The Smartest Democrat

I’m starting to think that Hillary Clinton is by far the smartest Democrat out there. As the Howard Dean wing of the party leads themselves lemming-like off the political cliff, Hillary Clinton is poising herself as a centrist. Which means that Hillary understands that a hard-left liberal can’t win an election in this country, and that she has every intention of running in 2008. She’s gotten tough on immigration, she’s blasting Bush for not balancing the budget, and she’s now trying to paint herself as a moderate on social issues.

The Clintons may not have much in terms of personal morals, but in terms of political acumen Bill and Hill are second to none. I’ve always argued that Hillary wouldn’t have a chance at obtaining national office – but if Hillary keeps up this triangulation strategy, I’m not so sure that would be the case. Hillary certainly understands the American electorate far better than her Democratic contemporaries, and the Bush Administration better be taking a hard look at the issues she’s pushing and start getting tough on immigration, the budget, and other issues.

3 thoughts on “The Smartest Democrat

  1. Most would argue that Howard Dean is as much a centrist as Hillary. Certainly his resume as Governor of Vermont would indicate such. The guy is pro death penalty, favors a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, has a solid approval rating from the NRA and has expressed a willingness to raise the eligibility age of Social Security as needed to save the program. If that platform now qualifies as “hard-left,” then every progressive leader in this nation’s history is undoubtedly spinning in his or her grave.

    I must admit though that you guys are shrewd in your attempts to bait the Democratic Party into moving even further to the political right and promoting the electability of perhaps the least electable Senator on the Democratic side of the aisle. If the Democrats continue the strategy of pandering to politically clueless soccer/security moms and kissing corporate America’s ass while taking their base for granted, they will find themselves a permanent minority. As controversial of a figure as Dean is, he speaks to the people who are part of the Democratic Party base….as well as those who should be a part of the Democratic Party base. After more than a decade of being suffocated by DLC-dominated campaign strategies that Hillary intends to continue (and whom Republicans desperately hope the party does), the Democratic Party has neglected to convey a message to those who don’t live in an affluent Midwestern or northeastern suburb. It’s too bad the party can’t have a more reliable spokesperson for Dean’s message, but it’s one that needs to take hold if the consequence is the coronation of Hillary and another unsuccessful 18-state campaign.

  2. On Dean, I agree with Mark- he’s not the far-left politician that you seem to think he is, and I believe he’s a good choice for DNC Chair- the two things that Dean excells at (other than making an ass out of himself at inappropriate times) are fundraising and grassroots organization.

    On Clinton, however, I must say I completely disagree with Mark, and am in odd agreement with Jay here. Hillary IS an electable candidate. She’d sweep every blue state in the last election, and if we run into economic or further international trouble in the next few years, she’s a shrewd enough politician to use it to hammer any possible 2008 GOP candidate. The Clintons are masters of triangulation and political strategy, and Hillary has shown that she has as much (if not more!) command of these faculties than her brilliant, if flawed, husband. When the time comes, she’ll likely be able to spin off years of mixed press- and, not only that, she could probably fire up female voters like no candidate in history. Not only that, I could forsee 2008 completely rewriting the “logic” of the Red/Blue electoral map- especially if the GOP picks a moderate like Pataki or Giuliani, which could easily cause a religious right bull moose. I can see it now- half the south goes blue from the massive split of the GOP vote, while New York goes red by 500 votes… that’d be an election to remember… 🙂

  3. Nicholas, Hillary will have a huge problem anywhere in Middle America for a number of reasons, but the main reason I expect all three states of the Upper Midwest would vote against her is her role as chief critic of ethanol. While the farm vote is no longer substantial in Minnesota and Wisconsin, it could still sway a close election considering there are a number of blue farm counties in both states. Upper Midwesterners are some of the few Americans who still vote in accordance to their financial interest, at least in proportion to the rest of the country. With that in mind, Hillary’s ethanol opposition may help her cause as a Senator from New York, but is likely to make her a non-started in the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses.

    I think your projection of a changing political map is several election cycles premature. First of all, the GOP has proven it can win running hard-right extremists, so I’m not inclined to believe they’ll settle for the pragmatism of a Pataki or a Giuliani (even though the monstrously annoying Giulani would lose 10,000 votes every time he opened his mouth in a national campaign). If the GOP somehow managed a moderate winning nomination, you’re probably right that a Bull Moose alternative would emerge and divide the South. Still, I can’t see any Southern state (except Arkansas…maybe) going blue even with a three-candidate ticket if Hillary is the donk candidate. However far to the right she moves to warm herself up to “values voters” and corporate robber barons, she won’t win over a single of the scores of millions of Americans who have hated her since 1992.

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