Jan 21 2007
01:00 am
By: Andy Axel  shortURL

In perhaps the most predictable announcement in recent political history, Hillary Clinton announced her 2008 intentions.


This little sketch from an Australian paper caught my eye... her campaign chairman -- former DNC chairman Terry McAuliffe -- is said to be packaging Hillary as the "new" Thatcher.

"She has the name recognition, the money, the glitz, she’s got it all," McAuliffe said.

If she wins, she will return to the White House where she spent eight years as first lady during Bill Clinton’s presidency from 1993-2001.

McAuliffe predicted a rough campaign. "She is going to fight for herself and she is going to have people around her who will fight," he said.

"They are going to play mean, nasty and dirty on the other side. You don’t walk into a knife fight without adequate gloves.”

(Huh. When you're an outside shot, you'd be well advised to take a gun to a knife fight, Terry... Isn't that actually how the saying goes?)

Anyway -- casting Hillary as the Iron Lady is doing the woman no favors. Just friendly advice there.

Um, not that she has a chance in hell campaigning anywhere outside of the Northeast or the far western states. I guess we'll see how far she can carry the "whistling past Dixie" strategy.

(More below the fold, should you care enough to read on...)

When we're talking about the future of the country in political terms, I'd typically stick to a "first, do no harm" policy as comes to Democratic candidates. However, the next election is too important to fritter away the chance to retake the office in the next cycle.

I grant that her entry into the race is done with the best of intentions, but the fact of the matter is that the name "Hillary Clinton" is a stand-alone punchline in most of the country (and certainly among certain powerful members of the DC punditocracy, for whom she is a lightning rod for controversy and negative ink). Back out the numbers of people who would never vote for a woman anyway (around 25% according to most polls), and those who would take her to task on her Iraq triangulation. Factor in a lack of legislative accomplishments.

What about her positives?

Name recognition? That may actually work against her.

Big campaign war chest? OK. Fine. How much does the GOP have?

The blessing of the Democratic Losership Council? Please. (Is Bob Shrum going to be her chief strategist this time?)

And last, but certainly not least: How do you convince middle Americans to return Bill Clinton to the White House in any capacity?

Someone show me the math, because I don't see how this works, even on paper.

bizgrrl's picture

Well said! I like Hillary. I

Well said! I like Hillary. I also want a Democrat to win the Presidency. Unless something changes in the next year or so, I don't think she can win.

Eleanor A's picture


It'll be an uphill battle for any Democrat. We don't have verifiable ballots, and the national Party is still focused on a handful of states...until I see a change in that, I'll assume we're giving the other side yet another opportunity to use its always-superior financial might to hit a small pool of targets.

The party needs a sea change. I'm not ruling it out, especially given this year's Congressional results...but given the Dems' tendency to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, I'm not too hopeful.

Eleanor A's picture

That said,

interesting news out of WashPost:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton enters the presidential arena as the most viable woman ever to seek the office and at a propitious moment.

More women hold elected office than ever before, and 9 million more women than men voted in the last presidential election. The New York Democrat's candidacy will test whether she can turn excitement over gender into a powerful political advantage...

After some rocky moments with female voters over the past 15 years, Clinton begins her historic race viewed favorably by 59 percent of women nationally, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll completed Friday night. She is viewed favorably among women of all age groups and educational backgrounds, and has especially large advantages among core pockets of Democratic women, including non-whites and lower-income women, and among Northeasterners.

In primary and general election matchups as of today, Clinton has sizable advantages among women, the survey showed. Forty-nine percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning women would support her in their state's caucus or primary if it were held today, compared with 18 percent who would support Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.). And against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) or former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R), she has a big lead among women...

In the Post survey, Clinton made her most significant strides in the past 10 months among women 55 and older, 59 percent of whom have a favorable view of her, compared with 48 percent last year.

Better numbers than I'd have expected, honestly.

Andy Axel's picture

Better numbers than I'd have

Better numbers than I'd have expected, honestly.

Wait until the slime machine kicks in.

Once that happens, the 10 point edge (and then some, I'd wager) she enjoys in her favorables will be erased within a month.

She is viewed favorably among women of all age groups and educational backgrounds, and has especially large advantages among core pockets of Democratic women, including non-whites and lower-income women, and among Northeasterners.

I'm sure that with this news, the GOP is going to go right after the non-white lower-income Northeastern Democratic woman vote.

Forty-nine percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning women would support her in their state's caucus or primary if it were held today

Because as everybody knows, Democratic caucuses and primaries are suddenly no longer good-ol'-boy networks, right?

How's she polling in gender-neutral studies?

I know that posting all of this stuff is going to make me come off as a pig rather than a realist among some, but can we please recalibrate our definition of political "viability?"

I've said this elsewhere in a different context, but it is far too early to say that the elections of 2006 marked some sort of sea change in the American discourse. We can talk about a "failure of imagination" all day, and I'm willing to concede that I could be wrong, but I'd like to live in the world of the possible rather than the world of the probable. That is to say, the election of Hillary Clinton is not impossible. It is, however, highly improbable.

We have 50 individual state primaries in 2008, and I think that expecting some sort of critical mass to develop around Hillary Clinton in less than 2 years is something like expecting the evolution of wings atop pigs.

And please -- no more stories about "fighting the good fight." I'm sick to death of moral victories.


Dirty mouth language -- it's the new black.

rikki's picture

slime never sleeps

Wait until the slime machine kicks in.

The slime machine is always on, but it does have a lurker mode. It likes to sit back and let its victims get overconfident before it spews.

I find it amazing that a man who was on the Dem ticket last time and ran an excellent primary campaign is being treated like an also ran. I really don't understand what drives the coverage of Prez elections, so it seems safe to assume it is the slime machine.

I think the corporate media doesn't want Edwards taken seriously because he is an issues candidate. They want elections that are about personality and celebrity because those are easier to manipulate, and they yield candidates who are predictably indebted to media and corporate interests. The last thing they want is a populist arriving in office with a mandate.

What better way to toy with Democratic brains than by selling the primary as first woman prez vs. first black prez?

WhitesCreek's picture

We don't have verifiable

We don't have verifiable ballots, and the national Party is still focused on a handful of states...

When you speak of "the National Party" you need to remember that there are essentially two Democratic parties. The DLC, which is a Republican Lite group that Hillary is with, and the DNC, bearing the 50 state strategy motto of Howard Dean.

Hillary could have won me over when she had the opportunity to vote against the "Iraq War Enabling Act" but chickened out.

We need Leadership with some balls, like maybe Nancy Pelosi, since so few of the big name Dem men don't seem to have them. I hope it becomes a big mess and Al Gore steps in to save the day.


R. Neal's picture

Thanks for posting that so I

Thanks for posting that so I didn't have to.

My theory is that there is some kind of strategy to roll out the embarrasing "statement" candidates early so they will be long forgotten when the primaries heat up.

Then we can nominate Kerry again.

Although I would like to see Sharpton debate Obama and Kucinich debate Clinton.

Geckofile's picture

Number9's picture


That's all that's missing.

Andy Axel's picture

And moronic comments like

And moronic comments like #9's are exactly what I'm talking about when I say "slime machine."


Dirty mouth language -- it's the new black.

watcher's picture

Billery Pic

Okay...that's got to be one of the funniest things I've ever seen.

Number9's picture

Would you vote for Mrs.

Would you vote for Mrs. Clinton for President Andy?

bizgrrl's picture

I'd vote for Mrs. Clinton

I'd vote for Mrs. Clinton over a member of the Bush family any day.

Number9's picture

I'd vote for Mrs. Clinton

I'd vote for Mrs. Clinton over a member of the Bush family any day.

Why not give the Clinton and Bush dynasties 8 years off? A sabbatical is needed.

The depth of field from both parties is stunning. There are 300 million people in this country. Is this the best we can do?

Rachel's picture

I can find good things to

I can find good things to say about Clinton (and could we puh-lease stop calling her "Hillary"? Is there one single other United States Senator always referred to by his or her first name? I find this very disrespective.). Also Edwards, Obama, Richardson.

Right now I'm content to sit back and watch the pack shake out.

And I'd vote for any of the 4 above before I'd vote for any of the Republicans currently running.

bizgrrl's picture

You asked if Mrs. Clinton

You asked if Mrs. Clinton would get a vote, not who would get a vote.

Andy Axel's picture

Would you vote for Mrs.

Would you vote for Mrs. Clinton for President Andy?

"Cigar?" That was your idea of a contribution to the discussion?


Dirty mouth language -- it's the new black.

WhitesCreek's picture

I would vote for Senator

I would vote for Senator Clinton over...well, now that I think about it..over any Republican on this planet. But she's not my first choice.


And 9, the Clinton's are not a dynasty yet...the Bush's go back to war criminal Prescott and descend through war criminal George H. W. and down to the present war criminal president. Not only are they a dynasty, they are an evil one, judging by the results of their tenure.

Number9's picture

And 9, the Clinton's are not

And 9, the Clinton's are not a dynasty yet...

How many President Senator combos are there? Bill Richardson looks great compared to Mrs. Clinton.

WhitesCreek's picture

Beside the point but...

dy·nas·ty (dī'nə-stē) Pronunciation Key
n. pl. dy·nas·ties

A succession of rulers from the same family or line.

A family or group that maintains power for several generations: a political dynasty controlling the state.

The President/Senator combo is unique as far as I know, but I'll have a tough time thinking of the Clintons as a dynasty...Well, until Senator Clinton gets elected President, at least.

They'll still fail the multiple generations test, but I've got one word for you: Chelsea


Number9's picture

The President/Senator combo

The President/Senator combo is unique as far as I know,


Eleanor A's picture

I'd vote for Hillary against

I'd vote for Hillary against McCain, Guiliani, or Sam Brownback justlikethat. Couple responses to Axel's points above, though:

* A strength of Clinton's might be that she's already felt the full onslaught of the GOP slime operation and has some idea how it works. Seriously - what else can they trot out? The public is inured to the whole Vince Foster scandal, and it's hardly Ms. Clinton's fault that her husband diddled some bimbo.

If the GOP isn't careful, it might actually generate a backlash. There is this whole matter of $50 million spent on the fishing expedition that was Monicagate, and the $0 having been spent on anything to do with the Cheney energy task force, falsified reports on WMDs, etc.

* He's right that most state Dem primaries are run by the GOBs, and that won't change soon. It'll be interesting to see where various women electeds wind up on this issue.

WhitesCreek's picture

The President/Senator combo

The President/Senator combo is unique as far as I know,


Jackie was elected Senator?

Number9's picture

It was a joke but since you asked...

"Cigar?" That was your idea of a contribution to the discussion?

My contribution to the discussion would be to ask what papers Sandy Berger stole and why Mr. Berger and President Clinton were not arrested. How was that any different than Watergate? Except Watergate was a political robbery. Bergergate was a national security breach.

Were those papers about 911? Or were they about American computer and missile technology to the Chinese? In any other political universe that alone would be enough to prevent another Clinton co-presidency. But not around here...

Gekofile's picture is more than humor, it is a metaphor.

WhitesCreek's picture

More like Slime

Gekofile's picture is more than humor, it is a metaphor.

You are trying to smear Senator Clinton with false sexual innuendo.

...And 9, You're questions are offensive and intended to mislead, not that that is anything new.

The conservative case simply cannot be made with facts.

You're grasping at inferrences and relying on false accusations from Rush Limbaugh, et al, that have been disproven and rebuked, not only by Editorial opinion acroos this country, but by the Prosecuter actually handling the Berger case. Berger's no angel but no devil either.

In any other political universe, Prescott Bush's selling war material to Hitler, or his son's constitutional travesty in Iran-Contra should have prevented the American disaster that is George W. Bush's presidency.


Number9's picture


that have been disproven and rebuked, not only by Editorial opinion acroos this country, but by the Prosecuter actually handling the Berger case. Berger's no angel but no devil either.

No one knows the extent of Berger's activities. It is a nice touch to invoke the Bush Hitler move. Very Goodwinesce.

Your something Steve, you could probably make a case for giving computer and missile technology to the Chinese. Was President Clinton trying to eliminate the "mineshaft gap"? True believers always believe...

The United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a staff report, Sandy Berger's Theft of Classified Documents: Unanswered Questions, on the controversy in January 2007. The report stated that Berger's guilty plea did not account for two earlier visits in 2003 by Berger to the National Archives during which Berger reviewed White House staff working papers that never were inventoried by the archives. "In that case, nobody would know they were gone," the report stated and "the 9/11 Commission relied on incomplete and misleading information" when it was told it had all the records. The report concluded the Department of Justice could not assure the 9/11 Commission that it received all responsive documents to which Berger had access.

WhitesCreek's picture

You're something, 9...

No one knows what happened so something must have? How silly!

You can't prove something didn't happen so it did, eh 9? You get to make stuff up with innuendo and can't take the heat of reality when someone calls BS, eh 9?

You must not want to read anything that doesn't support your world view, eh 9?

The Bush Hitler connection is well documented, to the extent that Prescott Bush was sanctioned by the United States Congress during WW II. I didn't make that up, eh 9?

But 9, since "no one knows the extent of" your activities, how do we know that your participation here is not paid for by enemies of America? You intentionally post things that aren't true or are intended to mislead, right?

Your last quote is a prime example. Why has President Bush hidden the Whitehouse visitor records? Is it to protect Sandy Berger? Berger must have been there because the records are missing, eh 9? Bush must have been being distratcted by Jim Guckert while Berger pillaged sensitive files, eh 9? No one knows what Berger was doing while Bush may have his own personal sensitive files being pillaged by Guckert, eh 9?

No one knows the extent of the relationship with Bush and Guckert, so it had to be hot and nasty, eh 9?

Is this silly enough for you? Is this really what happens when you mix Oxycontin with Viagra?

You are not detecting your Baloney, 9. You can do better than this. I just know you can.


Sven's picture

This country really needs a

This country really needs a high colonic.

Scott1202's picture

Goodbye Presidency!

If Hillary becomes the party nominee, you might as well just give the presidency to whichever republican runs against her. She has been a cheerleader for the invasion and occupation of Iraq all along...until she thought it was politically safe to go against Bush. She's a hypocrit.

WhitesCreek's picture

She has been a cheerleader

She has been a cheerleader for the invasion and occupation of Iraq all along

That's simply not true. Make your case with facts. You could say that about Lieberman but not Senator Clinton. And, it's more complicated than that, anyway.

I suggest you read Senator Clinton's speech on the floor of the Senate as she voted to support the War Powers Act.

Here's an excerpt:

So it is with conviction that I support this resolution as being in the best interests of our nation. A vote for it is not a vote to rush to war; it is a vote that puts awesome responsibility in the hands of our President and we say to him - use these powers wisely and as a last resort...

She was obviously mistaken in thinking that President Bush would use power "wisely".


R. Neal's picture

I probably wouldn't cut her

I probably wouldn't cut her that much slack, but you have a point.

As I recall, the war powers resolution was requested by the President just before he was going back to the UN Security Council one last time for a vote on the invasion, i.e. to get "permission" from the international community.

Bush said he needed this power to back up the Security Council resolution to show that we were serious about enforcing the previous UN resolutions, and that both of these resolutions together would convince Saddam to comply and the invasion was in fact a last resort. So it was all supposed to be a big stick.

Then, I think it was Powell and I believe Negroponte at the time, worked the hallways to see if they had the votes and found out they didn't, so the Security Council resolution was withdrawn and there never was a vote on it, and we invaded as had been the plan all along since before Bush came into office.

So in that respect, you can't blame Clinton or Kerry or any of the other Democrats who voted for it for participating in the charade.

But you can blame them for either a) being so foolish as to believe Bush's assurances and the sexed-up intelligence they were being fed (when lots of average Joes knew it was BS all along), or b) calculating that at some point they would run for President and they could point to this vote as proof they were strong on defense.

So they were either a) not smart, or b) they were hypocrites engaging in political maneuvers for personal benefit. Either way, America has paid a high price.

(And I note the irony that a decorated combat veteran who voted for the neo-con war STILL couldn't overcome the GOP "Democrats are terrorist sympathizers and weak on defense" propaganda machine. So really, it's all Rush Limbaugh and Fox News' fault.)

redmondkr's picture

I read Senator Clinton's

I read Senator Clinton's speech some time ago and I was impressed by the text. It seemed to have an air of sincere doubt that a cynic would call a "cover your ass" quality. She seemed compelled to go along in case a certifiably blind hog really did find an acorn this time. At the same time there was the "I told you so" language in there just in case this turned out to be another one of his failures.

It was certainly not the speech of a hawk. It is the nature of a politician to be able to claim vindication regardless of the outcome.

You will remember, too, that Jimmy Duncan stated at the time that his sources told him that an invasion of Iraq was totally unwarranted and he voted accordingly. Of course one of his motivating influences was the financial cost of the whole thing.

R. Neal's picture

Sen. Bob Graham of FL also

Sen. Bob Graham of FL also voted against it, and he was on the Senate Intelligence Committee and presumably had good info.

WhitesCreek's picture

I didn't mean to cut any of

I didn't mean to cut any of the folks who voted for the War Powers Act one bit of slack. I think they screwed up royally and should have known it.

I just want facts to be the basis for discussion and feel that folks who intentionally post misleading statements define irresponsibility in a democracy, but I'm not going to mention (ringworm) any names, OK?

America has lost the ability to reason, and a large part of it is because we can't take anything as factual anymore and that is by intent. The Rupert Murdoch involvement in purchasing the Chicago newspaper is another ongoing travesty in saga of the right intentionally subverting democracy.

yeah, and they just make stuff up, too! Supporting the Troops and being a "cheerleader for the war" are or should be completely different things, but often the positions are confused. My position on supporting the troops for instance, is

1, Give them a clear achievable mission

2. Give them the equipment and resources to do it.

3. Or bring them home now.

Am I cheerleading or do I not support our troups?

Sorry to ramble and I now return control of this soapbox to you...



R. Neal's picture

I would add a

I would add a political/diplomatic component to your list.

For example, when we "win", from whom will we accept unconditional surrender and what happens next?

Sven's picture

Great discussion. I think

Great discussion. I think what frustrates me even more than the war vote, however, are the post-war rationalizations and triangulation. I find it to be disgustingly cynical.

But then again, maybe I don't fully appreciate the pressures they're under. Rick Perlstein has a great piece in Salon on the "sword of Damocles" tactics presidents employ against Congress.

Fulbright told the president at a meeting with the Senate leadership that the war was "ruining our domestic and our foreign policy," the president's response was a dare: Repeal the Gulf of Tonkin resolution -- the authorization of force that passed 98 to 2 in 1964. "You can tell the troops to come home" -- put up or shut up. What's more, "You can tell General Westmoreland that he doesn't know what he's doing."

This was the same sword of Damocles that potential congressional anti-surgers feel swinging over their heads now: Any second-guessing of the chain of command, and I, the president, will blame everything bad that happens on you. It set a pattern for presidential push-backs against legislators' assertion of their constitutional oversight power. Nixon was even worse.

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