Clinton dogged by 'electability' questions

Discussion in 'Politics' started by 007, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. 007
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    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

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    By BETH FOUHY, Associated Press Writer
    Mon Dec 4, 7:01 AM ET



    NEW YORK - Call it the front-runner's paradox.


    While Hitlery Rodham Clinton tops every national poll of likely 2008 Democratic presidential contenders, the New York senator is dogged by questions of "electability" — political code for whether she can win enough swing states to prevail in a general election.

    It's a gauge typically applied to Democrats, as few question the crossover appeal of the GOP front-runner, Arizona Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record). And for activists eager to recapture the White House after eight years of George W. Bush, electability remains a crucial yardstick by which Clinton, especially, seems to be measured.

    Clinton began discussions last week with fellow New York lawmakers about her White House prospects and met Sunday with the state's Democratic governor-elect — all indications she is stepping up plans to join a growing field of potential contenders for 2008.

    But some Democrats still believe the odds are against her actually being elected president. Dick Harpootlian, a former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party not aligned with any presidential hopeful, is among the nay-sayers.

    "She's a senator, she'd be the first woman running, and she's Hillary Clinton," he said. "All of that is almost insurmountable for a general election."

    He added: "There are people who would write a check and die for her, but there are plenty of others who wouldn't vote for her if she promised to eliminate the income tax and give free ice cream to everyone. People have made up their minds about her, and that doesn't give her much room to maneuver."

    Clinton has not yet declared she plans to seek the presidency, and aides say the question of whether she can win tops the list of considerations. She's also said she is eager to return to the Senate, where, come January, she'll be a member of the new Democratic majority.

    "Hillary Clinton has a good sense of self," said Chris Lehane, a longtime Democratic strategist who worked in the White House for President Clinton. "I don't think she makes this race unless she thinks she has a pretty good chance of winning the whole thing."

    On Sunday, Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh (news, bio, voting record) said he would form a presidential exploratory committee to assess his chances, while Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack declared his candidacy last week. Other Democrats weighing a presidential run in 2008 include Illinois Sen. Barack Obama; New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson; Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential nominee; and Kerry's 2004 running mate, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

    Hillary Clinton enjoys several advantages. She has millions in the bank and a topflight team of advisers. She was handily re-elected to a second term in the Senate, winning even the most conservative areas of her adopted home state of New York. And her husband is the Democratic Party's best campaign strategist and biggest fundraising draw.

    But analysts say there are other, significant downsides to a Clinton candidacy.

    Despite her centrist six-year Senate voting record, Clinton's reputation remains deeply rooted in her polarizing eight years as first lady. Skeptics say she may still be too liberal for many voters, who recall her husband's scandal-plagued presidency and her own audacious effort to reform the nation's health care system. And no one knows how her status as the first serious female candidate would play out.

    "Everyone knows Hillary Clinton can raise the money and that she has a good team, but it's mitigated by all the mumbling that she's not electable," said Joe Trippi, who managed Howard Dean's upstart 2004 presidential campaign.

    That year, Dean lost the electability sweepstakes — and the Democratic nomination — to Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who then lost to Bush in the general election.

    In Clinton's case, so persistent have been the concerns about her prospects for victory in a general election that this summer, two of her top advisers attacked the matter head on.

    "We've heard all this 'Hillary can't win' stuff before,'" strategist James Carville and longtime pollster Mark Penn wrote in The Washington Post, referring to Clinton's first Senate race in New York in 2000. That year, she defeated Republican Rep. Rick Lazio by 12 percentage points.

    Penn and Carville also argued that Clinton's popularity with women voters could tip a number of swing states her way. In her landslide re-election victory last month, Clinton won 73 percent of the women's vote, compared with 61 percent of men's.

    "Certainly she could win the states John Kerry did," they wrote. "But with the pathbreaking possibility of this country's first female president ... states that were close in the past, from Arkansas to Colorado to Florida to Ohio, could well move to the Democratic column."

    Some observers even suggest that doubts about Clinton's electability could ultimately play to her advantage — lowering expectations for her initially while casting a harsher light on her opponents.

    "Everyone is looking at how she compares to McCain, and that will help her in the long term, because he hasn't been tested the way she has," Lehane said, noting that Clinton already runs about even or just slightly behind McCain in most polls.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061204/ap_on_el_pr/clinton2008_4
     
  2. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    I just saw something that could actually keep me from bothering to go to the polls .... Shrillary v "Where's my hanky" McCain.
     
  3. 007
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    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

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    I hear ya man. That's when I write someone in.
     
  4. red states rule
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    red states rule Senior Member

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    You know who the liberal media is rooting for - openly



    Andrea Mitchell on Hillary '08: Will Bring Back 'Good Old Days,' 'Great for Journalism!'
    Posted by Geoffrey Dickens on December 4, 2006 - 14:57.
    Substitute hosting for Chris Matthews, NBC's Andrea Mitchell asked the panel of this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show to rate Hillary Clinton's chances for the Democratic nomination. In doing so Mitchell claimed that Hillary "hopes to capitalize on the nostalgia that many Americans have for the Clinton years, the good old days." Mitchell also snidely put down the entire South when she wondered if they would accept a female president: "What about down South?...Does she not fit the traditional model of what a woman should be?" When the panel turned to whether Bill Clinton would be a negative or positive for Hillary Mitchell agreed with New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller, exclaiming, either way, that it would be "Great for journalism!"

    The following are the fuller exchanges that occured on the December 3rd edition of The Chris Matthews Show:

    Andrea Mitchell: "First up, the restoration. Who is the most likely Democratic nominee for president? Any way you slice it, Hillary Clinton is the one to beat. Right now, she is a stronger candidate in a stronger position than any primary contender since Texas Governor George W. Bush cornered the Republican market in 1999. Some Democrats are getting cold feet though. She doesn't beat John McCain or Rudy Giuliani in trial heats. Hillary hopes to capitalize on the nostalgia that many Americans have for the Clinton years, the good old days."


    Andrea Mitchell: "What about down South? Is there a different gender perception, the perception of Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton down South? Does she not fit the traditional model of what a woman should be?"

    ...

    Mitchell: "Cynthia, quick reality check from outside. Are people willing to accept Bill as first spouse?"

    Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta-Journal Constitution: "I think that, that would be a huge change for most Americans, and again, I'm not sure we're quite ready for that yet."

    Mitchell: "Okay."

    Elisabeth Bumiller, New York Times: "Great for journalism."

    Mitchell: "Well when we come back--great for journalism! And it's all about us."
    http://newsbusters.org/node/9436
     
  5. 007
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    007 Charter Member Supporting Member

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    Yeah... the good old days of terrorist appeasement, base closings and military budget cutting, higher taxes, and sexual escapades the like of which will probably never be seen again.

    I've pretty much stopped thinking hitlery can get elected. I think she may be able to put on a good show, but actually winning..... naaaaaaa. No way.
     
  6. Dr Grump
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    Dr Grump Gold Member

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    I can't see Hillary running and winning. I can see her running to satiate her ego, but to actually win? no way. Too divisive...
     
  7. red states rule
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    red states rule Senior Member

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    Do you think the Red Queen cares what they people think?

    Hillary only cares about what is best for Hillary

    Obama should watch out. He is getting way to popular and Hillary will let loose the attack dogs on him if he does not keep his place

    Which is at least three paces behind her
     
  8. fuzzykitten99
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    fuzzykitten99 Senior Member

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    personally i would rather have McCain than Billary, because writing someone in won't help the situation, and is mostly a vote for the other party. I mean, what are the chances of that write in actually winning over the 2 (or 3) candidates officially running?
     
  9. Bonnie
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    Bonnie Senior Member

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    Some liberals may like Hillary, but there is a large group who are really pushing for Obama, seeing him as the socialist version of Colin Powell...when you see phrases like "up and coming star of the Democrat party" pay close attention.

    If given that choice I'd have to swallow my dislike for McCain and vote for him ....
     
  10. 007
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    I have to live with myself, and be true to myself. I think McCain is a liberal in conservative clothing. Even if he did get the Republican nomination, I would NOT vote for him. Period. I'd write someone in, and then I could at least sleep at night knowing I voted for the person "I" thought was best for the job.

    If more people did this, we wouldn't be stuck with this suffocating two party system.
     

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