Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Run, Hill, Run

Dining in Washington recently with three allies from New Hampshire, which has the first-in-the-nation primary, Mrs. Clinton was by turns probing and absorbing and, a participant said, clearly informed. How did the Democrats manage to unseat the state’s two Republican members of Congress? What were the key issues? And who were the new players to have emerged there in the 10 years since she last visited — and since her husband, Bill Clinton, used a strong second-place finish in the New Hampshire primary to vault his way to the Democratic nomination and the White House 15 years ago?

“She’s always been a student of government and of how you get there,” said Patricia McMahon, one of the dinner guests, a former Clinton White House aide who is now a state representative.

This meeting was one of a series of nearly nonstop political consultations that Mrs. Clinton has engaged in — over dinner and drinks, at private offices and at her home in Washington — since Election Day, in what her advisers say are preparations for a probable announcement that she is taking the first steps into the presidential campaign.

Mrs. Clinton, the New York Democrat, was described by participants as leaving little doubt that she plans to run, without saying so directly. Depending on her audience, she appears to be either seeking information to use in campaign strategy, pressing potential supporters to hold tight and wait for her to announce, or gauging how certain issues — in particular, her initial vote for the war in Iraq —might play.

The sessions are the subject of much discussion in Democratic circles, and they seem designed in part to counter any impression that Mrs. Clinton is surrounded by an insular circle of longtime advisers and friends who are detached from many of the grassroots Democrats who have grown in influence since the last time a Clinton ran for president.

According to participants, Mrs. Clinton has pressed to find out everything from whether former Vice President Al Gore will run again (he is inclined not to, people tell her) to how much support remains for Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the party’s 2004 candidate, among Democratic leaders (anemic, she has heard).

Mrs. Clinton told Democrats that she viewed her two strongest potential Democratic opponents as Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina. They said that she viewed Mr. Obama as her biggest obstacle to the nomination, but that she believed the threat of his candidacy will diminish as voters learn how inexperienced he is in government and foreign affairs.
Source: New York Times

I know it's fashionable to poo-poo Hillary Clinton's chances in 2008. "She's unelectable!" drone the whingers. "She's divisive!"

So--lemme get this straight, O Hypothetical Whinger. You're saying that Hillary should sit on her hands because she's hated by people who would never vote for her, or any Democrat, in the first place? Boy... That's some first-class logic there.

The one criticism I've heard that rings true to me goes something like this: "By 2008, we'll have spent the last 20 years with either a Clinton or a Bush in the White House -- Why make it 24 or 28?" In other words, why not bring in some New Blood?

That sounds good, so--Let's see who's on deck.

John Edwards--Flake. Ambulance Chaser. Little experience in government, no experience in foreign policy. (I shudder to think how he would answer the question, "is al qaeda a Sunni organization or Shia?") He couldn't even win a debate with Dick Cheney.

And I'm still pissed at him for that gay-baiting remark.

Just the other day, he punted when asked about gay marriage. Grow some balls, man.

John Kerry, Schmuck. If he runs--and it sure does seem like he's a-runnin'--he's gonna get his ass handed to him in the primaries. Does he want his political epitaph to be "narrowly lost to one of the worst presidents in American history" or does he want it to be, "was repudiated by his own party after narrowly losing to one of the worst presidents in American history?"

And then there's Barack Obama. I like him. He's charming. He seems intelligent. He's a brilliant public speaker (the best in contention by miles.)

I want to be convinced he's the right pick, but as of now, I don't think it's his time.

He has even less governing experience than Edwards, and--again--zilch on foreign policy. (Somebody, please ask him the Sunni/Shia question -- and let that be a bellweather for all prospective candidates for national office in 2008.)

I think Obama should bide his time, pay his dues, gain some experience--and revisit this question after he's grown some hair on his chest (or gets reelected to the Senate, whichever comes first).

That leaves Hillary. Even people who loathe her admit her tenure in the Senate has been marked by intelligence, hard work, and bipartisanship.

She thrives on a lively exchange of ideas (unlike the man she seeks to replace). She's a pragmatist (again, unlike the man she seeks to replace).

Experience? She spent 8 years in a West Wing office learning first-hand how to run a successful domestic and foreign policy. Her closest adviser is, himself, a 2 term president. It's the return of "two-for-one." Only, this time, it actually means something.

I don't agree with her 100% of the time -- Frankly, she's too conservative for my taste and I think she's got Maggie Thatcher syndrome written all over her (gotta be tougher than the men) -- But I am sure she's always done her homework. And yours. And mine.

There's something to be said about being the smartest person in the room -- Particularly when the next president will be tasked with unraveling the current president's various clusterfucks.

And that's why she's gonna win. Because, after 8 years of Bush, it's about competence, (stupid).


Blogger Blobby said...

I agree with what you're saying here. And though he'll never win either, Kucinich is the only truly 'left' candidate out there. In some ways he'll need to hold the Dems in check for the centrist and right leanings.

I won't vote republican - but if Kerry is ever nominated i won't vote democrat either. I made THAT mistake last time.

1/6/07, 7:16 AM  
Anonymous jeff said...

i think you just have to remember that thing that churchill said: "when things seem darkest.... looks really black outside. or something like that.

it was really profound when he read it, and people got hope again and made sandbags and won the war.

Just think about THAT!

1/6/07, 11:30 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

Well-said, Jeff! Snerk.

blobby--I agree with you on Kerry. I held my nose and pulled the lever for him in 2004, but never again. My hatred for him has only grown, and his bumbling remarks just prior to the mid-terms show he's still not ready for prime time.

re: Kucinich... I also wish he'd just sit down and shut up. Do we want to have a knock-down/drag-out intra-party debate and watch a republican get elected, or do we want to fucking WIN?

I just wish the left wing of the party could have a smart, articulate, charming, pragmatic standard-bearer? And not a closet case, please.

Is that such a tall order?

1/7/07, 3:47 PM  

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