Sunday, May 28, 2006

# Posted 1:07 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

EVEN HILLARY'S FANS DON'T WANT HER TO RUN: Last night I was a fly on the wall at a liberal gathering. Eight of us had just returned from an outdoor performance of Shakespeare's Pericles and were now sitting on the front porch of a row house on a tree-lined street near Rock Creek Park.

I had met four of my companions for the first time earlier that evening and had met two of the others only a couple of times before. My final companion was a good friend but a man of few words, who said nothing of my politics. Thus, the other six assumed that I was just like them: a young, white, well-educated, well-intentioned liberal.

Eventually the subject of discussion turned to politics, specifically Al Gore's new film The Inconvenient Truth. A few of my companions hopefully asked whether we thought Gore would run in 2008. Others lamented the Democratic Party's pathological habit of nominating unelectable losers.

One of my companions hoped aloud that there wouldn't be 74 different Democrats running for the nomination in 2008. Someone else responded that if 74 different Democrats actually ran, maybe one of them would turn out to be a good candidate.

Inevitably, the subject turned to Hillary. I expected nothing less than firm support, but I was wrong. Concerns about her being unelectable emerged almost immediately, and no one bothered to dispute that assessment. One person went as far as to say that he hoped Hillary wouldn't run because it would hurt the party and its chances in 2008.

But why was Hillary unelectable? One person quickly suggested that she was too liberal. Another person responded that she really isn't all that liberal. But no one denounced the First Lady they way they regularly do over at Kos. This exchange confirmed in my mind that I was listening to part of the mainstream Democratic electorate and not the party's left-wing base. In other words, these concerns about Hillary's electability were coming from her most favorable demographic.

My inference based on last night's discussion is that my companions would vote for Hillary in the primaries, although with a heavy heart. They would only abandon her if the party produced a candidate that seemed unbeatable (which is a very remote possibility).

The reigning conventional wisdom on both sides of the aisle is that mobilizing a passionate base is the key to victory in 2008. But conventional wisdom has a very short life span. After all, in 1996 and 2000, the conventional wisdom was that you have to play to the center.

In the end, politics is always a gamble. If I were Hillary's, I wouldn't even think about giving up just yet.
(7) opinions -- Add your opinion

I just don't think anyone can beat Hillary in the primary...even with the lack of enthusiasm for her...

She'll win African American voters by 80%...

She'll have a huge gender gap over other contenders (just because...)

Only two candidates can come close to matching her finances: Mark Warner and Al Gore. Problem is, where does Mark Warner fit into this primary? I haven't seen it yet...
Assuming that the Republican candidate is even marginally tolerable, Hillary will be unelectable because too many people have a near-pathological hatred of her, and very few people are convinced to their marrow that she is the one true leader for our times. You can get elected with one or the other, but not both. Where we live (western Europe) the betting is on the election being Hillary v. Jeb. Sigh.
Euros are wrong then. Jeb Bush is about the last guy whod get the GOP nomination in 2008. And if he did, polls show a Hillary win.

Hillary is hated by the GOP base. Who wont vote for a Dem anyway. The real question is what she does wrt to the center. The old argument for Hillary is that the GOP hatred HELPS her. Cause she can run to the center, but can still hold the Dem base cause they like anyone the right hates so much. Now it looks to me like Hilary plays pretty well to soccer moms. Its not clear if there are other segments of the center (waitress moms? blue collar dads?) that she alienates. And of course Kos and his buddies are trying to get the ordinary liberal voters to stop supporting her, cause of Iraq. But so far without much success.

Warners a nice guy, and a competent gov, but how does he position himself? As a DLCer? Where will the base go then? But if he DOESNT run to the center, and appeases the base, can he win in November? Or govern?

The arguments FOR Hillary are still pretty strong.
To me, Hillary Clinton stands alone as a winner; however, to most, her biggest asset will be BILL CLINTON......yep! Wait and see.
Nobody will energize the Republican base like Hillary running for Prez in '08 -- nobody! The last thing they want to see is the dynamic dangerous duo of billhill or should I say "hillbilly" in the White House again, and their base will come out in force to see it doesn't happen. This from a Conservative Republican in California.
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