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January 26, 2005

Clinton 2.0

Da Moose is right, Hillary is making the sweet moves. If Bill's enormous charisma and obvious potential gave him the credibility to cross liberals on key policies (or symbols), Hillary's position as bugaboo of the right and liberal icon is allowing her to assume unorthodox stances on issues where progressives desperately need some creative repositioning. And it's freedom she's taking, at least if her efforts to stake out consensus ground on choice and tougher, but fairer, positions on immigration reform are admissible as evidence.

I've said it before, but after spending three years laughing at Hillary for President remarks, I'm starting to take them quite seriously. Now, if I could only power through The Right Nation and The Persian Puzzle, maybe I could get to Hillary's Turn and give you all a feel for her abilities as a campaigner. Ah, bookshelf, why must you mock me so?

January 26, 2005 in Election 2008 | Permalink

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Comments

I don't see how her choice position is a change, though I have seen it called that all over. Pro-Choice has ALWAYS been about women having the right to control when they have children. It starts with choosing your partner -- the right to say no, protection from sexual assault -- and moves to access to safe and effective birth contol and only ends with abortion as a last choice.

The truth is, the right defined the issue and we let them. Hillary is only reclaiming and restating our true postion.

That said, I still don't think she should run for President.

Posted by: Poppy McCool | Jan 26, 2005 4:01:35 PM

And she voted for Rice. Which further proves she has no balls.

Posted by: fasteddie | Jan 26, 2005 4:32:42 PM

No, no, no, not Hillary. We can't nominate anyone from the northeast. That was Kerry's biggest problem. It has to be someone from the south or the heartland. It shouldn't be that way, but it is and we have to face it.

(I know she's originally from the Midwest, but she will be seen as a New Yorker now.)

Posted by: wvmcl | Jan 26, 2005 4:42:40 PM

And she voted for Rice.

and the war, too. Fuck her.

Posted by: benjoya | Jan 26, 2005 4:50:41 PM

Hillary for President= Jeb Bush electoral landslide.

Posted by: Ron Mashate | Jan 26, 2005 5:05:19 PM

Why even discuss 2008 now? It is utterly pointless, bordering on counterproductive. There are clearly 1000s of other tasks to complete between now and the next Iowa caucus - and moving the Iowa Caucuses further back in the calendar is one of them. Please drop this talk immediately.

Posted by: Tom DC/VA | Jan 26, 2005 6:53:46 PM

When's the last time a Senator won the presidency again? Frankly, we don't need someone with all the baggage that actually voting on legislation brings.

Posted by: Boronx | Jan 26, 2005 8:05:15 PM

Tom DC/VA, (Babba So. MD) You're right, I know some 'moderates', and they wouldn't vote for her NO MATTER WHAT. I like her personally, and she may even be sincere.
There is some strategizing going on with our elected Dems, apparently. I guess they think this is a good tactic. Just as they thought having only 12 Dems vote against Rice was a good thing. How do we get them to understand that their base needs some attention? That their base gave them all that money last time? I adore Sen. Boxer and I was thrilled to listen to Sen. Biden but it's just not enough. And my Senators, Mikulski and Sarbanes, are in some of the safest seats there are. But they voted for Rice. I'm so frustrated. I wrote to both 2 weeks ago giving an overview of what I expect from them, covering everything from Gonzoles to education, and so far have received one letter from Sarbanes explaining his position on Social Secruity, which I did mention in my letter, but I mentioned a whole lot more than that. Sheeesh! He's done nothing to help my blood pressure.

Posted by: Babba | Jan 26, 2005 8:22:57 PM

Ezra, I have to respectfully disagree with you on this. What gave Bill the ability to cross liberals was not, as you suggest, "enormous charisma and obvious potential," but a man by the name of Ross Perot, who effectively split the vote in a way that handed him two elections.

Clinton is no idol of true progressives. Indeed, anyone who feels that gay rights should be of primary concern (as should anyone who calls him- or herself a liberal) finds very little for which to thank Clinton, the architect of DOMA.

And as for progressives desperately needing some creative repositioning, I agree, but the solution is not running to the center; it's by repositioning progressive arguments as true American values, as opposed to the thuggish and disingenuous policies that are masquerading as them now.

Posted by: Shakespeare's Sister | Jan 26, 2005 9:13:00 PM

Excuse me? The Hillary who just voted for Rice? She and Feinstein and the rest of the weasels can try their luck in the Republican primaries if they want, but I do intend to vote for Democrats in the Democratic ones. Even if I have to write in my cat.

Posted by: Jim Flannery | Jan 26, 2005 10:08:26 PM

While the thought of Hilary running in 2008 is nearly enough to make me either give up drinking or do a hell of a lot more of it, I'm not so sure that Perot handed the election to Clinton in either '92 or '96. There is a good case to be made in 1992, and not much of one in 1996.

Your own source (cited on your blog) says that "[w]hen Perot supporters were asked what they would do if, in November, it looked like Perot could not win, 36% said they would vote for Perot anyway, while 26% said they would switch to Bush, 30% said they would switch to Clinton, and 8% expressed no opinion." Note that a higher number of voters would have chosen Clinton than would have chosen Bush.

Doing a little back-of-the-envelope math, if 40% of Perot voters voted for Clinton, Clinton still wins the popular vote by roughly 2%. The percentage of Perot voters who needed to go to Clinton could have been lower if a significant number of Perot voters didn't vote at all, of course. How they actually would have voted is damn hard to say, since so many of them didn't give an opinion--but Clinton apparently did lead among the ones who did.

In 1996, on the other hand, Perot didn't do much besides increase Clinton's margin of victory. Dole's only chance was for all of Perot's voters to switch their votes to him instead of Perot.

So I think the idea that Perot turned the election over to Clinton isn't well supported. Perot's real effect on the race was almost certainly in raising issues that otherwise never would have raised.

Speaking anecdotally, my wife loved Perot (although she eventually voted for Clinton). On the other hand, my father and step-mother (who met at a Young Republican dance when they were both nearly 40) both voted for Clinton. He regreted it for the rest of his life, which he spent channelling Rush Limbaugh, but the Religious Right pissed him off.

Posted by: M. | Jan 27, 2005 12:43:39 AM

M - You're right about that source, although I read others that argued the opposite, which I would link to, but at the moment I'm too lazy and tired to go find them. I think the point still stands, however, that Clinton was not a runaway success, the way he is often made out to be by the Left. I'm frankly more concerned with the peculiar habit we have of lionizing Clinton (which doesn't serve us well for many reasons), while relegating Gore (for example) to the political wilderness for the dreadful sin of having won the majority of the popular vote. I'm not saying Gore is deserving of some kind of iconic status; I'm just offering the opinion that Clinton probably isn't, either.

Funny enough, my father, who had been a Dem his whole life, also regrets voting for Clinton (I don't, btw), although he seems to be spending the rest of his days in his den affixed in front of Fox News letting Bill O'Reilly fire up his self-righteous ire. I always know what particular flavor of steam his head will be full of when I visit, if I read the Talking Points Memo before I go. :-)

Posted by: Shakespeare's Sister | Jan 27, 2005 1:28:55 AM

There's nothing unorthodox - not a single syllable - about what Hillary said about abortion. It's been the position of the pro-choice side forever.

Posted by: eRobin | Jan 27, 2005 8:33:34 AM

Ah, obviously you've been listening to the Medium Lobster, Ezra.

Indeed, if there's any constituency that stands to warm to Senator Clinton, it has to be single issue pro-life conservatives, who are finally ready to embrace the senator after over a decade of believing her to be a radical Communist demon queen who murdered Vince Foster in cold blood to prevent him from telling the truth about her secret coven of lesbian witches. With their Hillary-hatred nearly exhausted, social conservatives are now a fertile new demographic waiting for exploration! But how long will it take for the rest of the Democratic Party to figure it out? If Barbara Boxer starts denouncing the menace of illegal immigration and Ted Kennedy promises to clamp down on the gay agenda, it could save this party yet!

Personally, I think that Hillary running would be the worst thing for the Democratic party. Not only a Senator from a Northeastern Blue State, but one who comes pre-despised by, to take a voting bloc at random, the entire South.

No, I think the Dems should start looking at Bill Richardson or Brian Schweitzer. And I mean seriously looking. Fuck the North East: tried it, doesn't work. Fuck appealing to the South as well: Dems aren't winning that for another two election cycles at best. Have a look at where Dems are winning in the West, and it's not because they're pandering to abortionists, it's because they're pushing environmentalism and repudiating the party's perceived standpoint on gun control.

Pay attention. Those are the kinds of Democrats who win elections and don't have to sell out women to do it. It used to be that "The Left" was the people's voice, the pro-labour, pro-worker parties all sit here. Then you let Gov Bush come in with his boots and his belt buckles and his faux-stupid persona, and you put two guys in suits against him.

Moving on gays and abortion won't get you the south and it won't get you anywhere else, either. Stand firm on gays and abortion, move on reclaiming the Democratic party as the party of the underdog fighting against big business, not of the intellectual elitist in Massachussets.

And don't, whatever you do, nominate fucking Hillary Clinton.

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