Sunday, November 04, 2007

Speaking Volumes

If you read carefully, you can learn quite a bit about Senator Clinton's presidential campaign from a recent interview with her in the local Valley News. Here are the opening paragraphs:

West Lebanon -- U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton yesterday rejected suggestions that she is running a scripted presidential campaign that is avoiding substantive answers, saying she is the most experienced Democrat in the field to take on Republicans.

“I want to govern as a progressive Democrat, but I'm going to run a disciplined campaign that is a winning campaign, and part of that means staying on message, so that's what I do, day in and day out,” Clinton said yesterday in a meeting with Valley News editors and reporters.
Someone will have to explain to me how she can simultaneously "stay on message" while rejecting suggestions that "she is running a scripted presidential campaign."

And what's this about being the most experienced Democrat? The article suggests an answer:
The former first lady, who recently turned 60, said her political activism dating back to the 1960s, and vast exposure to the national spotlight, leave her “better prepared to take on what needs to be done in Washington.” And she said her experience as first lady in the turbulent Clinton White House, and in running for Senate in her adopted state of New York, have steeled her to take on a general election campaign for the presidency.

“Speaking from experience, until you've been through it, you have no way of knowing how you are going to react. It is not an intellectual exercise; it is visceral,” Clinton said. “At the end of the day, I think I'm in the best position to win.”
So the experience in question is not experience in governing. It's experience in campaigning. Although it may not seem like it today, that campaign will end. Then what? More from the article:
“It's not just what I say on a stage in a debate, and what point I score and whether my opponents attack me, or whatever,” she said. “I try to think responsibly about, OK, when I'm president and I actually want to do this, how am I going to do it, and how am I going to avoid having said something during the campaign that will come back and undermine what I think my responsibility is, which is actually to get something done.”

She would apparently not want to be constrained in what she will do based on what she has said she will do. And, of course, we are supposed to cast our votes for her to "get something done," when we are not told in advance what that something will be.


eightnine2718281828mu5 said...

Someone will have to explain to me how she can simultaneously "stay on message" while rejecting suggestions that "she is running a scripted presidential campaign."

Well, she could prevent those who disagree with her from gaining entry to her events, thus eliminating anyone attempting to steer her off message.

I believe precedent exists for this particular tactic.

eightnine2718281828mu5 said...

She would apparently not want to be constrained in what she will do based on what she has said she will do.

What are her positions on nation building and humility in foreign policy again?

Tom said...

Eightnine - No one could possibly doubt that George II is a mind-bogglingly-bad president. You set way to low a bar comparing Ms. Clinton to Junior.

The key question for me, as a lifelong Democrat, is "who would be best in pulling us out of the mess we're in?". Somehow, putting the most hated politician who's allowed to run into the presidency doesn't strike me as a good idea. And, no, I don't worry about electability, because we could run a manikin and beat whoever the Repubs put up.

In fact, the only thing that could stir the embers of republican passion is another holy war against the Clintons. Richardson, Dodd, Biden, even Obama, all win 60% and sweep Congress. Hillary wins with 52% and brings out the republican congressional vote to boot.

eightnine2718281828mu5 said...

The only thing Dodd and Biden have in common is that they ain't gonna win the primary. Obama is bright, and a nice guy, but Karl Rove sees him as soft on the outside and chewy in the middle. The 'Black' thing doesn't even matter to Karl. Notice how little time and energy the R's put into attacking Obama; that silence speaks volumes.

Personally, I'm more comfortable with Dodd than anyone else in the field right now; but I don't think it matters much.

Remember the Edwards haircut story? The Breck Girl jokes? And every schoolgirl knows that Gore 'invented' the internet. Besides Hillary, the R's don't care who the D's run; if reality doesn't give them material to work with, they will lie.

But I think they're terrified of the Clintons; they threw everything they had at them and Bill still came out of office with the highest favorability ratings of any modern president. They are completely mystified why the smear tactics didn't bring them down in flames, and it drives them nuts since they are so invested in this form of political battle.

The ability to get inside the R's heads is the biggest advantage the Clintons have; it completely unhinges the opposition and keeps them off balance.

That any D will be a vast improvement in governance over W goes without saying; but Hillary can hit the ground running with both governance and political organizations fully functioning.

Obama? Edwards? Not so much.

Tom said...

Precisely my point...I don't want to "get inside their heads"...I'm not afraid of the smear tactics anymore (Rove's reign ended the day he made Terry Schiavo a famous name). The congressional elections in 06 were a complete repudiation of the House of Bush; we merely need to nominate a potentially effective president and we will sweep.

And speaking of the "House of Bush", I must say I'm not happy with the "House of Clinton" either. If you believe that the country is better off with a president that 30% of the country loathes, then we have a disagreement that will be hard to bridge. There are many qualified Democrats that simply do not have the baggage, which will enable them to govern more effectively given the god-awful mess we're left with.

eightnine2718281828mu5 said...

The same 30% that hate Clinton would hate Obama, Edwards, Dodd, and Biden.

many qualified Democrats that simply do not have the baggage

Obama is an appeaser, Edwards is a metrosexual, Gore invented the internet, Kerry is a cheese-eating surrender monkey, etc etc etc.

If the baggage does not exist, they will create it.

This is not about effective governance or enlightened policy, it's about dominance and control.

SnowDahlia said...

If you want to dislike Hillary Clinton, find a substantive reason to do it. Don't blame her for acting like a politician, when politicians of all stripes act exactly the way they must act if they are to be elected, and then re-elected. We created the system, remember. If we want candid politicians, let's reward them for candor instead of punishing them for it.

Tom said...

I assume the "want to dislike" comment was for me, not Andrew :)

I don't get what way is the undeniable "loathing" factor not a substantive reason to prefer another democrat? Why stir them up? The KNOW they're going to lose, and lose big...better than that, they know they deserve to lose, both for George II but also for their horrible congressional performance.

What can put a monkey-wrench in the works? I think Hillary will bring out all the crazies, as well as all the people who voted for George II against Al Gore. This will limit the congressional vote, which needs to be strong to avoid filibusters over getting out of Iraq.

So, Snow, my argument is entirely substantive -- as the differences in experience mostly balance in favor of the other candidates. My question is "Why should we favor a relatively inexperienced candidate who has such high negatives?" over, say, Bill Richardson?