Tuesday, September 20, 2016


This news doesn't surprise me:
Former President George H.W. Bush is bucking his party's presidential nominee and plans to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, according to a member of another famous political family, the Kennedys.

... [Bush's] preference for the wife of his own successor, President Bill Clinton, nonetheless became known to a wider audience thanks to Kathleen Hartington Kennedy Townsend, the former Maryland lieutenant governor and daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy.

On Monday, Townsend posted a picture on her Facebook page shaking hands next to the former president and this caption: "The President told me he’s voting for Hillary!!”

In a telephone interview, Townsend said she met with the former president in Maine earlier today, where she said he made his preference known that he was voting for a Democrat. “That’s what he said,” she told POLITICO.
This came with a non-denial denial:
Jim McGrath, a spokesman for Bush, did not confirm nor deny the claim.

"The vote President Bush will cast as a private citizen in some 50 days will be just that: a private vote cast in some 50 days," McGrath told CNN. "He is not commenting on the presidential race in the interim."
I don't think I've said it here, but I've been assuming that some Bush or other would ultimately endorse Clinton. I thought it might be Jeb, even though he's said on more than one occasion that he'll vote for neither Clinton nor Donald Trump. Will he change his mind, despite the fact that his kind words for Clinton in 2013 while he gave her a public service award was used against him in the primaries? Or will he stick to his position, in the hope of winning another election someday, or in the hope that he won't hurt the political career of his son George P., the Texas land commissioner and near-certain future candidate for governor, senator, or president, who's fallen in line behind Trump?

I understood why Clinton sought Republican support just after the convention -- moderate suburban GOP voters, especially women, seemed to be persuadable. It seemed to work -- there was much talk about Clinton's success in, say, the Philadelphia suburbs, and overall among college-educated whites. When no Bushes were among her endorsers, I assumed that the plan was to save a Bush endorsement for later -- and that may be correct.

I don't think this just slipped out -- the story seems impeccably choreographed (the reveal through a third party, the hedged statement from the spokesman), so I'm guessing it's been in the planning stages for a while.

But I wonder if the GOP outreach has hit the limit of its usefulness for Clinton. Now we see her reaching out to millennial fans of Bernie Sanders -- does it occur to her that her ardent courting of Republicans reinforced their sense that she's not for them? I think the GOP effort was worth it, but I think Clinton needs to deemphasize it now and work at winning back voters who should be solid Democrats. Nevertheless, I'm anticipating an October Jeb Bush surprise, for better or worse.


Unknown said...

Her outreach to millennials was comedy gold. Did no one on her staff hear how "Hold me accountable" sounds like "Stop me before I strike again"?

homelessonthehighdesert said...

I told you months ago most of my clientele - Republicans all, Titans of Local Industry, one quite possibly the most successful micro-brewer in the county - have expressed to me their intent to vote Hillary. As if Oregon votes counted.

Caveat Emptor

O'owlish Amenhen
(Ten Bears)

flipyrwhig said...

Now we see her reaching out to millennial fans of Bernie Sanders -- does it occur to her that her ardent courting of Republicans reinforced their sense that she's not for them?

They were always looking for reasons to inflame their sense that "she's not for them," and strut and pout about it. That was the entirety of the "movement."

pbriggsiam said...

You supported the wrong candidate in the primary. She'll have my vote and many others but the general wouldn't even be close if Sanders were running.

Steve M. said...

I supported Clinton when her victory in the primaries was inevitable. At that point, I thought Dems and the left should pull in the same direction.

We have absolutely no idea what the general election contest would have looked like with Sanders as the nominee because we never saw what the GOP had planned for Sanders. The attack ads and damaging stories would have been brutal, because Republicans are excellent at character assassination. (Ask John Kerry and Mike Dukakis.) Sanders might have survived, but those double-digit leads he had when no one from the GOP was saying anything anything negative about him are not a reliable indicator.

McSchwanger said...

Democrats reaching out to moderate Republicans while ignoring younger voters in their own party? Say it ain't so. It's fine, though; I'm sure the constant finger wagging from party centrists and general dismissive "shut up and fall in line" attitude will really light a fire under them to vote D, just like it did in 2012 and 2014. That always works, or why would Dem centrists keep doing it over and over again?

McSchwanger said...

2010 and 2014*

CH said...

We can't know how things would be going if Sanders, or Biden or O'Malley or (your choice here), had been the nominee. What we can and do know is how they are going with HRC as the nominee: so far, despite massively outspending DT on TV and despite more hotshot campaign wizards & Dem officeholders (and now, Repub has-beens and moneybags) than you can shake a stick at, things are not going well at all. Something else we can and do know is that HRC's favorability ratings began their inexorable decline just as soon as she announced her candidacy last year - before Sanders had even announced and certainly before his candidacy could have had any impact. (I refer you to HuffPo polling averages for substantiation.)

In light of all this, as a 64-year-old reliable Dem voter beginning with McGovern, I am repelled and embarrassed by the millenial-bashing I see coming from too many of my contemporaries. If you want to talk about strutting and pouting, I'd say Clara Jeffery and Kevin Drum are the current champs at it: strutting in their self-importance and pouting because (despite plentiful warning signs going back for over a year) the electorate (particularly independents and young folks) isn't responding to their condescension and browbeating. I'll vote for HRC because DT is an unthinkable prospect, but it'll be in spite of the likes of Jeffery and Drum, not because of them.

Tom Hilton said...

...does it occur to her that her ardent courting of Republicans reinforced their sense that she's not for them?

This just drives me nuts. The leftier-than-thou folks who object to bringing moderate Republicans on board are effectively saying it's not enough to have a solidly progressive platform, it's not enough to do real substantive outreach to progressives, she also has to keep the 'wrong' people out of the party. Clinton hasn't changed her position in any way in order to attract Republican support; her crime, apparently, is in not rejecting Republican support. It's as if they have no idea whatsoever that in America, parties have to assemble broad coalitions in order to win.