Weekly Presidential Politics - 5/16/07
Have Democrats hit their head on something hard? Have they had a temporary loss of memory? Why does it feel as if the voters of the Democratic Party have been looking for reasons to vote for Hillary Clinton? This column is neither a critique of her policies nor an evaluation of her odds to win the Democratic nomination (If you want to get my thoughts on odds, check out The Line on the left hand sidebar). This column has one simple goal in mind: Have Democrats forgotten that she can't win the general election??
One can understand why this might happen. She did a terrific job at the debate. She made herself palatable to many Democrats with her candor on the war, as well as her ability to appear tough on terror. For the length of this campaign cycle, she's kept a clear lead over the Democratic field in all national polls. She has the largest campaign war chest in the history of the primaries. She's the most experienced of the Democrats' Big Three. If you're a Democrat, there are a lot of reasons to support Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primary.
However, there's an overwhelming reason not to. It seems Democrats are starting to forget the cause for their previous feeling of trepidation. More than any other candidate on the side of the Dems, Hillary Clinton will get Republicans to show at the polls in November. Surely it's clear to see how significant that is.
As of now, the Republican 2008 field is in trouble. President Bush's heir apparent, John McCain, is getting coupled with an unsuccessful war. Rudy Giuliani's social issues give many Republicans pause. Mitt Romney will never have a chance to be a trustworthy conservative (oxymoron?) until he gets elected to a position outside of Governor of Massachusetts. The rest of the field, like truer conservatives like Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee and the rest, are long shots to garner the GOP's nomination. Ultimately, come general election time, we might not see a full contingent of Republicans at the polls. They won't vote for the Democrat, but they might not vote for their guy either. Clearly, the unmotivated Republicans are running the risk of losing another branch of the United States government.
There is one thing, however, that could rally all Republicans to the polls on November 4, 2008...the idea of the Clintons back in the White House. Some Republicans might stay home if it's Edwards vs. Giuliani or McCain. They might stay home if it's Obama vs. McCain or Romney. They will NOT stay home if it's Hillary Clinton vs. ANYone. A Hillary Clinton nomination unites the right. The entire Republican electorate would mobilize to vote for their nominee, regardless of who it is - Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Andrew Johnson, Darth Sidious, Satan... ANYONE. Their motto, in fact, will be ABH: Anyone But Hillary.
And if the Democrats are smart, that should be their motto, too.