Friday, November 30, 2007

Loeb: Hillary and the "Politics of Disappointment"

Paul Loeb has a new essay that is making the rounds, titled, "Hillary and the Politics of Disappointment"

Loeb acknowledges the more common argument that a Hillary nomination would re-energize a depressed Republican base while demoralizing core Democratic activists, particularly those outraged about the war, which might, in turn, lead to her defeat. But, his real point is that a Hillary nomination, and even a Hillary presidency, might very well split the Democratic Party, as Bill's presidency did. He writes,

We forget that this happened with her husband Bill, because compared to Bush, he’s looking awfully good. Much of Hillary’s support may be nostalgia for when America’s president seemed to engage reality instead of disdaining it. But remember that over the course of Clinton’s presidency, the Democrats lost 6 Senate seats, 46 Congressional seats, and 9 governorships. This political bleeding began when Monica Lewinsky was still an Oregon college senior. Given Hillary’s protracted support of the Iraq war, her embrace of neoconservative rhetoric on Iran, and her coziness with powerful corporate interests, she could create a similar backlash once in office, dividing and depressing the Democratic base and reversing the party’s newfound momentum.

Loab then goes on to offer all kinds of supporting evidence of how this split occurred during the Bill Clinton presidency. He concludes with this,

Because the Republican candidates would bring us more of the same ghastly policies we’ve seen from Bush and Cheney, I’d vote for Hillary if she became the nominee. But I’d do so with a very heavy heart, and a recognition that we’ll have to push her to do the right thing on issue after issue, and won’t always prevail. We still have a chance to select strong alternatives like Edwards (who I’m supporting) or Obama. And with Republican polling numbers in the toilet, this election gives Democrats an opportunity to seriously shift our national course that we may not have again for years. It would be a tragedy if they settled for the candidate most likely to shatter the momentum of this shift when it’s barely begun.
I share much of Loeb's perspective and am wondering what other folks think? I just can't find it in myself to be jazzed at all about Hillary. And I can't seem to find anyone else who is genuinely enthusiastic about her nomination... and I've been searchin'! Most who support her seem simply resigned to her as the standard-bearer.

What do you think?

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