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Sunday, May 07, 2006

What do you stand for?

Yo, I like Grand Theft Auto, Clinton.

Hillary Clinton: Too Much of a Clinton Democrat?

By Markos Moulitsas
Sunday, May 7, 2006; B01

Hillary Clinton has a few problems if she wants to secure the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. She is a leader who fails to lead. She does not appear "electable." But most of all, Hillary has a Bill Clinton problem. (And no, it's not about that. )

Moving into 2008, Republicans will be fighting to shake off the legacy of the Bush years: the jobless recovery, the foreign misadventures, the nightmarish fiscal mismanagement, the Katrina mess, unimaginable corruption and an imperial presidency with little regard for the Constitution or the rule of law. Every Democratic contender will be offering change, but activists will be demanding the sort of change that can come only from outside the Beltway.

Hillary Clinton leads her Democratic rivals in the polls and in fundraising. Unfortunately, however, the New York senator is part of a failed Democratic Party establishment -- led by her husband -- that enabled the George W. Bush presidency and the Republican majorities, and all the havoc they have wreaked at home and abroad.

Of course, it's still early. At this point in the last presidential cycle, the first hints of Howard Dean's tr ansformational campaign were barely emerging. In 2002, the Democrats had no clear front-runner, but the conventional wisdom was betting on a handful of insider candidates with money and connections: Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman and John F. Kerry, and Rep. Richard A. Gephardt. These three were supposed to contend. The early polls gave them (especially Lieberman) the inside track to the nomination, and the media gave the rest of the field no more than its usual dismissive coverage.

But the netroots -- the far-flung collection of grassroots political activists organizing online -- proved to be a different world, one unencumbered by Washington's conventional wisdom. Even as the establishment mocked Dean and his supporters ("like a scene out of the 'Star Wars' cantina," laughed a rival campaign aide), his army of hyper-motivated supporters organized across all 50 states. This movement exploded onto the national scene when Dean began reporting dramatically higher fundraising numbers than his opponents. Had Kerry not lent himself millions to reach the Iowa caucuses, and had Dean not been so green a candidate, Dean probably would have been the nominee.

Dean lost, but the point was made. No longer would D.C. insiders impose their candidates on us without our input; those of us in the netroots could demand a say in our political fortunes. .......................

Despite all his successes -- and eight years of peace and prosperity is nothing to sneeze at -- he never broke the 50-percent mark in his two elections. Regardless of the president's personal popularity, Democrats held fewer congressional seats at the end of his presidency than before it. The Democratic Party atrophied during his two terms, partly because of his fealty to his "third way" of politics, which neglected key parts of the progressive movement and reserved its outreach efforts for corporate and moneyed interests.

And therein lie Hillary Clinton's biggest problems. She epitomizes the "insider" label of the early crowd of 2008 Democratic contenders. She's part of the Clinton machine that decimated the national Democratic Party. And she remains surrounded by many of the old consultants who counsel meekness and caution. James Carville, the famed longtime adviser to the Clintons, told Newsweek last week, "The American people are going to be ready for an era of realism. They've seen the consequences of having too many 'big ideas.' "

Meanwhile, pollster Mark Penn, a brilliant numbers guy, has counseled the Hillary team to ignore the party's netroots activists as "irrelevant." (After all, didn't Dean lose?) Little surprise that in late March, the Daily Kos's bimonthly presidential straw poll delivered bleak results for Clinton, with just 2 percent of respondents making her their top choice for 2008.


Just as we crazy political junkies glimpsed the viability of the candidacy of an obscure governor from a small New England state three years ago, today we regard Hillary Clinton's candidacy as anything but inevitable. Her obstacles are big, and from this vantage point, possibly insurmountable

Kos has a point to make, and it's a good point, but it's kinda like worrying about the color of your kitchen when your foundation is collapsing.

Hillary Clinton has a fan base, but doesn't stand for anything. People hate her or like her for what they think she stands for, not what she stands for. Clinton seems to resemble no one more than Ted Kennedy in 1980, who stumbled when asked why he wanted to be president.

She, like a few other people, Rudy Giuliani comes to mind, have been pumped with the idea that they can sit in the White House despite history and their personalities. The reality is that only 72 percent of Americans would vote for a woman, any woman for president.

So Hillary already starts in the hole. But the fact is that as much as people were frustrated with John Kerry, it was because he didn't go for the jugular, not because he was unclear on his stands. Hillary Clinton is perceived to be America's arch liberal, and she is anything but.

Part of Clinton's problem is that she's still looking to find a third way, when the people on the other side detest her more than her husband. All her stands on video games and abortion did was alienate her from under-40 voters. Kos is also right about how the Clintons didn't build the party.

A bunch of random strangers have done more online than Clinton did with the presidency to grow the Democratic party.

Has anyone, anywhere, ever been inspired by Hilliary Clinton's words?

People like Clinton, but not for what she does. Given that Bush is determined to see the 25th Amendment invoked in the next three year, Clinton's dithering and psuedo -conservative stands only alienate her potential supporters.

posted by Steve @ 12:08:00 AM

12:08:00 AM

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