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September 17, 2006


How does a God-fearing Reagan Republican explain all that

Scarborough is disingenous to the max. He was once in the belly of the Beast, and knows the answer to his own question.

Brainstem politics and tax cuts. The Other is coming to kill your children and convert the survivors to Islam and or Teh Gay. And The Other is getting all your money, that you earned.

Works every time.

However, the recent polling suggests it may not work this time. I can see a large swath of disappointed or disaffected GOPers staying home in November. And why would Indies go for the GOP, the people who brought you Iraq and the botched Katrina response?

A couple of notes on Hillary Clinton I wanted to share but didn't want to do a whole post on. First, from the Times:

In her primary contest against an antiwar Democrat with little name recognition and less money, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton mainly ignored him... Now, facing John Spencer, a Republican with little name recognition and even less money, her campaign yesterday signaled a much more aggressive posture for the general election.

The un-generous interpretation is that, wanting to solidify her base and burnish her Dem credentials, she has little to gain by attacking an anti-war Democrat and much more to gain from attacking a Republican. The more generous interpretation is that, given two opponents who pose little threat, she chose to be loyal to the Party and not attack a fellow Dem, and now to use her Republican opponent as a punching-bag to get out a general anti-Republican message for November that may help other races in the state.

Or maybe she just thinks it's never safe to let one's guard down around a Republican opponent in an election year -- from the New Yorker's excellent profile of Bill Clinton, that has lots of great nuggets in it:

Hillary herself said, "Maybe because Bill and I have been through so many elections we know that Democrats have to fight back -- that you can't assume people will see through the blizzard of negativity that is the hallmark of modern Republican campaigns. When Democrats don't fight back, I don't understand it. So that's been a disappointment to me, because of the results that, unfortunately, we've been stuck with now."

Throughout the article the note is sounded that Kerry and Gore both failed to respond aggressively enough to negative attacks, gave in to the delusion that they could rise above it without getting dirty. Say what you may about Hillary, she does seem to understand that when it comes to elections Republicans don't pussyfoot -- and she apparently is not going to give even John Spencer (if you just said "who?" you're not alone) the chance to get in a single solid hit.

I read Joe's article in full and found it refreshing. I do enjoy seeing someone who is honest and secure enough to voice a view that is not always popular with the "base". I know he is a true conservative but, is honest enough to say out loud when he thinks they are wrong.
However, I disagree with his sterotype of Dems have no ideas. Every week at least, the Dems have a press conference and discuss the issues and the party's ideas. It's just, they are never made public. Except on Cspan. If they got some air time, as thier letter to the networks last week said, maybe they could get thier ideas out there for the people.
Until the Dems get air time with real democrats and not talking heads like Shrum, then the sterotype will go on. But, then, maybe the networks want it this way.

Even if Clinton is ambitious only for herself - a charge I don't agree with, BTW - it won't do her any good to be a Democratic President facing a Republican Congress. That is exactly the position her husband was in, and look what it got him.

She might not be as liberal as we would like, and certainly not as reformist as we would like. But she's no Lieberman. A powerful Senator Clinton isn't a bad thing; and a Senator Clinton who can effectively attack Republicans is also not a bad thing.

OK - I think somebody who is currently not in the GOP '08 field will get in, unless Allen rebounds strongly (he fits my criterion of being able to appease all wings of the party; no non-Christians are acceptable either) I have doubts about Huckabee since I learned he raised taxes and the club for growth hates him. So who will it be?

I don't know but the more I think about Hillary, the more interesting it gets. There are two or 3 issues that are starting to stand out to make me think that maybe she actually could avenge the party at this point.

1) there is a certain Justice to the Clintons retaking the white house. It's pretty darn obvious to most "common" americans that Clinton was impeached simply to clip his wings.

2) they have already attacked Hillary so thoroughly that the attacks have lost their punch. Unless she were to have a big scandal, their is little they can say about her that hasn't been said so many times that it just doesn't have the sting it did. No white water this time. No affairs will matter, it will all be old news.

3) Many people are not just "ready for a new president", but absolutely positively fed up with the direction the republicans have taken us. I mean there is a rage among many of my republican friends in my state who really HATE bush and won't be voting republican.

4) Clinton's era was a much "easier" time for the average Joe. No one is "afraid" of the clintons except for the wealthy who fear having to do their fair share when America needs them. Then we have the philanthropic voices of Gates and Buffet making it pretty darn cool to "pay up". Yes, there will be a mean backlash from the corporate crowd, but it won't play well next to the images and likes of Buffet and Gates.

5) It makes history. Americans like to be part of making history. I mean there will be many firsts.

6) We are in desperate need of fiscal responsibility and none of us have to gamble on whether or not the Clintons are capable.

7) Clinton is a known quantity even if you think you hate her. I have a feeling that there is such a large and over zealous "hate Hillary" crowd that some of them are hating her without any rationale. Just contagion, because hate is like that. The thing about that kind of hate, when it has no meaning, is that some folks can be won over. There will be some haters who change their minds and very few who don't hate her, deciding they hate her. It's more likely to cross from the hate to the like column than vice versa. (barring a huge political mistake.)

8) Minorities love the Clintons...no risk for them in that vote. After Katrina this issue will matter more. Any white male is a big risk for minorities in a way that a national election has not experienced in a long time.

9) One of the issues she drew big criticism over was health care...and now she looks like quite the visionary. Most americans see this issue as one of the top problems in their life. (me speaks as someone who went from full coverage, since last election to a health saving account and a 4000 family deductible.) It has the potential to actually become a strength...not a weakness if she uses it well. She now understands the enemy so to speak. There's a lot to be said for that.

I don't know, I really was afraid she would get the nomination. Now, I wonder if there will ever be a better set of variables to support the installation of our first woman president. How much worse would a republican have to get for America to be ready to make the switch?? Seems like this could be it. There's a lot at stake but there are a lot of things about Hillary that make her less of a risk where it matters most. I realize now why the republicans need to hit the "blame Clinton" issue so hard. They really are scared to death that Hillary could get the nomination. They are still running against him because they fear him and her together. I kind of like that abc made their play and no one really cared. It's old news. They would have loved to break up the power pair. They are everything the republicans hate. Equality. A true marriage of equal partners not the unilateral marriage.

I don't know...I am keeping an open mind. But the storm is brewing and the variables are falling together in an interesting way. The battle will be contentious no matter what but I feel certain that if anyone is up to that battle it is them. (the clintons)

Hillary could win. I didn't used to think so. Whether that's a good thing remains to be seen.

As DemFromCT (I think) says, Hillary's main selling point for me is that she is a fierce and experienced campaigner and skillful politician and I think she would run a hell of a race. On the other hand, we recently nominated a candidate by virtue of his "electability" (and by "we" I mean two states where I don't live) and that didn't go so hot. So I am somewhat gun-shy of picking a candidate for his or her campaigning and not because he or she is someone I really like and want to see in office.

Katie J.: I have a feeling that there is such a large and over zealous "hate Hillary" crowd that some of them are hating her without any rationale... The thing about that kind of hate, when it has no meaning, is that some folks can be won over.

The New Yorker profile points out that, as Bush's staff realized, you can have 40% of the people despise you and not even worry about winning those folks over. If Hillary ran I would not be surprised to see the lesson that the 50% + 1% strategy can be used by either side.

The other note is that, seeing as she's such a good campaigner but not someone I really find myself in sync with on policy, it is sort of disappointing that the only "highest point" one can see for politicians in this country is President. I wish that being the first female Senate majority leader or DSCC chair had the same cachet, because I would love to see her in a long-term leadership/campaign position. But I can't wish for her to find people thinking she stopped at some intermediate post because she wasn't "big" enough to run for President.

Yea, it really is a strange position to be in. I had decided years ago that I would vote for Elizabeth Dole if she ran back in (2000?? I think) just because it seemed the thing to do. Today I wouldn't put a republican back in the white house if it were Mohatma Ghandi just because of the whole "regime" thing. But I am a firm believer in affirmative action and sometimes that means putting principles above personalities. Keeping an open mind, but it is at the very least "interesting". I can still remember Helen Reddy accepting her grammy for "I am woman" and how she referred to God as "she". That sparked the first discussion in my household (I was in 2nd grade) about having a female president. I can still remember hoping that Shirley Chissolm would win someday. (bless her soul). I can't help it.

Katie, Nothing will convince me that Hillary would be anything other than the 3rd or 4th best candidate we could nominate.

It's about likeability and message discipline; about not getting the tone wrong when you talk to reporters (something HRC still does) Campaign performance, not merit, is what this is about.

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