Monday, January 7, 2008

NH Debates, etc.

[Note: This thread goes in chronological order.]

From: Young H. Kim
Sent: Monday, January 07, 2008 1:46 AM

Pardon the length, but I feel you're into this as much as I am...

I missed the Repub debates because the Jaguars/Steelers game was much moreinteresting. ;-) Plus, I hope that the GOP end up with a long drawn-out war ofattrition for the party nomination.
Hillary, I must admit, sounds intelligent and more than capable at the debates, buther angry, dark side just does not help her image at all. Just saw that one NH pollshows a two-person race of Obama-Hillary as 1-2, Edwards a distant 3rd. Edwardssounded way too sound-bitey and wrapped up in personal outrage, IMO, but at leastyou know where he stands. I certainly don't expect him to make it through theprimaries, but he's the only one who's gonna keep Obama and Hillary in check (Iprefer to call her by her first name because Clinton means "Bill" to me, and thatname judges her unfairly--more to come). As for not putting the losing VP from theprevious ticket on the new ticket, probably true by CW, but a losing VP candidatecertainly isn't discouraged from running for prez in the future. And it is not atall likely that Hillary would accept a VP nod.

Here's why I don't think Hillary is "electable", that nebulous and mercurial butcritical factor that can swing many voters. The following are my observations ofthe electorate, not necessarily my personal opinion of Hillary:

1) Given the voter sentiments of 2000 and '04, half of the country hate gays, areanti-abortion and love guns. How does a woman like Hillary fit in to that worldview? Not well, if at all.

2) Unfortunately for Hillary, with all of her talents and abilities, she must carry
the Clinton baggage, more like dragging a ball and chain. I am sure the Republicansare chomping at the bits for Hillary to get the nomination. Do you think theextreme wing of GOP supporters will hesitate at all to dredge up the Clinton years,Monica Lewinsky, Hillary's failed attempt to reform health care, etc.? They willmost certainly succeed in painting her as a bleeding-heart liberal. Some people have forgotten what a lightening rod Billary was for conservative scorn and vitriol.

3) The only way Hillary could hope to win is to succeed becoming the theme of thiselection, "the agent of change". However, who is most identified with that monikerand distinction so far, at least among the Democrats? Obama. Should she manage tofight off Obama, will she get the young and independent votes who are currentlybacking Obama? I certainly hope so, if we are to avoid yet another four years of aRepublican administration. However, I feel it's an uphill battle for the Clintonname to get the "agent of change" title because they had already been there for twoterms.

I, too, am encouraged by the young and "first timer" participation in Iowa. Thisdefinitely serves to benefit Obama and the Dems most. He is looking more and moreelectable, day by day. I also feel that the country may be more prepared for Blackmale president than a White female one. One case in point, think of the supportthat Colin Powell would have garnered had he chose to run.

Still not sure how effectively Obama can win the center of the electorate. As Ilearned many years ago in a UW poli-sci course on U.S. Elections, all elections comedown to the battle for the center, after solidifying one's base, left or right. Ibelieve Obama's weakness is his lack of experience as an executive leader, which maynot sit well with moderate voters. I accept the opinion that governors are moreidentified as being presidential by voters than senators. By my count the lastsenator who won a presidential election is LBJ, and even he was a VP first. Thatmakes JFK the last president who was not a governor or VP first. Heady odds forsure.

I certainly am going to enjoy this election cycle. Definitely going to participate in the Dem caucus here and in the primary, of course. Thanks for reading.

From: "Brian Menard"
Mon, 7 Jan 2008 16:14:11 -0500

Not only was JFK the most recent candidate to go directly from Senate to White House, but throughout the history of presidential elections, only a couple senators have been elected President of the United States from their senate seats. "Heady odds for sure" is an understatement! And yet, each election cycle we see a myriad of senators contemplate it and at least a handful give it a shot. One thought on Obama and the center: Obama will have trouble catching the center not because he is a senator, but because his proposals are way left of center. I followed him very closely from September '06 through his formal announcement, waiting to see if the details he professed would follow his rhetoric about coming together. Once he started filling in the blanks last January, though, it was quickly apparent that folks on my side would interpret his rhetoric as just that and nothing more, for the policy proposals that followed the talk about folks coming together to solve the nation's problems carried the implicit message, "If only the Republicans and conservatives would stop getting in the way of our proposals and join our effort to make policy the way we think it should be made, all would be well." That's not any more sincere call for people working together than if Duncan Hunter made the same suggestion from the right wing. You make good points about Hillary and electability (or unelectability). However, you leave out one factor that improves her chances considerably, anamely, if the GOP nominate a bad candidate and/or far right candidate. Hillary has high negatives that are solid. She won't win these folks over no matter what. But she also can appeal to the center - as you rightly point out, the real battle ground in this year's fight - much better than either Obama or Edwards can do. She ran a risk-reward campaign, banking on her viability (ability to be nominated, as opposed to electability in the general election) and maintaining a more moderate political persona that would leave less ideological ground to make up come general election time to get back to the center. A sound strategy, but unfortunately for her, it appears her presumption of viability may have been premature.

----- Original Message -----
From: Michael Busick
Sent: Monday, January 07, 2008 2:17 AM

I'm also thinking the GOP can't wait for Hillary to get the nomination because then they could also hammer the point that Hillary voted to give Bush the authority to invade Iraq. Anything she tries to say about US getting out of Iraq is going to be labeled as "flip-flopping" and I think we all remember how that played out in 2004.

From: "Brian Menard"
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2008 16:21:26 -0500

A little secret from the GOP world: as much as folks are chomping at the bit to unleash on Hillary, people are REALLY looking forward to letting loose on Obama if he gets the nod from the Dems. The Hillary assault would be more personal than political (exempting things like the 90s health care stuff) and is not new, just juicy. Attacking Obama, on the other hand, gives the GOP spinsters the chance to Dukakisize him. The lesson on 1988 was "Define your opponent before s/he defines her/himself." In some ways, Obama is like the Gary Hart of 2008, known superficially but not in detail. Folks on the right can't wait to get started defining what "Change" would really mean in an Obama White House.

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