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Posted by on Dec 4, 2006 in At TMV | 13 comments

To Hillary Or Not To Hillary?

Given the way politics works, it sounds like New York Senator Hillary Clinton is off and running, according to the New York Times:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has begun a calculated series of meetings with top New York Democratic officials to signal that she is likely to run for the presidency in 2008 and to ask for their support if she does, according to one state Democratic official who spoke with her and two others who have been briefed on her plans.

It’s good news and bad news for Democrats who are now pondering:

To Hillary, or not to Hillary: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous demonization,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing try to neutralize them? To battle conservative talk show hosts: to counter negative TV ads and conservative bloggers;
No more; and by choosing someone else like Obama we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That her health care proposal was heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To find someone safer, to choose Hillary;
To possibly lose the White House in 2008: perchance to dream that people will accept her recent centrist Senate record and popularity with New York constituents: ay, there’s the rub;
For in that problem of imagery is what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off the spin from the media, her camp’s hype and her foes’ grudges,
Must give us pause: there’s the respect
That makes calamity of political baggage;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of Rush Limbaugh,
The Hannity’s wrong, the proud liberal Democrats’ agenda,
The pangs of Bill’s love, the blasts from Tom DeLay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When some safer candidate might his quietus make
With less hassle? who would baggage bear,
To grunt and sweat under negative impressions,
But that the dread of something after national nomination,
The undiscover’d scandal or Swiftboating from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus political expediency does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought, and losses of political coattails,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action. – Soft you now!
The fair Obama! Ms. Clinton, in thy orisons
Be all thy sins remember’d, recounted, exaggerated and feared…

For some less poetic but perhaps as dramatic political analysis be sure to read:

Ed Morrissey (who looks at electability problems)

Arianna Huffington (who thinks the Times wrote a condescending story about a self-evident development)

James Joyner (who puts the Hillary story within the context of the Barack Obama Presidential boomlet story)

Iowa Voice (who predicts the unelectible line will be dumped by the press once she’s more officially in the race)

Poliblog (who looks at it from a cool political scientist’s point of view)

Additional News Stories About Hillary Possibly Gearing Up
New York Daily News
New York Post

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Copyright 2006 The Moderate Voice
  • Geez, Joe, the DF&C and I were just discussing Hillary’s electability when your post went up.

    My own quick take: Hillary, substantially through no fault of her own, is an enormously divisive person. Presidents must be uniters, not dividers. This alone disqualifies her.

  • Gary

    I don’t agree with Andrew Sullivan on a lot of things, but he did change my mind on Hillary. I don’t have any majore problem with her and would vote for her if she took the nomination.

    But she would galvanize the Republican base in a way no one else probably could, and at a time when there are deep fractures there. I still don’t get why she is so divisive, but she is.

    In truth, the Clintons were big on passing conservative legislation to shore themselves up. I didn’t like a lot of the things they ran on. Much as I am sure many Republicans are upset with the new Medicare program.

  • Congrats to our political Shakespeare.

    I hope she runs and am open to voting for her depending on the alternatives.

    I am most looking forward to how the middle is courted by all the candidates.

  • superdestroyer

    The timing is right for Hillary to run now. If she passes now her next turn would come in eight years. and she would be running while being 69 y/o.

    If she passes, it becomes a cakewalk for Obama who could easily be the next Jimmy Carter.

  • Elrod

    Hillary is far more divisive than Bill. In the early 1990s she conjured up images of the “uppity” woman who simultaneously controlled her husband and turned the world upside down. The various sex scandals made her look cold and calculating, not a sympathetic victim.

    I can say as a Democrat that she has very little genuine appeal to me or any other Democrat I know. And most people I know are Democrats! Sure, we’d all vote for her in the general. Sure, we think she’d probably make a fine President. She’d appoint good judges for one thing. But she is a huge turnoff politically. It’s not that she’s a woman. It’s that she’s a female version of the last few stiffs we had running from the Democratic side. My wife pointed out something that seemed to encapsulate Hillary’s personality flaw. At her victory speech on November 7, she had nobody on stage with her. We watched stage after stage with candidates and their families, friends and supporters. But then there was Hillary, all alone. It’s one thing to look like you’ve been there before; sort of like LaDainian Tomlinson just passing the ball to the ref after a TD. But in politics, you want to show a little love to those who supported you.

    It’s her cold and calculating persona that turns voters off. But it’s also the fear that, as Andrew Sullivan says, Hillary will re-unite the Right like no other candidate. Democrats know very well what the Limbaugh types will throw at her. In many ways, she created the frothing right wing in response. Will that ultimately help the Dems? Probably not, given that she doesn’t have Bill’s charisma to overcome the unhinged Right.

  • Lynx

    For me the issue is that Hillary will unite the Right, and divide the left, not exactly a winning formula.

    Conservatives tend to universally loathe her. Liberals go from dislike to weary resignation. It’s John Kerry all over again, getting votes against Bush, not for him. That’s no way to win the presidency, I don’t believe she would win. For once I’d like to be inspired, not depressed, by who I vote for. And I’ll repeat myself, I want someone who’s name isn’t Bush or Clinton, last I checked, this was a democracy, not an oligarchy.

  • It’s kind of ironic that on the day that there is so much talk about Hillary running and whether she is a divisive figure, John Bolton gave up because of pretty much the same rap.

  • I wrote a week ago that in my gut, Hillary doesn’t get the nomination. I’m in Ohio and I fear a Blackwell-type problem – the primary voters go for her, but not so much after that. And then, she gets slammed down, not necessarily even by someone worthy or whom we can live with. My caveat was that she get some serious makeover artists in her camp who can better communicate precisely about her: who she is, what she will do, what she wants, how she understands what is needed and how she will play well with others. I fear for her strength – I don’t fear the strength, but the use of it.

  • I’m with Elrod and Lynx, Hillary strikes me as Kerry redux, without his warm fuzzy charm.

    My worry is that the Hill machine will suck all the air out of the nominating process, limiting the Democratic choices and chances.

    I may or may not support Vilsack, Obama, Richardson et al., but I’d damn well like to hear what they have to say and see how they respond to the pressures of a national campaign.

    If she wins the nomination I’ll vote for her (given the character of the potential Republican field to date I don’t foresee any options there), but I’ll do so with a weary sigh at best.

    And btw, a big stage bow to Joe, not nearly enough Shakespearean citations in the blogosphere these days.

  • Noone Really

    I’ve said it before, I agree with the opinion that she is far too divisive to win.

    I think her running would also swing the Republican candidates from the center to the right, which would be devastating to this country, because that’s who we’d end up being stuck with after Hillary lost. I think the best thing would be for a moderate-right Republican to win in ’08 with a Democratic moderate-left Congress. That would be best for balance and progress, in my opinion.

  • I think we can do a lot better than Hillary.
    I don’t know why she alienates me, a liberal guy, so deeply.
    Yes I do:
    It’s the conviction that she will say anything to get over.
    There’s an insincerity that’s almost palpable.
    Given that so many democrats have reservations about her,
    and as pointed out above, the Right will see Red,
    I don’t see what her winning points are.
    It’s not like we’ll have Bill back in the White House, is it?
    We can’t afford to lose this one.

  • People blame Hillary Clinton for a lot of things about our political system, and the way we currently think about women — whether as women or as men — that she, by herself alone, cannot change. It’s high time she run and prove every naysayer wrong. However, I strongly suggest that she look into the humorous and persuasive tracks of Toastmasters to brush up her skills before the campaigning really amps up.

  • Holly in Cincinnati

    I prefer Hillary Clinton to most of the other potential Democratic candidates.

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