Weekly Presidential Politics - 8/22/07
The ’07 Seven Candidates of Summer Series
Previous candidates: Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, and the "Other Guys."
Here's the deal about Hillary Clinton: She can win the general election. No, she's not the Democrats' best bet, but talk of her unfavorable numbers making her unelectable are overblown. Karl Rove's recent public attacks on her electability are his attempt to perpetuate this idea that she can't win. The guy's a master politician for the GOP. Why would this political genius attack an opponent in her primary when he claims she could easily be defeated in the general election? Does that make any sense? I mean, at all? If she was so easy to topple in November 2008, would Rove put her nominaton in jeopardy? Of course not.
That doesn't mean there aren't risks with a Clinton nomination, and that'll be addressed later in this blog. For now, let's examine her two biggest strengths:
1) Her husband.
These two assets have the potential to propel her to the White House. Her husband, along with everything that comes with him (massive political network, White House and foreign experience, infectious personality), is an advantage to the Clinton campaign. If you ask Democrats and Independents, many explain the best part about a Hillary Clinton victory is knowing Bill will be close to every big decision.
Senator Clinton has also helped herself. Her performance in the debates have been exemplary. She's playing the "experience card" despite this year kicking off only her second term in public office. Her big lead in national polls allows her to go with the "don't screw up" strategy. She can consult with Bill and her team at every step and plan the best course of action for the campaign.
Of course, this leads to many describing Senator Clinton as "calculating," which is as accurate as it is understandable. She can sit on her lead in the polls, conserving money, take hertime and make smart, political decisions. The problem with this slow burn is that it excites no one. Barack Obama is famous for his oratory and attempt to spark change in Washington. John Edwards is noticably frustrated and furious with progressive issues not being addressed by either party. Both have, pound-for-pound, more passionate fan bases than Clinton.
Still, the greatest concern for Democrats and the Clinton-leaning voter is that pesky electability issue. Earlier I argued that she can win, and this is true. In fact, you could make a case that she's the favorite to be the next President! She is, after all, the favorite of the party that is the favorite to win the election.
All is not perfect or resolved. Republicans hate Clinton like Democrats hate Reagan. Much of the GOP is ashamed of their party, and while they wouldn't go as far as to support a Democrat next November, they might stay home and not vote Republican. But if Hillary Clinton is the nominee? They just might. There is fear among Democrats, as I outlined months ago, that a Clinton nomination brings Republicans out of the woodworks like no other candidate would do.
Ultimately, the Democrats are clearly playing with fire. In such a crucial and wide open election, one where a Democrat is actually supposed to win, nominating a wildcard like Hillary Clinton (or, for that matter, the young, inexperienced, and dare I say it, "un-white" Barack Obama) is questionable politics. Yet the national Democratic electorate still heavily favors her.
That's the Democratic Party for you.
I hope you enjoyed the Summer Series here at 1%. Thanks for reading. More presidential politics can be found at my site, Presidential Politics for America.