregory, Bray! Heh.

Posted by: SJRSM on September 12, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

SJRSM

Gregory makes me smile because stylistically he resembles a Britney lip-synch at the MTV Awards! Obviously coming off a BAAAAD night of partying!

I wonder just which orchestral section of the Rotkappelle he's trying to channel?

Posted by: daveinboca on September 12, 2007 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Any Dem in the race could beat any Republican next year. I don't give a rats ass about how electable any of the candidates might be. I want to know what they think and what they might do if elected.

Team Clinton has seen to it that of all the candidates we know less about Hillary than any of the others, and we don't know much about any of the others.

We need to be spending our time reviewing published policy positions, asking questions and demanding answers.

Right now we need to be peppering Hillary with questions about her plans for Iraq.

Posted by: corpus juris on September 12, 2007 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

It's probably not possible, but the most interesting debate to watch would be a mixed party debate, dems and repubs. Now, not 10 months from now. Why wait until after the primaries?

If I were the second tier candidates in the two parties with nothing to lose, I'd be calling up my counterparts and suggesting it.

Posted by: SJRSM on September 12, 2007 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: "I would have guessed that Obama had the bigger corps of highly dedicated supporters."

With all due respect to the senator from Illinois and former senator from North Carolina, for whom I have nothing but admiration, mass does not necessarily equate with volume.

That being said, I sincerely hope that Hillary Clinton seriously considers Barack Obama as her running mate, John Edwards as her pick for Attorney General, and Bill Richardson as her Secretary of State. I believe that they would make an extraordinary team.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 12, 2007 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: "Hillary's ahead everywhere and Dodd, Gravel, Kucinich, and Biden need put their egos back into cold storage and stop wasting our time."

That's essentially the same point Ted Koppell made in the last election, that he was put out that room had to be made on the debate stage for Kucinich, and this kind of thinking is no less offensive now than it was then. Not to be too crude, but could you kindly just f*%@ off? I know, and I'm pretty sure they know, too, that none of these four will be nominated, but Gravel and Kucinich in particular add the benefit to this campaign of saying and believing things that, though none of the other candidates will say, whether they believe them or not, millions of Democratic voters believe in fervently. It's really nice for us to see candidates who share our beliefs and though it's disheartening to know that no such candidate will ever represent the party in a national election, it's downright insulting to us for moderates like you to tell them to take a powder. Try to deal with the inconvenience of having to listen to these fringe candidates.

Posted by: mrgumby2u on September 12, 2007 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

model 62: "Grover Cleveland was a one man political dynasty."

I was slow to register, but I chuckled aloud when I understood. Subtle historical humor, heh!

Posted by: PTate in FR on September 12, 2007 at 6:42 PM | PERMALINK

Why in the world would anyone expect any candidate to have policy papers out for discussion four months before the primaries even begin? To give the MSM (aka Republicans) that much more time to marginalize those positions? Primary elections are when candidates basically conduct "get to know you" campaigns, with just enough meat (policy) to let voters know where that person generally stands on the issues. Sometimes some candidates have enough name recognition they can get by simply by showing up; sometimes not.
As for whether or not HRC wants us out of Iraq - I really don't care. I DO care whether there will be enough anti-war members of the Congress after the 2008 elections. Fratboy notwithstanding, Congress is where the laws are made and if Congress wants us out of Iraq I can't see HRC standing in their way.

Posted by: Doug Stamate on September 12, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

To give the MSM (aka Republicans) that much more time to marginalize those positions? Primary elections are when candidates basically conduct "get to know you" campaigns, with just enough meat (policy) to let voters know where that person generally stands on the issues.

I'm going to float my idea again because I haven't seen it out there before. If I was an second tier dem candidate (Kucinich, Biden) I'd go hunt down my comparable on the repub side and challenge them to a cross party debate. Nothing to lose, everything to gain (rep as a fighter, free press, etc.)

Posted by: Swaggering Jingoistic RSM Goon on September 12, 2007 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

(Hillary's ahead everywhere and Dodd, Gravel, Kucinich, and Biden need put their egos back into cold storage and stop wasting our time)

Jeez, is that "our" time or is it Kevin's time?

Kucinich may have big ears, be very short, and some what plain but he never lies. Because of his appearance he will never be president but sometimes it isn't the goal but the journey that matters in life.

Kucinich never fails to speak truth to power so I don't think he ever waste anyone's time. And Hillary has to sell to MoveOn.org, that group that will impeach Hillary with the same hate that Repugs would if she doesn't get our troops out of Iraq or starts flip-flopping the minute she hits office.

Is Hillary a change - all signs, thus far point to no. I don't trust Hillary, she sounds to much like Bush. She strikes me as being every bit as dishonest as Bush in every way. The Clintons lied alot on their way out of office -so is that where we pick up the scene. Bill Clinton came into office a fair guy with honest approach but he shows all signs of coming back completely corrupt just like Bush and company - no laws will matter to him or his wife.

Laws certainly didn't matter when those two left office with all their lying about the Marc Rich pardon.

Posted by: Me_again on September 12, 2007 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

I seriously hope that Mrs. Clinton will NOT select Barack Obama as her running mate. She doesn't need someone with his lack of experience and maturity on the ticket or in the office. Instead she needs a respected individual with serious long-standing national security and defense credentials, among other things.

And I trust the Obama folks will not make the same mistake as the Edwards folks did last time around and attempt to push their candidate onto the ticket. One of the biggest errors John Kerry made was caving in to the noisy Edwards partisans and selecting Edwards as his running mate. Edwards was and is a weak candidate. He didn't even carry his own state for the ticket, for example. This time around it is Obama. But Obama, despite the media glitz he receives, also is a weak candidate. His time may come and it may not but it clearly is not now. Let's permit Mrs. Clinton to make the choice, rather than attempt to force it on her.

Posted by: seriouslyhope on September 12, 2007 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

I seriously hope that Mrs. Clinton will NOT select Barack Obama as her running mate. She doesn't need someone with his lack of experience and maturity on the ticket or in the office. Instead she needs a respected individual with serious long-standing national security and defense credentials, among other things.

I seriously hope the trend of increasing responsibility, started with Al Gore and continued with Cheney, gets tossed into the trash heap of history and we go back to VEEPs being seen and not heard, except for speeches at funerals for third world leaders.

Posted by: Swaggering Jingoistic RSM Goon on September 12, 2007 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

two families should not be trading off the WH. Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush-Clinton...it's obscene.

If Hillary got a second term it'd be Bush-Clinton-Clinton-Bush-Bush-Clinton-Clinton. If you count the two Reagan terms with HW Bush as veep, that makes 36 years of Bushes and Clintons in the White House. And of course by 2016 Chelsea will be coming of age...

Posted by: jimBOB on September 12, 2007 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

I think Clinton's lead on these issues is just a reflection of a sense that she'd be more effective and more politically adept in general.

By the way I think it's deeply unfair to Biden and Dodd to lump them in with Gravel and Kucinich. They may be similarly wasting their own time, but they aren't similarly wasting our time.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on September 12, 2007 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

Gotta say that progressives voting Green in 2008 makes about as much sense as it did in 2000. Look how well that turned out. I'll vote the Democratic ticket regardless of who's at the top.

Posted by: AK Liberal on September 13, 2007 at 2:13 AM | PERMALINK

If Obama becomes Hillary's showdown opponent after the egotrippers like Biden, Dodd and I-Feel-Pretty get out of the way, and if he puts up a credible contest, I don't think it would be in her best interest to snub him for the VP position. Suppose she does and two weeks later Romney picks Condi Rice for VP. I know Bill still has a lot of clout in the black community, but I don't know if it would be enough to keep blacks from sitting home after that kind of an insult. I also think you guys should start asking Hillary this question: if you take office in March 2009, are you really going to pull the rug out from under the Iraqi government when they have an election scheduled for the end of that year. For all the huffing and puffing on the left, I don't think a President Hillary would be willing to snatch defeat from the jaws of steady improvement, denying the Iraqis the chance to elect more competent politicians. After the second election cycle I don't think many Repubs would argue that it's time for us to scale down our commitment either.

Posted by: minion on September 13, 2007 at 2:29 AM | PERMALINK

The reason Obama and Edwards have more supporters who are less firmly committed to their man is that they already have a lot of Anybody But Hillary supporters, and they're divided between the two. I want Edwards to win, but when/if it becomes apparent that this is futile, I'll happily throw all my weight behind Obama.

Posted by: Anthony Damiani on September 13, 2007 at 3:59 AM | PERMALINK

My own barometer is the dittoheads I work with, and they to a man say they would vote for Hillary before Edwards.

That should tell you all you need to know to not support HRC.

Yes, it does! After all their years of acting like Hillary is the great liberal standardbearer, they are changing their tune with the realization that she is a lot more conservative than Edwards.

I say 'acting' instead of 'thinking' because I believe it was a sham all along.

I need to agree with someone above that Obama would be a really bad choice as a running mate. I really think Hillary would pick Wes Clark.

Posted by: Dawn on September 13, 2007 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I won't vote for Hillary.

I did support her at one time but she drank the koolaide of burning ambition, speak any lie, spin any issue...she would govern with one thing in mind...a second term...and what she has to do keep that special interest money for a second campaign.

Too bad.

Every day now I get the feeling that I am gonna have to write in a name in the general election.

Posted by: Main Street on September 13, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

I think the public who support Hillary see her as a celebrity.

Somehow they think that since Hillary has been in the news for a while that she's somehow experienced and ready to be president. NONE of the candidates is experienced at BEING president and we don't know how well they will actually do the job.

I guess they don't know she has some pretty shady campaign contributors from overseas.

I guess they don't know she isn't really in favor of unions.

I guess they didn't hear her say she won't do anything about fixing the health care system until her second (2nd) term (if she has one).

I guess they don't know she is just Republican Lite. She was, after all, a Goldwater Girl.

I wonder if they realize she has called for MORE troops in the military than even George Bush wanted.

How could they support all that? It isn't possible. Nope, they're just voting for a pretty face and well-known name.

If they do nominate her the sharp knives will come out in the spring and they'll be shocked...shocked I say to suddenly realize she isn't St. Hillary.

We've got to know our candidates NOW. We can't afford to wait until it's too late to fix an error.

Obama isn't going to be elected. Face it.

Vote for John Edwards -- he can actually win and govern the way we want.

Posted by: MarkH on September 13, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

"I seriously hope that Mrs. Clinton will NOT select Barack Obama as her running mate . . . Instead she needs a respected individual with serious long-standing national security and defense credentials, among other things."

My dream ticket is Clinton-Webb. As for anti-Hillary, Obama's black supporters are not anti-Hillary and they wouldn't jump to Edwards, they'd go to Hil. It is absolutely amazing that a woman candidate is polling so strongly on terrorism, and yet would top polls on 'children and families' as well. Hil is the Ultimate Security Mom.

As for voting Green: in 1996, a friend tried to convince me to vote Green. He made a good case so before I went into the polls, I thought long and hard about my vote. I decided I couldn't let the Repubs get away with the dirty tactics against Bill. Well, the Repubs have only gotten much worse. I hope we'll see a day when the Repubs are just an honest conservative party, not the half-crazy, rat bastard, unAmerican lying scum they are today. Let the Repubs get back to the days of Reagan or Nixon (yes, I said Nixon) and I'd consider voting Green and weathering a Conservative President who I just disagree with, but who isn't going to destroy the country.

And I still say the left underestimates Giuliani. Only Hil can beat him, he would disembowel Obama or Edwards.

Posted by: Canaan on September 13, 2007 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK
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