« Ouch | Main | Clinton The Fighter »

August 03, 2006

Hillary for Minority Leader?

Steve Clemons claims he's got some tip-top sources on a potential Reid-Clinton deal wherein Hillary would withdraw from 2008 and, in return, Reid would bequeath her the minority/majority leader position in 2009. A few points:

• If true, this is Reid's way of signaling he thinks her candidacy will be a debacle for the Party, and a disaster for her.

• Steve writes that "Reports are that Senator Clinton herself knows this and that her own enthusiasm for running actually trails that of her husband, her advisors, and her staff -- whose enthusiasm for the race is ranked in that order with Hillary the least enthusiastic." That's incorrect. Folks in the know tell me that Bill is actually the least enthused about her candidacy, as he believes McCain will be the 2008 nominee and no Democrat can defeat him. I wouldn't be surprised if Hillary, slowly realizing that her left flank if collapsing, may be grudgingly accepting Bill's conclusion.

• This deal would actually make an enormous amount of sense. I've been arguing for years that Hillary's natural place is as leader of the Senate Democrats. There, her megaphone, fundraising prowess, and media attention can enable even a minority caucus to enter the debate on even footing with the right. Additionally, she's shown an astounding ability to compromise, make allies out of enemies, and fit the collegial culture of the Senate. Those aren't qualities that suit her to the coming presidential race, but they leave her an excellent candidate for majority leader.

• It's possible that the netroots' and lefty distaste for her is showing up in polling, influencers, or folks her advisors talk with. If they realize she lacks solid support from the base and is too polarized to easily capture the center, she may back off. While those trends haven't yet manifested in polls, Kos's Washington Post op-ed and general online anger may be convincing her team that it's only a matter of time before she faces a full-out rebellion. And imagine the embarrassment if all their money and prestige and power fell to, say, John Edwards, whom the primary calendar now advantages.

• This deal is unlikely to happen.

August 3, 2006 | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c572d53ef00d8342ab2e253ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Hillary for Minority Leader?:

Comments

Word perfect post except that I would say that this deal is very unlikely to happen.

Posted by: LowLife | Aug 3, 2006 2:39:17 PM

A downside is that in the very likely case that a Dem President isn't elected in 2008, then Hillary would be the public leader of the Democratic Party. I don't really desire her for that role whether it is from the White House or the Senate.

Posted by: Tony v | Aug 3, 2006 2:50:02 PM

As long as she's not President. I simply can not handle another 4 years of Clinton-obsessed rightwingers spouting made up shit on a constant basis. I know they do it to every Democrat, but it seems like it's an order of magnitude worse when a Clinton is involved.

Posted by: spike | Aug 3, 2006 2:52:50 PM

Hilary's best political move is to become a kingmaker, that is to adopt the pose of someone seeking the right candidate and ready to throw substantial fundraising help and the loyalty of a substantial faction behind the chosen one.

Such a move cleanses Hilary of some of her biggest negatives, which are associated with perceptions of her personal ambition. Undoubtedly, a kingmaker role would be interpreted thru that same filter, as further evidence of personal ambition, and not selfless concern for the country. But, even, then with the right rhetoric, from the position, Hilary could work at eroding the personal ambition meme.

This whole scheme would work particularly well if she chose to support Al Gore or John Edwards (or both), because they are both practically saints, given their idealistic personal committments.

Posted by: Bruce Wilder | Aug 3, 2006 3:38:17 PM

Hey...wait a minute.

Wouldn't this be one of those back, smoke-filled room private deals the libs are so fond of attacking?

Posted by: Fred Jones | Aug 3, 2006 3:59:31 PM

If it happens (and I don't think that Slick Willy's political instincts are always right), a McCain victory is very likely to be the best thing to happen to the Democratic Party since Nixon.

Posted by: sglover | Aug 3, 2006 4:21:08 PM

If it happens (and I don't think that Slick Willy's political instincts are always right), a McCain victory is very likely to be the best thing to happen to the Democratic Party since Nixon.

Posted by: sglover | Aug 3, 2006 4:21:56 PM

If it happens (and I don't think that Slick Willy's political instincts are always right), a McCain victory is very likely to be the best thing to happen to the Democratic Party since Nixon.

Posted by: sglover | Aug 3, 2006 4:22:58 PM

Oy.... Sorry for the triple posts.

Posted by: sglover | Aug 3, 2006 4:23:25 PM

If the Democrats can't beat a Republican, any Republican, in 2008, after two terms of the worst mismanagement by any party in the history of the world (I'm projecting here, but does anybody not see the downward trend of the last 5 1/2 years continuing?), then we might as well just fold up the whole enterprise and start over. I'm specifically referring to the party, but the same probably will apply to the country as well.

Posted by: mrgumby2u | Aug 3, 2006 4:40:27 PM

i agree with the last post, and i feel that i need to reiterate again, that i see dim hopes for our future, without a gore presidency.
i dont believe any possible contenders in either party, with the exception of al gore, have the integrity, vision, grasp or depth to take on the presidency at such a critical and precarious time.
mccain will make faustian bargains for personal power and i no longer see him as a man of high character and principle...edwards has little foreign policy experience, hilary will bring more bitter polarity and controversy and i see no other statesmen of mettle and wisdom anywhere.
....i hope that others will agree, who read this, will have some ideas about trying to create a unity and massive grass roots movement to encourage al gore to run, and to work and support him as a candidate with passion and method.
....i see no other hope...the light is surely dimming and the stakes are very high.
....i wish al gore would read this...i really do.
any single voice might make a difference. this is a plea...where else can one go with it?

Posted by: jacqueline | Aug 3, 2006 5:07:52 PM

I think McCain wins 2008 unless the press suddenly stops fellating him, and the evidence presaging that is scant and none.

As for Hillary anywhere but as a candidate, count me in. She's not the worst Senator with a (D) after her name, but she pisses me off more than most. As majority leader, she's harmless or even useful.

Fred, man, that whole prison rape thing had you a little emasculated. Is "smoke-filled rooms" the best you can do? Buck up, big fella -- we're all pulling for you.

Posted by: wcw | Aug 3, 2006 5:57:04 PM

I really think that Hillary is the Democrats' strongest contender.

Posted by: slickdpdx | Aug 3, 2006 6:03:46 PM

"As long as she's not President. I simply can not handle another 4 years of Clinton-obsessed rightwingers spouting made up shit on a constant basis."

The only thing that will be worse is the 4 years of Clinton-hating from the left, including Ezra. I can hear it now:"Russ or little Johnny could have swept both houses. ended all the wars, passed universal health care, ended poverty, gotten us free energy, and balanced the budget. Pony for everybody. Damn divisive Hillary"

The Clinton-hating is getting ridiculous and contemptible. Ezra will blaming Hillary for the heat any minute now.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Aug 3, 2006 7:35:47 PM

Clinton-hating, Bob? We're very happy with the idea of her being the most powerful Senator in America.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Aug 3, 2006 8:04:24 PM

I'm not buying the "McCain is invincible" stuff. He is a volatile personality that the Borg(er... GOP) will have trouble controlling. And we know how much they hate that. Also, he will have to tack straight to the right to get Big Love from the fundies. When that happens, we'll see if the media love is still there.

The other thing that nobody talks about is his health. The guy is a two-time loser with melanoma- a nasty and unpredictable cancer. The odds of him developing metastatic disease OR a third primary melanoma is actually pretty high. I'm not sure the GOP powers that be are willing to put all their eggs in that basket (especially since many of them doubt that he is actually a true believer).

Posted by: pdxmike | Aug 3, 2006 8:59:17 PM

This story is pure bullshit.

Harry Reid has no power to enter into any deals with Hillary Clinton and make her Senate Dem leader. He doesn't decide. Individual senators vote in secret ballots and pick their leader. Harry Reid gets one vote and one vote only.

I also don't believe the part about Bill Clinton. He is an eternal optimist. Hell, he announced for president when Poppy was 80% at the polls. He is an optimist to a fault.

Posted by: Nan | Aug 3, 2006 9:06:52 PM

If anyone is interested in how to beat McCain, I'd strongly recommend my old Bipartisan Maverick Destruction Advice. (The strategy therein is deeply compatible with Hillary as majority leader!)

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Aug 3, 2006 9:27:51 PM

Harry Reid has no power to enter into any deals with Hillary Clinton and make her Senate Dem leader. He doesn't decide. Individual senators vote in secret ballots and pick their leader. Harry Reid gets one vote and one vote only.

If you believe that Harry Reid has the same amount of power as Ken Salazar, you're very naive.

Posted by: Hamilton Lovecraft | Aug 3, 2006 9:42:29 PM

The other thing that nobody talks about is his health. The guy is a two-time loser with melanoma- a nasty and unpredictable cancer. The odds of him developing metastatic disease OR a third primary melanoma is actually pretty high. I'm not sure the GOP powers that be are willing to put all their eggs in that basket (especially since many of them doubt that he is actually a true believer).

I agree about his health-- and even aside from the melanoma, he's getting ojn up there-- but I don't think that would bother the GOP, because they'd almost certainly make sure a real whackjob like Brownback would be McCain's VP.

Posted by: latts | Aug 3, 2006 10:49:19 PM

I have to say, though -- I love the job Harry has done as Minority Leader. The dude is a master tactician and if we get a Senate majority someday, I want him at the chessboard.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Aug 3, 2006 11:14:20 PM

Regarding Hillary's political instincts vs. Bill's, I remember reading this paragraph from My Life, about his decision not to run for president in 1988:

Finally, Hillary was happy I didn't run because she disagreed with the conventional widsom that the Democrats were likely to win in 1988. She didn't think the Reagan Revolution had run its course and believed that, despite the Iran-Contra affair, George Bush would win as a more moderate version of Reagan. Four years later, when the prospects for victory looked much darker, with President Bush's approval ratings over 70 percent, Hillary encouraged me to run. As usual, she was right both times.
--p. 335

Besides, I think Hillary is also going to remember all the advice she got from pundits, liberals, and many close advisors in her personal and professional circle in 1999: "For the love of God, don't run for the Senate! You can't win! Oh my God, what if you lose?? Hold off, wait to run for the Senate in Illinois in 2004."

Fast-forward a few years: "Oh no, Hillary, please, please, please don't run for President! You'll never win! Hold off, become part of the Senate leadership in 2009."

Hillary is very experienced with the "To Run, or Not To Run" question, and so far, the record indicates she has good judgment on this stuff. We'll see what she decides to do in 2007.

Posted by: Chris | Aug 3, 2006 11:55:33 PM

Not to quibble, but Hillary's negatives are indeed "manifested in the polls."

According to PollingReport.com 47% of the people CNN/Harris Interactive polled in June would "definitely not vote for Hillary (22% definitely would), the same number who would never vote for John Kerry. The negatives for Al Gore were slightly worse, at 48%. (The number that restored my faith in the sanity of the nation was that 63% wouldn't vote for Jeb Bush under any circumstances.)

Hillary's negatives are consistent with a May ABC News/Washington Post Poll, showing her alienating 42% in a head-to-head match-up with John McCain. That is a better number than she received in CNN's January run-off against Condoleeza Rice where a majority, 51% said they would never vote for Hillary.

Many of those same polls have McCain beating all comers.

Posted by: Mark Adams | Aug 4, 2006 2:33:54 AM

Re: "Folks in the know tell me that Bill ... believes McCain will be the 2008 nominee and no Democrat can defeat him."

Just perchance, are these "folks in the know" from the McCain campaign?

Posted by: focus | Aug 4, 2006 4:15:32 AM

Folks in the know tell me that Bill is actually the least enthused about her candidacy, as he believes McCain will be the 2008 nominee and no Democrat can defeat him.

I'd triple check any scoops you get from these "folks in the know", Ezra. I don't believe for a second that Bill Clinton worries about losing against an unbeatable Republican. Bill was one of the "seven dwarves" who ran against the unbeatable George Bush in 1992, just after the dramatic success of the first Gulf War. And, honestly, McCain will have a hard time getting the nomination in 2008, never mind winning the general election.

Posted by: Mike | Aug 4, 2006 4:29:33 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.