Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hillary a Drag

We mid-westerners aren't arrogant, but we aren't dumb, either. We know how the Electoral College works. We know Missouri and Ohio are swing states that the Democrats must win to take back the White House. As a Midwestern Democrat, I desperately want to put a D back in the White House.

Here's my beef - Hillary Clinton cannot win the swing voters in Missouri that U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill won. When the top of the ticket in 2004 sported a liberal from Massachusetts, Claire lost her bid for governor. When she was the top of the ticket in 2006, Claire won and helped push the majority in the US Senate over to the Democrats. Democrats need Missouri!!

In Missouri, the presidential primary will be decided without our input. We are left to work with whomever Iowa and New Hampshire give us. Fortunately, Iowa and New Hampshire take their jobs seriously. Maybe they give us John Edwards, who is leading in the Iowa polls. Missouri can build a ticket around Edwards. Attorney General Jay Nixon will be our governor if Edwards is the presidential candidate. Hillary - although extremely smart - is horrible divisive in the swing districts that put Claire into Harry Truman's senate seat. Our Missouri swing voters are in suburban counties, they are women, they don't vote on abortion and they don't like Hillary.

Apparently, others around the country believe the same. Check out Clinton a Drag? Dems Fear Her Negatives. Things like "in more than 40 interviews, Democratic candidates, consultants and party chairs from every region pointed to internal polls that give Clinton strikingly high unfavorable ratings in places with key congressional and state races" scare the crap out of me as we try to take back Missouri's governor's mansion. Quotes like "the chairman of a Midwest state party called Clinton a nightmare for congressional and state legislative candidates" ring true in Missouri as we attempt to take back control of the Missouri house.

The Country needs Missouri if we are to win the White House. Missouri needs a candidate that will allow us to compete. Iowa and New Hampshire – give us someone who can win in more than the Kerry 2004 states.


sophia said...

Oh, I don't think Nixon would have to worry about being on the same ticket with Hillary. Kay should probably worry.

And McCaskill's failure to get those same swing voters when she ran in 04 is more fairly attributed to her failure to campaign for their votes than to Kerry's (admittedly uninspiring) presence on the ticket, isn't it? Hasn't McCaskill been pretty open about her regrets in listening to national party approved consultants in how she ran in 04?

Which is not to say that I disagree with the idea that Clinton as the nominee is bad for the Democratic party overall. I think we could drag her across the finish line (but then I thought the same thing about Kerry), but our (national) down-ticket gains would not be as good. And 2010... argh. I'd put money on no federal gains in 2010 if she's president. Assuming Kit Bond retired (since the MO democratic establishment has apparently decided he's not to be seriously challenged), I really don't see MO electing a D to that open seat in 2010 with Hillary in the White House.

The profound arrogance it takes to run for president when you've been rolling with at least a 40% national disapproval rating since you first declared for public office has not, and will not, go unnoticed.

Stephen Bough said...

Very thoughtful. I think you are right that Claire has publicly expressed her regrets about listening to the national party folks in 2004 (although the DSCC helped in 2006). Claire has also expressed her frustration that Kerry left the state early (after dictating much of the MO campaign). She has also talked about the whirlwind of coming out of the primary.

At somepoint Bond will have to quit, so will Ike Skelton. It would be nice to be in the position to take back the Senate seat and retain the congressional seat.

Phil Cardarella said...

Sadly, there about 45% of the voters who seem determined never to vote for a woman for any office.
Not only does that appear to be the case with HRC, but was the case with Claire when she ran for reelection (her fraud-felon opponent got 45%) and Kay (Stan Glazer got 45%).

That does not mean that HRC can't carry Mo. But it does mean that she -- like any woman -- merely has to work twice as hard as a man -- which, given the Kerry campaign, will not be demanding a standard. Pity the guy who tries to swiftboat her!

I am drawn to Edwards because I see in him the idealism that RFK brought to the Party back in 1968. I would be a lot more comfortable with HRC if she conveyed more passion and less calculation(although then the critics would be calling her menopausal.)

The problem with the Clinton strategy of triangulation is that it wins only by increments and loses by chunks. Eight years of NAFTA and free trade ravaged unions and the middle class, bleeding jobs over the borders -- and fueling the discontent that made the 2000 election close enough to steal. That is what really scares folks about HRC: That after four or eight years everyone will be politically correct, but unemployed, except as a part-time greeter at Wal-Mart.

mainstream said...

I have to agree with both Stephen and Sophia. Any democrat that needs to rely heavily on a swing vote will be hurt by Hillary.

Barnes will be hurt disproportionately more just based upon her district demographics.

Also, let's do a sanity check here - it's going to be tough for our first female president to get elected, regardless of how people poll. One of the dynamics of asking people hypotheticals is that many people want to sound open-minded. However, asking a question over the phone, especially at this early stage, doesn't appropriately create the mindset that people will have when they're faced with the actual voting transaction.

I would also argue that many women - many more than we'd like to admit - prefer a male in the office.

Our first female president is going to have to have to be sharp AND have a lot less baggage than Hillary.

Although, Sophia, I would add that it takes profound arrogance, period, just to run for the office. It takes a whole lotta something else to run with her high negatives. I have decided what something else is just yet...

(btw, I do think Hillary would make a very good president.)

Anonymous said...

I think Missouri voters can and will vote for a woman. We have KC Mayor Kay Barnes, Sen. Claire McCaskill, and even the lovely Mrs. Shields, former Jackson County Executive. We are, however, a swing state. That means every election is decided by 5 points or less.

We would vote the Governor of Kansas, but Hillary has been so successfully demonized by the Republicans, she is entirely unelectable.

Every good Democrat must ask themselves is the White House more important than their D candidate. We all united around Kerry. We will do the same in 2008. Just give us a person that has a chance in Ohio, Florida, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and South Carolina. That ain't Hillary or Obama.

mainstream said...

Anon - I think you're right at lower elected levels. Women don't have as much of an issue, and women have a much easier time getting elected the more local you go. And there are more and more women the the senatorial and Cabinet levels.

Totally different ball game at the presidential level, however.

craig said...

First, other than your first paragraph, good post Phil. Second, it is encouraging to hear Democrats realize that Hillary is a divisive and unelectable person. This gives me hope that Obama will get the nomination. That way, if Romney gets the GOP nod, I can vote for Obama.

Stephen Bough said...

For a great, continued discussion of this issue, slightly more pro-Hillary, check out


Anonymous said...

Why do we further right-wing talking points and make Hillary even more unelectable by posting pictures of her that are unflattering? No matter what you prefer, she is still the favorite to win the nomination. Let's deconstruct arguments the right uses to slam our party, rather than reinforce them.

Dan said...

Bravo, Anonymous 9:06. I would prefer Edwards to Clinton, but I think the "Hillary's unelectable" meme is a prime example of conventional wisdom that persists despite strong evidence that it's hogwash. Look at her support in NY - the more people know about her, the more they like her. I'm convinced that she could win, if liberals would stop parroting Rush Limbaugh's claims that she can't.

mainstream said...

Dan, I think your half right there. I do get PO'd at myself for parroting the Limbaugh line - I get the point that it's self-defeating, and quite frankly she is a strong leader.

But she does have alot of baggage and negatives.

There I go again.

anonymous 9:06 said...

I, too, prefer both Obama and Edwards to Clinton. Clinton has high negatives, but she has a lot of positives, too (let's remember that Bill won Missouri twice -- think we'd see a lot of him in the state)?

And, so far, she is running the best campaign of any candidate -- and that comes from having been through this twice before.

bluemom said...

For me as a woman and a mother who is currently receiving email solisitations from the big 3 canidates, I am sometimes insulted when other women imply that by not voting for Hillary, I am not "standing with my sisiters". I just don't feel that she can win in a divisive general election. As democrats we are finally getting our act together and I would hate to undo any of our hard fought victories in 2006.

As the campaign has progressed, I have become more and more impressed with John Edwards.

I feel strongly that Elizabeth was right when she said that John was a stronger canidate for women than HRC. It has become abundantly clear to me, that JRE is driving this campaign. He leads on the isues and Hillary and Obama follow.
It is frustrating to me that the MSM continue to focus on HRC and Obama. I can only hope that the party activists who vote in the primaries are paying attention.

John Edwards won a straw poll in California the other day with 41% of the vote. These are the activists who vote in primaries, and we will decide who the nomineee is.

Phil Cardarella said...

It is not just in primaries that activists matter. One of the advantages that Edwards has is union support in caucus states.

Frankly, I do not feel the level of inspiration that Obama creates in some. And I am concerned that a guy who was a state senator two years ago is not ready for the crap that will be dumped on him in a national campaign. Is he preferable to any conceivable Repub? Of course. Will he be vulnerable to the Rove attack machine is my concern, not having been bloodied at that level before, as HRC and Edwards were?
That scares me. In a close election -- as this can be -- what will be his gaf or swiftboat issue?It is too late to find out in October '08.

Think about Obama this way: He has LESS experience and exposure than Claire. We all know the BS that the Repubs dumped on her over the years, but how would those non-scandals play to a national audience who has not had years to absorb them as BS? In 30 second attack ads funded by millions of dollars in every swing state in September or October '08?

Good and bad, HRC and Edwards are known quantities.

Anonymous said...

Ask a Republican why they hate Hillary and they couldn't tell you. Dan and Anon 9:02 are right she can win and if elected to rep the democrats, will win. Plain and Simple. I love Obama and Edwards, but Clinton is on another level. Ive lived around the world and ask my friends who they want in office and 100% of them say Hillary Clinton. The rest have no credibility.

Anonymous said...

The folks that will decide who gets Missouri's Electoral College votes are women swing voters from Clay, Platte, Buchanan and St. Louis Counties - the same non-abortion voting folks who put Claire into the U.S. Senate.

They didn't vote for Claire in 04, then they did in 06. What changes did Claire make? Can Hillary make those changes? I don't think so.

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