Thursday, January 29, 2015

HILLARY IS WEAK! HILLARY IS TERRIFYING!

Politico's Todd Purdum says the Republican Party has looked at Hillary Clinton and concluded that she ain't all that:
... the burgeoning GOP field ... reflects this conviction, growing among both potential candidates and professional operatives: Hillary Clinton is far from invincible. Or, to put it another way, pollsters and consultants in both parties say, she is eminently beatable despite her current double-digit advantage over prospective Republican foes in public polls.

The clumsy rollout of Clinton’s State Department memoir last summer, Barack Obama’s steadily lagging job approval numbers and her own sizable unfavorable rating among voters -- which has stayed stuck in the mid 40 percent range for years -- have combined to embolden potential Republican opponents.

... no one in either party thinks it would be wise to underestimate them for so much as a moment. But her disadvantages -- some structural and historical, and some personal -- are just as baked in to the equation....
But at The New York Times, Amy Chozick notes that Republicans are desperately rooting for a not-gonna-happen Elizabeth Warren run because they think Clinton needs to be weakened:
On cable television and in private strategy sessions, conservatives are steadily stoking the flames of a movement to recruit Ms. Warren....

“Please give us Elizabeth Warren. Please, God, let us have Elizabeth Warren,” said Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, who is considering a presidential bid....

Former Representative Michele Bachmann, a Tea Party Republican from Minnesota, told CNN that Ms. Warren would be “an extremely attractive candidate.” Mrs. Bachmann also said that if she were Mrs. Clinton, she would be “extremely concerned.”

The tactic says much about the 2016 landscape for Republicans. A crowded field of people who say they are considering running for president ... has emerged. That means the party is expecting a bruising ideological battle for the nomination....

An easy path to the nomination could allow Mrs. Clinton to enter a general election with more funding than the Republican nominee, who would have had to spend heavily to beat a wide field of competitors. Ms. Warren represents Republicans’ best hope for an expensive, prolonged battle for the Democratic nomination, weakening Mrs. Clinton along the way, political operatives on both sides say....

“Elizabeth Warren says, ‘I’m not running; I don’t want to be president,’” the radio host Rush Limbaugh said recently. “Translation: ‘I can’t wait and I am running. But I’m just not going to admit it right now.’”

Republicans said Ms. Warren would deliver a perfect “trifecta” in diminishing Mrs. Clinton. She attracts young, liberal supporters who view Mrs. Clinton as too centrist. A Warren candidacy would take away a central theme expected of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign -- that it is time to elect a female president. And Ms. Warren’s presence in the primary season could push Mrs. Clinton to adopt liberal positions that might turn off independents in a general election....
So which is it? Is Hillary's weakness as a candidate so obvious that Republicans are jumping into the race in droves, just drooling at the prospect of taking her on? Or is she so strong that they need the dea ex machina of an Elizabeth Warren run to save them from themselves?

I do think Hillary is beatable -- I just question whether she's beatable by the actually existing Republican Party. Purdum says, for instance, that "the quirky libertarianism of a Rand Paul ... could ... pose a challenge for Clinton’s highly orthodox approach to politics, and hurt her with younger voters, who might see her as too hawkish on matters from Syria to Iran." Yeah, but Paul's reluctance to bang the neocon war drums is alienating Koch-affiliated fat-cat donors, thus diminishing Paul's chances of winning the nomination. Purdum also writes, "Jeb Bush, a fluent Spanish speaker, would have obvious appeal to Latino voters, if he does not find himself forced to contort his current sympathy for comprehensive immigration overhaul." He won't merely have to "contort" it -- he'll have to abandon it altogether, or he's going to go down in flames in the primaries the way Jon Huntsman did.

Hillary's greatest vulnerability is to someone like Scott Walker, who can nod and wink to the wingnut base through the primaries, never uttering a heresy against the religion of conservatism, then run a gee-whiz-aw-shucks campaign full of folksy platitudes in the general election, in the manner of Joni Ernst. But Hillary win win if Republicans are perceived as what they actually are.

9 comments:

Aunt Snow said...

Let's hope Scott Walker is in jail by this time in 2016.

Victor said...

Hillary would be susceptible to a run from a moderate Republican.

But, those are extinct.

And I'm not sure that Gov. Wanker has the political chops to do what you're suggesting.

He might - but WI is a small sample size.

Nefer said...

I really don't understand the attraction of Scott Walker. I can't stand him or his politics, but that isn't the problem. I can recognize the charisma or attraction of any number of politicians whose stances on the issues I can't abide.

He is just so droopy. His face always seems to be set in a just woke from a nap expression. He looks as though he spends his time thinking about lint and that it is an effort for him. He seems to have the personality and charm of a damp sock. I must be missing something.

Victor said...

Nefer,
He looks like the guy who graduated last in a Community College Accounting class.

Never Ben Better said...

Hey, we're talking about the party that fervently believes Barack Obama is a clueless weakling incompetent blunderer AND a merciless tyrant destroying America. At the same time.

These people are perfectly capable of buying that it's a floor wax AND a dessert topping.

Ray said...

I think it would be very interesting if Hillary would have Warren as a vice-President candidate.
It would be fun to watch the TP/GOPers panic.
More blogs should test it out by pushing the idea and see the reaction from the numerous TP/GOP blogs.

flipyrwhig said...

In a way I think both can be right. I think a lot of Republicans are thinking about running because they don't see any other _Republicans_ being hard to beat -- "if we're all flawed, why not me?" they think. And then, and I think this is correct, they figure that all elections are coin flips regardless of how awful and/or ridiculous the Republican is. If it's going to be a 53-47 election at worst no matter what nincompoop gets the nod, that nincompoop might as well be you.

Ten Bears said...

George Bush in a dress scares the hell out of me.

Ken_L said...

Political commentators in general love writing about campaigning; it's like a football game where you can micro-analyse every little move the contestants make each day and write weekly reports solemnly scoring the match, with earnest observations about where X has failed to impress but Y could yet see victory snatched away if X does Z. It requires no fact-checking and little grasp of policy.

Clinton being the obvious candidate with no challengers gives them nothing to write about for the next 18 months, so they have to invent things. I hope she doesn't even declare her intention to run until towards the end of the year. It will drive the professional pundits crazy.