Saturday, December 22, 2007

Electability: Hillary vs. Obama

Hillary Clinton has been hitting hard on the "electability" theme throughout her campaign. She has steadfastly claimed that she is more electable that Barack Obama. She has said she has been through the fires with the GOP and can stand up to them. Is this true?

First, I don't recall the Clintons standing up too significantly to the GOP in the 1990s. Rather, their entire DLC philosophy was to CAVE to the conservatives by being Republican-lite. And, during Clinton's impeachment, they didn't fight back too vigorously because BILL DID IT! So, this argument is spurrious in my mind...

Second, I'll repeat an argument I burried in a previous email: Not only does Hillary begin with a 45-47% negative rating (more than double anyother candidate in either party), it is also widely acknowledged that she, more than any other candidate, will mobilize the GOP base, which is fairly disillusioned right now. BUT, MORE IMPORTANTLY, every Democrat, even those who adore Hillary, know several other Democrats that are turned-off by the prospect of her nomination and who will be disillusioned if she gets the nod. These people, including myself, may in the end hold their nose and vote for her, but they sure won't fight for her, nor will they be energized to work on the campaign, which will not only hurt Hillary's bid, but also Democrats up and down the ballot. Be honest. Think about it. I know you know several of these Democrats! We all do and this should give all Dems serious cause for pause before throwing their support to Clinton.

As a specific example, I cite Jim Esch in Omaha. Esch(D) ran for Congress in '06 and nearly beat conservtaive GOP boob, Lee Terry. He came within a whisker and that is no small task out here in Red State America. Most thought he would run in '08 and might very well win, but Esch has decided not to give it another go. Why? Well, in making his announcement, he specificially referenced, among other things, the fact that Hillary looked like a good bet to be the party nominee at the top and that that would be the kiss of death in a state like Nebraska, where her presence on the ballot will bring out every GOPer possible. So, even the prospect of a Hillary campaign has already cost the Democrats one potential congressional pick-up!

Last, Robert Parry has an excellent piece over at Alternet about the extreme vulnerability BOTH Clintons have because of Secret Service records, which detail their every move over the last many years, and which are under the control of Republicans in the Bish Administration!

Even as Hillary Clinton's operatives were dropping hints that Republicans would exploit Barack Obama's youthful drug use, some Clinton insiders privately worried about her own vulnerability because the Bush administration possesses detailed knowledge of her movements -- and her husband's -- over the past seven years.

Because of Sen. Clinton's unique status as the first former First Lady to run for President - and because her husband was succeeded by a Republican -- she is the first candidate to have both her and her spouse be subject to regular, long-term surveillance by an Executive Branch agency controlled by the opposing political party...

Though Secret Service records are supposed to be closely held secrets, a source close to the Clintons told me that it is believed that senior Republicans have received regular briefings about movements of the Clintons that might prove embarrassing if released during the general election campaign.

The article then goes on to cite several concrete examples of the Repubs willingness to exploit this access.

Here is the full text:
"Is Hillary More Vulnerable to Republican Attacks?

And, in case you missed it, Maureen Dowd has an excellent satirical piece about Clinton's drug smear against Obama:

"Reefer Madness in Iowa"

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