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January 13, 2008

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Clinton has the chance to turn it around. If it doesn't happen here... it may never happen.

I'd like to see her beat the bad press just out of spite to the right.

I know OW is not overflowing with Hillary supporters, at least not the commenters . I lurked for many years, so there is still hope that some lurkers are nervous about coming forward and supporting Clinton.

I just watched Hillary for an hour on Meet the Press, and I think she is amazing, whatever you think of her specific policies. I don't understand progressives who love to hate her when the three Democratic candidates differ much less in policy than in presentation. Tim Russert did what Tim Russert does, and Senator Clinton fired back calmly and authoritatively. She is such a smart, knowledgeable, thoughtful, well-prepared candidate. She stayed on point, wasn't intimidated, easily confronted him, had obviously thought through any question he could ask. He even made an oblique reference to Lewinsky and she answered with quiet dignity. Young girls or teenagers watching should would be proud of her. In her quieter way, she is as inspiring as Obama is.

If the country sees this Hillary, day in and day out, I feel confident she is eminently electable even if she will never win a poll of leftist bloggers..

Redstocking: are you willing to support her even if the drag on these purple states will mean that her victory will come at the cost of a Senate majority? Or you simply not believe that this will happen? Or do you simply not believe that it is even a risk? And if you do believe that it is a risk, you really think HRC would be that much better president that it is worth taking the gamble?

Purple people will come to support Obama because they realize that they will not have jobs come November if Clinton is the candidate.

The country has seen Hillary day in and day out. Hillary was a daily presence in American politics for eight years. And she was detested. What has changed?

Sniderman: remember, eventually Republicans will get to vote on HRC. Trying to have your way because you want to spite your political enemies (when those enemies will eventually have a say in the outcome) seems to be a sure recipe for ending up with another loser.

I am not at all convinced that Clinton will be a drag on Democratic candidates in more conservative areas. I live in rural upstate NY and I've been very, very surprised by the level of support for her in places like Chenango County and Broome County. Part of it is that she's delivered to upstate, big time (big federal helicopter contracts in the southern tier, lots of goodies in ag bills) and part of it is her hawkishness. But even during the 2000 election, before she had a chance to shower money and lax farm regulation on the region, I'd see yard signs for her in complete backwaters.

The people who don't like her are really, really loud, but I think there's a slightly squishy center-right that likes her a lot once they get to know her. I think the conventional wisdom on Clinton is wrong.

This is a slightly old poll, but here you have 45% of the country saying they would definitely not vote for. Where is this squishy center-right?

Napolitano is a nice pick-up. Nelson (esp.) and Johnson don't much help convince me that Obama will be as progressive as I'd want - see "chits" above.

Ara: "The country has seen Hillary day in and day out. Hillary was a daily presence in American politics for eight years. And she was detested. What has changed?"

She was also greatly admired. And, well, there's been a bit of history since those days, and hopefully there's a bit less misogyny in the country.

As far as I understand, the electability/"down-ballot" arguments make Edwards the best candidate.

The issue is certainly worth weighing, but I'm not sure how much I want to allow red state voters to influence my vote.


publius: "My take is that these endorsements stem not so much from love for Obama, but from a perceived political need to distance themselves from Clinton in their home states."

Some of the above are from what I've read simply the predictable result of political affiliations. Another thing to consider is the cost/benefit of the endorsements - I would guess that if Obama turns things around, the endorsers would stand to benefit a lot, while if HRC wins regardless she'll be limited in ability to punish them (esp. wrt her gratitude if they had endorsed her/hadn't endorsed).

I think the "Hillary hatred" is overrated. And any currnet polls about 45% and negativity ratings are unrealistic in terms of the general election.

Although I am not a Hillary fan, I don't detest her and I will both work for her and vote for her in the general if she gets the nomination.

Much of the dislike aspect is built up not on the basis of actually seeing or knowing Hillary, it comes from the MSM noise and the Republican slime machine.

Redstocking's point is valid. The more the people see Hillary, the more the negativity rating will probably go down. She is not some evil witch who cackles all the time and she can overcome some of that.

All that being said, I still prefer either Barrack or John over Hillary based on policies, record and ability to motivate people to actually ant and work for change.

Redstocking,

for me the question when deciding who to support is not one about policy among the democrats, as their policies really are very similar. That leaves two things for me:

1) Who will win in the general election
2) Who will actually manage to change things once elected.

I think Obama comes up top on both. Hillary is just too polarising. It's unfortunate that independents and republicans can't stand her, and I don't think it's particularly fair, but it's a fact, and that's life. We have to deal with it, and address this question: Using my vote, where should I use it to try to gain the best results.

I also agree that Hillary has come off better the last week or two, but when only 19% of republicans like her and 50 something% like Obama? (I hope those figures are roughly correct). Who will actually get something done in the white house?

rilkefan: To my ears, "I don't want to allow redstaters to influence my vote" sounds a lot like Cheney's "We don't negotiate with terrorists, we kill them". In both cases, it seems like an indulgence we do not have. I would love to see a poll among Democrats where they were asked just what their attitude was towards two statements of this form. I would like to see if they would endorse one and not the other.

me: "The issue is certainly worth weighing, but I'm not sure how much I want to allow red state voters to influence my vote."

Compare to "I don't want to allow redstaters to influence my vote".

This (and the "you think like Cheney" implication) might just be a Bush-style black-and-white argument, no?

In Idaho, the "pro-Obama" sentiment has been explicitly anti-Clinton. I'm not sure that I buy that Clinton would have a huge down-ticket effect, even here, but I'm in the minority.

McCaskill and Obama have a solid working relationship. They've worked on veterans' bills together. I don't know about the Nelson endorsement or the Johnson endorsement, but the McCaskill one isn't primarily out of any need to distance oneself from HRC. McCaskill genuinely likes Obama.

I also think you're overlooking the genuine affection and respect that Obama's colleagues have for him.

While I don't doubt that chits and political considerations are involved in endorsements, you can't assume that, that's all there is to it. (Same goes for those who say that Clinton has gotten all of her endorsements because she and her husband are collecting chits. There is NO doubt that they're collecting chits, but HRC is generally genuinely liked and respected by the people who have endorsed her.)

I think Barack is the bigger gamble because we simply don't know enough about his positions, about what the Republicans will throw at him; about how he will handle vicious attacks. I don't recall a presidential candidate with so brief a record. Hillary consistently outdebates him because she is more knowledgeable than he is on a wide range of economic issues.

Barack has not reacted well to excesses committed by his aides. Hillary has fired staff members who make incendiary remarks that don't reflect her position. Does anyone know if Barack reprimanded Jackson for his outrageous remarks on Hillary's tears?

I come from New York, where Hillary was re-elected with 67 percent of t he vote. Not everyone hates Hillary. That is the Republican mantra.
I was under the impression that most people admired her; that everyone hated her is the perception nurtured by the Republican slime machine.

Does anybody do any research before just spouting off the most cynical explanation that comes to mind? Maybe McCaskill respects him for a valid reason. And not because he's, you know, Jesus.

Here:
http://thepage.time.com/transcript-of-obama-mccaskill-response-to-clinton-on-mtp-in-conference-call/

I don't recall a presidential candidate with so brief a record.

yes, it's all of two years shorter than Hillary's.

rilkefan: What I said would be pretty silly and somewhat sleazy if the only point were "You think like Cheney. End of argument." What I am interested in doing though is pointing out how some principles people endorse might be similar to principles they do not endorse.

In any case, if I put your point too strongly, I'm sorry. Really, I'm trying to cast doubt on the principle, not you, not what you happen to believe, nor how firmly you happen to believe it, which is why I'll sometimes put people's points more strongly than they put it themselves.

What is more: I think that enough people in certain parts of the country do dislike Hillary enough such that senators will actually be able to run their political careers as anti-Hillary buffers. That is, even if you think that Hillary can still win the election no matter what the opposition against her, you still have to reckon that once in office the opposition to her presidency might still be harder than the opposition to an Obama presidency. If that is the case, she won't be able to get as much done.

Right now we have an awful lot of obstruction going on from the minority party. I do not see that ending with a Hillary presidency, and I do not see Democratic majorities becoming supermajorities. She is a polarizing figure, whether you like it or not. And I think that really limits the upside of her candidacy. We will see a lot of anti-Hillary inspired gridlock.

I don't recall a presidential candidate with so brief a record.

This argument is so tired and so overplayed. Please stop it.

Clinton's record in the US Senate is a mere two years longer than Obama's. Obama was first elected to the Illinois legistlature in 1996, six years before Clinton was elected to the Senate.

And since being in the Senate, Clinton has voted for the Iraq War and the Kyl-Lieberman amendment, sponsored a flag-burning amendment, and held hearings on Grand Theft Auto. Why is this experience we should award?

What has Clinton done, specifically, in the Senate, which should impress me as to both her effectiveness & trustworthiness more than this?

If I hear any more talk of Clinton's "35 years of change" while people criticize Obama's rhetoric for being vague and unspecific, I think I'm gonna blow chunks.

I think that in New York, where voters have had a lot of time to get to know Hillary Clinton, and where (as I understand it) she has gone out of her way to be attentive to constituent issues and matters of importance to New Yorkers in particular, she is well liked. And I imagine that on closer acquaintance, some people who are now disposed to dislike her might change their mind.

What I don't really understand is why we would nominate someone who has to do all this work to overcome existing antipathy. Why not nominate someone whom a substantial number of citizens are not predisposed to dislike?

Katherine, 35-0: wow that is impressive. I wonder what on earth he does that can defuse the skepticism of people who are entrenched, both emotionally and professionally, in these positions.

And how is it that a person allays these concerns? Whether or not these interrogations should be videotaped seems like a hard line on which there is no budging. How do you politically finesse these "hard lines" and get support?

Whatever it is, I wish someone could teach it to the rest of us.

"I don't recall a presidential candidate with so brief a record."

I will just note that candidates on the Republican side with so brief a record are variously called a Jeffersonian citizen, an outsider who will drain the swamp on the Potomac and leave Washington a sleepy little hamlet, a revolutionary unbeholden to special interests, a candidate with solid grassroots support, an individual who will govern like a person who makes decisions sitting around the kitchen table, etc, blah, blah, blah, blah.

The Democratic side has two candidates in the lead who possess substance. (I'm not ignoring Edwards, but things don't look good for him) Beyond that, it's all presentation and narrative.

I don't know who I will vote for yet (I think experience has been downgraded in government to our peril), but I would not mind a Democratic administration (and Party) that plays goodcop/badcop, velvet hand/iron back-of-the-hand) with the Republican Party for eight years.

Keep them off balance. Obama for President, Hillary as chief very special prosecutor, or Hillary for President, and Obama somewhere important and visible.

I'll take any arrangement I can get.

Finally, as Bill Clinton learned, President Obama will meet Mr. and Mrs. Bond Market on his first day in office. Then he'll be half way to being Hillary anyway.

Hillary's already had the demanding couple over for dinner.

"Why not nominate someone whom a substantial number of citizens are not predisposed to dislike?"

This argues for white male Southerners forever, doesn't it?

Oh sure, I'm sure she's diligent on constituent services & funding for local projects & what not & I know she's popular. Also very popular with her staff, very smart, etc. As far as actual leadership, though, from the years 2001-2006, I am drawing a complete and total blank. So if people want to continue badmouthing Obama for "no record" I would really like to know what specifically in Clinton's is more impressive, instead of the usual: "she gets full credit for every good thing Bill Clinton did & no blame for any bad thing Bill Clinton did."

"As far as actual leadership, though, from the years 2001-2006, I am drawing a complete and total blank."

As far as I know they've both been pretty disappointing on this score. I think this counts slightly more against Obama's campaign given its rhetorical stance, but I don't in any case expect that much from Senators running for president in this regard, esp. given the political environment we've had.

rilkefan: in fact, Obama was the point person on ethics reform before it became an issue in 2006, and accomplished a lot. He also did a lot on non-proliferation (both nuclear and small-arms.) Those are both pretty serious accomplishments. I'm open to hearing about what HRC did that was comparable, but I don't know abut it yet.

rilkefan: "This argues for white male Southerners forever, doesn't it?"

No, not really. Because it is not the only principle in play. I think Hilzoy's point is something like "Given that the other differences between the candidates are more or less a wash, it might be preferable to go for the candidate who is not already detested."

When these campaigns were just starting, I talked to a lot of progressive people who thought that the country would just not elect a woman or a black man, particularly from the left. And these people thought that John Edwards was the safe pick.

There's certainly a lot of racism in America, and Obama will have to contend with it, and he will lose votes because of it. But I've been supporting Obama from the beginning over Edwards with an eye towards electability, simply because I think Obama runs a better campaign, will be better able to withstand attack because of the strength of his candidacy, etc. I have been criticizing HRC for a while on this board, but I think even she has a better shot than Edwards in the general. Edwards just isn't a safe pick, even though he is the only white male Southerner in the race.

Right, I had the impression that they were both deliberately avoiding controvery in the Senate (you'll find a number of posts from me kvetching about Obama in the archives), but he at least did good stuff on non-controversial but extremely important stuff like nuclear non-proliferation. There was that ethics reform bill which he improved. There was a bill he introduced on accountability for military contractors BEFORE the Blackwater shootings brought it to everyone's attention. He co-sponsored Durbin's anti-rendition bill. etc.

I also consider the Illinois stuff relevant, as that was the longest time he held office.

I probably follow him more closely than her. I swear to God the only items on her agenda from 2004 & 2005 that immediately come to mind are flagburning & those Grand Theft Auto hearings. I think that's got to be a caricature, but it's not one I got from the Obama campaign. I genuinely don't know what she did. I genuinely don't know what she'll do on the issues I'm focused on.

Oh: she placed a hold on some Bush appointee because they wouldn't approve Plan B, I think. Props for that. What else?

"I'm open to hearing about what HRC did that was comparable, but I don't know abut it yet."

I thought "leadership" meant controversial stuff (maybe the ethics reform counts, though I don't recall it having as much bite as hoped), but ok.

Presumably she claims she's done stuff - you might want to ask a supporter of hers - Alegre at mydd seems like a nice one. But, well, here. Some combination of got stuff done and tried in: "Minimum wage, Renewal Communities, S-Chip, information technology in the health care system, more qualified teachers into classrooms and more outstanding principals, commitment to supporting the rights guaranteed in Roe v. Wade and to reducing the number of abortions by reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, fight with the Bush Administration ensured that Plan B, Count Every Vote Act of 2005."

oh, another good thing about Obama: voting rights stuff.

This SCHIP thing again! How can Clinton claim credit for SCHIP when it was enacted in 1997?

Seriously Rilkefan, your post really got my goat. Rather than just quoting some vague talking points from Clinton's website, could you do us all a favor and find us some actual bills that she sponsored (other than that flag burning amendment) that you think support the case for her "experience?"

'I think Hilzoy's point is something like "Given that the other differences between the candidates are more or less a wash, it might be preferable to go for the candidate who is not already detested."'

Ok, this is a good argument - I think the policy differences are negligible - but assessing electability is, as I've said here often, very difficult. My take on the debates is that HRC is better than Obama, and I think her campaign staff is more competent, and I guess she's probably better placed to resist the MSM/VRWC nonsense that will hit any D nominee (given both her vetting and the distribution of misogyny/racism across the electorate), and it seems likely that on actual acquaintance a lot of that detestation will evaporate - but what do I know?

And, well, I'd like to see a president clearly to the left of center on many issues, and have to expect any such person to be detested by many fellow citizens.

rilkefan says he's thinking of voting for Dodd, which I entirely support. But really, Obama should come back at her on this.

while I'm at it can someone PLEASE ask her about her husband's rendition policies? Not a gotcha. I would really like to know. Some of his former advisors have been whitewashing it in recent months.

while I'm at it can someone PLEASE ask her about her husband's rendition policies?

people should ask her about all of her husband's policies, if she's running on the idea that his time in office counts towards her experience.

"This SCHIP thing again! How can Clinton claim credit for SCHIP when it was enacted in 1997?"

She was reportedly a main factor in its introduction and passage, working from the WH. I believe she's been a consistent advocate of such measures for decades.


Oops, above I meant to expres, "My take on the debates is that HRC is better at debating than Obama".

Here's a New York Times article on the politics of getting S-CHIP passed. This article seems to suggest that it was Ted Kennedy who deserves most of the credit for pressuring the Clintons to sign on. And the article does not mention Mrs. Clinton until the fourth to last paragraph of the two page article:

"Participants in the campaign for the health bill both on and off Capitol Hill said the First Lady had played a crucial behind-the-scenes role in lining up White House support.

"But Mr. Clinton did not appear to move on the issue until a meeting at the White House on July 22 with an agitated Mr. Kennedy. The next day in a ceremony on childhood immunizations, Mr. Clinton committed publicly to fight for the Senate plan with its higher spending for child health insurance."

I come from New York, where Hillary was re-elected with 67 percent of the vote.

Wow, it's almost like she was running in a heavily Democratic state against unpopular opponents.

I'd just like to add that the methods the Clintons are engaging in right now are already reopening all the old (and some more recent) wounds that make me run screaming from participation. I feel like they are cheating us out of real discourse, and I can't say I've seen that from the other candidates.

"Wow, it's almost like she was running in a heavily Democratic state against unpopular opponents."

The New York State Senate has been a majority Republican Senate since 1965 (currently 33-29), there's been a Republican Governor for the last eight years before 2006, and in my lifetime, since 1958, the only times there hasn't been a Republican Senator has been since Senator Clinton was elected; much of the time both Senators were Republican.

You don't live in New York, do you?

The State isn't the city. That's why the majority of the State Senate has been Republican all these decades: because the majority of NY State is famously Republican.

Which is why all the conflict in the legislature since forever between the Republican majority upstate, and the city.

Similarly, most of Pennsylvania isn't like Philly or Pittsburgh, most of Illinois isn't like Chicago, most of California not like San Francisco, and in general, states do not, in fact, overall politically resemble their largest cities.

oh, please. NYC is half of the state population. And the fact that in the 1950s republicans often got elected from the NE doesn't really mean to much today.

br cites: "Participants in the campaign for the health bill both on and off Capitol Hill said the First Lady had played a crucial behind-the-scenes role in lining up White House support."

Ok.

And she significantly underperformed Al Gore in 2000, and 2006 was a landslide democratic year. I don't think those results are at all indicative of electoral prowess.

"oh, please. NYC is half of the state population."

Forty percent. Doesn't change the facts I mentioned, that the majority of the state Senate districts are Republican, that we've never not had a Republican Senator in my lifetime until Senator Clinton was elected alongside Senator Schumer, that New York just got through two terms of a Republican Governor, and so on.

Arguing that Democrats have an easy time getting elected statewide, or that NY is reluctant or finds it difficult to elect Republicans, is a falsehood.

All the content-free exclamations in the world don't change facts.

Exclamations aren't arguments. Absence of arguments speaks to inability to bring one to bear.

And, hey, that overwhelmingly Democratic New York City? Say, what party has the Mayor been for the last fourteen years?

In my lifetime of 49 years, the Mayor has been a Democrat for 27, but a Republican for 22.

But, of course, Democrats are a lock in such an overwhelmingly Democratic city.

Except that factually, that, too, is simply false.

No matter what you want to believe.

But a lot of people don't find facts persuasive, in the presence of their wishes.

Thats a lot of bluster about facts! You must really be invested in that.

The ny senate is highly gerrymandered to ensure republican control, and the house for democrats. And those are state parties, which often have fates unrelated to the nation party in the state. The other two states you mentioned: Philadelphia is 12% of the state population, and Chicago 23%. So NY is unique.

NY was the 4th most democratic voting state last presidential election, 2nd most in 2000. Its not a tough place for democrats. seriously, did i actually have to write this?

Thats a lot of bluster about facts! You must really be invested in that.

He's always been highly influenced by facts. You get used to it.

Well i'm impressed by his command of the facts. They seem to do just what he wants of them.

Thats a lot of bluster about facts! You must really be invested in that.

Yes, we in the reality-based community are quite enamored of them.

You'd think you get them right then. But bluster can stand in for that. NY IS A REPUBLICAN STATE!!!WHEEE

"I don't recall a presidential candidate with so brief a record."

Perhaps you should pull a penny or a five dollar bill out of your pocket in order to refresh your recollection.

Redstocking's point is valid. The more the people see Hillary, the more the negativity rating will probably go down.

History would not seem to offer a lot of evidence for this, since her negative rating has generally gone UP when she's be in the limelight (such as after the healthcare fiasco).

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