How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

Matt wants to know why Hillary Clinton is leading the Democratic field despite her history, and apparent future, with the war in Iraq. How can a heavily anti-Iraq war Democratic electorate support a candidate who seems to have consistently been in favor of the war? I have several thoughts on this, which do not necessarily follow a clear progression, so bear with me as I try to offer an explanation.
  1. Most Democrats do not make Clinton their first choice. Despite a fifteen-year history with the Democratic electorate, Clinton is not he first choice of a majority of Democratic voters. She is strong, with just under 40% of Democrats making her their first choice for 2008, but that still means that just over 60% are either undecided, or would prefer someone else. Considering how long she has been of the most visible leaders of the Democratic Party, to me that actually shows Democrats are ready to look around and consider alternatives.

  2. Obama actually is making up ground. A look at the long term trends in Democratic primary polling shows that Barack Obama has erased about one-third of his deficit on Clinton since he began to be regularly included in polls about five months ago. Five months ago, he was doubled up, but now he is down by about 11-12 points. Considering how early it is in the campaign, that is a decent amount of movement. Combined, Obama and Edwards are actually slightly ahead of Clinton.

  3. Clinton still commands the most attention. Pew's latest national news index survey included an open-ended question on which candidate voters were hearing the most about in the news lately. Even though the survey was completed just before (3/16-3/19) the latest Drudge-Fox News generated story in the campaign, the You Tube flap, you can see from the chart I have reprinted here that Clinton is still dominates Democratic attention. Even among Republicans, Clinton is receiving the most attention. Obama is competitive, but he actually does worse among Democrats than any other group. Unless the coverage of Clinton were to take a sharply sour note, it is hard to imagine how anyone could catch her under these circumstances. Looking at these numbers also makes it clear why the candidate making up real ground on Clinton is Obama, rather than Edwards, Richardson, or anyone else. How can they catch up if no one is paying attention?

  4. Clinton camp blurring the lines on Iraq. Despite how, as Matt put it, Clinton "voted for the war, she's not sorry for her vote, and she will sustain a military mission in Iraq if she's elected President to protect 'vital national security interests'," the Clinton camp has taken a number of measures to blur the distinction between herself and the other major candidates on Iraq. First, even though she states during policy discussions that we should have a continued military mission in Iraq, she states during her stump speech that, if the war is still going on in 2009, she will end it. Second, she introduced legislation that is opposed to the escalation. Third, members of her campaign have begun a public attack against Obama on Iraq, arguing that his position is not really all that different from Clinton's, and never has been. With Iraq still the number one issue by far, with Obama gaining, and with no other candidate receiving consistent press attention besides Clinton and Obama, all of these steps are designed to neutralize whatever advantage Obama may have on Iraq.

  5. Obama and establishment media, allowing Clinton to brand herself as anti-war. To date, there simply has been no serious media scrutiny of Clinton's relationship to the Iraq war. She has found it easy to score anti-war headlines, for example. This is not really that surprising, since the press allowed Lieberman to claim that he wanted to end the war as well, without ever challenging him on the issue. Perhaps more worryingly, Obama has also not seriously challenged Clinton on Iraq yet, even though her campaign is trying to claim that Obama and Clinton are the same on the war. He is the only candidate receiving enough media attention for such an attack to make real waves, but generally speaking he is just not pushing back. If someone has a chance to successfully brand Clinton as pro-war, or at least plant a seed of doubt in the minds of Democrats, that person is Obama. At least so far, he isn't working toward that goal.

  6. Clinton, national campaign more difficult than Lieberman, statewide campaign. The Connecticut Senate primary is a useful analogue when looking at how Iraq can create movement in polling. In this regard, it is useful to note that Ned Lamont made up very little ground on Joe Lieberman until he went on the air in early May. From February 14th, 2006, until April 30th, 2006, even among Democrats Lamont hardly closed the gap on Lieberman at all, as the Quinnipiac trendline showed the race only shifting from 68-13 in favor of Lieberman to 65-19 in Lieberman's favor. Once Lamont went on the air, the numbers started moving rapidly, and by the end of the campaign Lamont won Democrats by a whopping 65-33. However, until he went ton the air, Quinnipiac was still running headlines such as "Anti-Bush, Anti-War Feeling Does Not Hurt Lieberman." Does that sound familiar to our current situation?

    The rapid movement that Lamont eventually experienced among Democrats was in a state where the electorate can be numbered only in the hundreds of thousands, while the number of Democrats who would fit a national primary poll model number in the tens of millions. Further, Lieberman was far, far worse at blurring the distinctions between himself and Lamont on Iraq than Clinton has been with Obama, at least partially because Lieberman is more of a hawk than Clinton. So, even though he is making up some ground, and even if he was fighting Clinton on Iraq, the much larger pool of voters that Obama is required to move combined with the greater success of Clinton on blurring anti-war credentials, makes it more difficult for Obama to move poll numbers among Democrats than it was for Lamont.
I know that this list is a bit all over the place, but I do think it provides a decent enough explanation to Matt's question. It is also important to keep in mind that many voters do not even consider policy questions when selecting a candidate, and instead prefer personal qualities / characteristics. For these voters, who make up a sizable portion of the Democratic primary electorate, details of differing Iraq policies do not play a major role. For example, back in Connecticut, about 25% of Democrats opposed the war, favored withdrawal, and supported Joe Lieberman in the general election. Also, why we are trying to figure out how Hillary Clinton is ahead among anti-war voters, we could just as easily be asking how Rudy Giuliani is leading among anti-choice and homophobic voters. Both are equally odd situations, and should raise questions about our assumptions of the candidates and electorates involved.

Tags: Barack Obama, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Iraq (all tags)



Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

Hillary is also popular among centrists, people who are nostalgic for Bill Clinton's presidency and the relatively good times, which look better in retrospect all the time.

Personally, I'm for Gore. But if he doesn't enter the race, I'm conflicted.

I like Obama's charisma, but find him short on substance.

I like Edwards's substance, and personality, but still don't feel that he's "presidential".

So Hillary, despite the fact that I am very progressive, may still get my vote come primary day.

I haven't been vocal about these feelings because I know how unpopular they are at these progressive blogs. But there you have it.

by Coral 2007-03-26 04:50PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq
I must reply that Sen. Obama is not putting out the substance as game plan.  His people say that the campaign and obama do not want his details out early so the competition can twist it.
Look on his website and you will find alot about policies.  
He also did health care coverage for all under 18 here in Illinois.
by vwcat 2007-03-26 04:54PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

I don't see anything particulary presidential about Hillary given her wishy-washyness on the war. I also don't think Clinton II is possible if she keeps military bases open in Iraq, because of the terrible drain on the economy, which was the only thing Clinton did good on if you think about it.  He accomplished little on the policy front.

I am not decided between Edward, and Obama but Hillary has stated she doesn't want the votes of antiwar voters so I am not considering her.

by Dameocrat 2007-03-26 09:16PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq
I keep saying by early summer Hillary will have lost her lead
I heard Tweety speculate that alot of the people surveyed are saying Hillary to be nice and not be thought anti woman.  What they say and who they like are different alot of times.
netroots are not taken into concideration with the msm or national anything.  If they said more about it in the msm about our polling online and how we feel there would be a real story for them to dissect.  Too bad they don't know.
by vwcat 2007-03-26 04:52PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

The vast majority of Lieberman's winning margin came from people, regardless of party, who simply didn't care very much about the war as an issue.  Only 31% of general election voters ranked the war as "not at all important" or "somewhat important," but Lieberman won those voters by nearly a 3-1 margin.  Among the majority of voters who actually cared about the war, Lamont had about a 7-point margin, but it wasn't enough.

Most Democrats are against the war.  That doesn't mean that all of them care strongly about the war.  Some that do care strongly simply aren't buying the rhetoric that Hillary is indistinguishable from Bush on Iraq - and on Iran, for that matter.  These should not be difficult points to understand.

by Steve M 2007-03-26 04:55PM | 0 recs
Obama attack...

Also, it's going to be hard for Obama to attack Hillary on the war, since any such attack will be considered as "politics as usual".

by Arkhangel 2007-03-26 04:58PM | 0 recs

He is already criticizing Hillary's vote by saying, "I'm the only candidate..."

and Bill Clinton is throwing a fit over it.  

Color me giddy!

by Yoshimi 2007-03-26 05:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Mind-numbing

Matt wants to know why Hillary Clinton is leading the Democratic field despite her history, and apparent future, with the war in Iraq.

How about because it's 20 months to the election.

Cats in handbags, I am sick of this already.


by GuyFromOhio 2007-03-26 04:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Mind-numbing

Although I can sympathize with your attitude, I must also say that I think you've come to the wrong site. There are better places on the world wide web to escape politics.

by Trickster 2007-03-26 08:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Mind-numbing

There are better places on the world wide web to escape politics.

Oh, no doubt. It's the microscopic examination of minutiae that irritates me. If you forecast that each campaign will poll at least once every two months until the election, how many more polls will we get to hash over? And how many more issues will come up between now and then? And how many speeches will be made, gaffes recorded, stumbles made, etc.

Its just too damned early. Like the NFL combine, and spring training stats, it's irritating.

As for the site, redemption came in the form of posts on the supplemental vote, FEC electronic filing for the Senate , Karl Rove ... you get the picture.

Miss a day, miss a lot.


by GuyFromOhio 2007-03-27 02:28PM | 0 recs
2006 helped Hillary

Hillary is a beneficiary of 2006 in two ways: Democrats were able to successfully brand themselves nationally as "anti-war" (around sufficiently vague rhetoric like "changing the course"), and the split with Lieberman provided a new benchmark of "pro-war"-ness against which all other Dems were subsequently measured, making the Hillarys of the world seem vehemently anti-war by comparison.

by tparty 2007-03-26 04:59PM | 0 recs
What percentage of Democrats had the same position

as she did back when the vote was taken.  Not me for sure, but a lot of people were going along with it in the mainstream of America.  Including a lot that would be considered democrats.  If you can find the numbers from then that may provide part of the answer at least.  

A reminder that Democrat does not necessarily equal progressive at this point.  

She has also successfully blurred the distinctions about how much of an enabler of the war she was for so long (my take), with strong sounding statements about the execution of the war.

I would bet that most democrats polled couldn't tell you the difference between one position and another among the front runners, and so it is foolish to think that this is going to be a wedge without a lot more education and organizing going on.

by Orlando 2007-03-26 05:01PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

Here's a far simpler explanation.

Your defintion of "anti-war Democrat" doesn't descrive the majority of Anti-War Democrats.

In the sense that Anti-war Democrats aren't idiots. We, like most Americans, want the war to end in a way that doesn't cause the Middle East to erupt, provide Iran with access to more oil money, endangers Israel or creates a terrorist run pseudo-state from which Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah or other Islamic terror organizations can operate from with impunity.

Your little corner of the party, maybe 10% or so, falls into the Kucinich "Bush lied, Americans died, so let's just go home" mental institution.

It's just as Joe Biden says -- any Democrat who says they want to leave Iraq must be asked the two word follow-up question; "THEN WHAT?"

The Majority of Democrats want answers to those questions. Edwards and Obama are so busy kissing ass to the ultra-far left that they have never bothered to think of an answer.

Hillary has. That's why she's winning.

by Kujan 2007-03-26 05:05PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

At least Joe Biden actually has a plan for fixing Iraq if we are going to stay, a plan that uses political solutions, and a plan that eventually has us leaving.  If Hillary could come up with something like his plan, then I'd be willing to give her some cred on the issue.  Until then, I don't see much difference between her and the Republicans.

by jallen 2007-03-26 05:18PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq
Nice. You were probably big on the "domino theory" too.
We, like most Americans, want the war to end in a way that doesn't cause the Middle East to erupt, provide Iran with access to more oil money, endangers Israel or creates a terrorist run pseudo-state from which Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah or other Islamic terror organizations can operate from with impunity.

I believe this is the GWB position. The problem is, such a way does not exist, short of continuing the slow-motion disaster currently in place. And even keeping our troops there indefinitely still might not stop the civil war from getting worse. Personally, I am not convinced that our troops are helping much at all; while they undoubtedly are quelling some terrorist and insurgent activity, their very presence is a recruitment ad for extremists. It may be a wash.
Edwards and Obama are so busy kissing ass to the ultra-far left that they have never bothered to think of an answer. Hillary has. That's why she's winning.

Right. Her short answer is that she'll end the war in 2009. Her long answer is that she'll keep, I don't know, 40 or 50 thousand US troops there. Some of us over here in our "little corner" don't think that qualifies as ending the war.
by taliesin 2007-03-26 05:29PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq
I think this post, and in particular point 6. suggest that it is still really early. Instead of reading the Lamont/Leiberman analogy as saying: it's easier to make up ground in a small state; I read that as saying: a lot of ground can be made up quickly given the right messaging and action. I think with almost a year to go, the current polling is almost irrelevant and big swings can and will still occur.
Perhaps you are right to criticize Obama for not attacking Hilary enough, but perhaps he is wise to build slowly, taking this time to establish his campaign structures and memes and grow slowly, becoming more forceful later when people are paying more attention or something.
It's not at all clear to me that a candidate would want to be the front runner a year in advance, given the added attacks and scrutiny.
by jujube 2007-03-26 05:07PM | 0 recs
It's because of the Big Dog

She's got the Big Dog out their campaigning alreay. Everyone, including myself, figured she would wait to bring Bubba out. But with Obama tearing it up she had to let Bill loose early.

No substance?!
10 years teaching Constitutional Law
Years in the streets as a community activist
8 years as a State Senator
Plus his stint in the US Senate
Etc, Etc, Etc.

Who else has that kind of grassroots experience of truly working amongst the people?

We (Democratic Party Activists) talk all the time about building a farm team and cultivating these people to run for office and move up the ladder. HELLO!! That IS Obama!!

by sndeak 2007-03-26 05:09PM | 0 recs
Re: It's because of the Big Dog

Obama is amazing and brilliant.  I think what was meant by "no substance" is that he has not yet presented a detailed plan, and also that, as a person who connects well to many diverse groups of people, he can often seem to be saying close to nothing, but it sounds wonderful.  I have no doubt that he could put together a strong program, but I haven't seen it.  The only program I've seen actually is Edwards'. He has stuck his neck out and it seems to me that he has shown enormous courage and independence.  

On the other hand, it was gutsy of Obama to refuse to talk to Fox News people.  What an elegant way to point out how racist they are.

by prince myshkin 2007-03-27 12:40AM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

To add to point five, no institutional group has gone after her.  No one in the progressive caucus, no PAC, no Moveon, no organized online campaign....

In fact the only heat she's taking is from individual activists, an organized murmur on the blogs, and Codepink-style protesters.

by Matt Stoller 2007-03-26 05:12PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

if only you knew somebody who had a PAC

by Bob Brigham 2007-03-26 06:25PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

Hillary just may be leading because candidates  who state their intentions regarding the war and what they will do frankly are shut out by the media. How many Americans even know that Mike Gravel is running for President on the Democratic ticket?  How many know his statement that not one more life should be wasted in this project?  Mike  Gravel has been shut out of the New Hampshire debates, possibly because he would embarass the selected  stars.  I don't think Hillary would be leading for long if we could be given the  full range of possibilities .  This is getting to be tiresome already and if candidates with strong personalities and ideas are shut out it will really become boring and sadly  limited.  

by watchbird 2007-03-26 05:30PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

Hillary doesn't lose points with the war because the Democratic talking point is that this is a Republican war.  The strategy  by the Dems is to remind the American public that this disastrous war was orchestrated and executed by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al(Republicans). We can't say this is their war and then try to pin it on Hillary, because no matter what the netroots think, Hillary is not a Republican.  

As for the the MSM giving her a pass, I don't think that's the case. Right now the focus in the MSM is on the Dems trying to get the House bill thru the Senate and the  promised veto by Bush.  When Bush vetoes the bill, the focus will be on Bush and a discussion of the Dems next move.  Most of the American public has moved beyond the initial vote of support or opposition, they want to know how and when this war will end.  The Dems now have control of the house and technically the senate, so the onus is on us to end the war.  In a debate setting Edwards and Obama can talk about Hillary's initial vote, and that may hurt her then, but the whole Hillary voted for the war thing has just been sidelined for the moment.

Obama spoke out against the war, but he was not in the Senate at the time.  If in fact he has since supported or voted like Hillary on matters pertaining to Iraq, then his record as well as his rhetoric is subject to scrutiny.  Again if he was so vociferously against the war, why did he not support Feingold's bill, which has similar caveats about counter terrorism, troop salary, and training the Iraqis as his bill.

Finally, we have a talented pool of Democrats running.  Yes Hillary is the front runner, but it will not really surprise me if the polls tighten and and Obama and Edwards or even Richardson pull closer as the Primary nears.

by Kingstongirl 2007-03-26 05:33PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

10 months to go until Iowa.

When Iowa Cacus-goers realize that more than half the country will not vote for Hillary even though the Bushies have messed up this country so DUH Billary won't win the nomination.

Edwards will win this thing fair and square...

by Djneedle83 2007-03-26 05:57PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

to 1:

 About 40% in a field of 7 is actually very good, especially since there are two interesting "big" candidates running.  Besides, Edwards' name ID is very, very high, yet he only gets 12 to 14% of the first-place votes, which can only be classified as disappointing, considering how well-known Edwards is.  

to 2:  

While it is true that Obama has gained from 5 months ago, his momentum appears slowed.  We have seen state polling that must be very disappointing for Obama in the early states (Iowa, New Hampshire) and national polling suggests that he has lost some steam from 7 to 14 days ago, that the alignment is back to where it has been for almost two months now - roughly Clinton with a 12 point lead over Obama and a 22 to 24 point lead over Edwards.   Combining Edwards and Obama votes is not very fruitful, as we have seen in previous polls that Clinton is actually the #2 choice for most Obama supporters as well as the #2 choice for more Edwards supporters than any other candidate garners.   If Clinton remains strong it is likely that one of the two (Obama or Edwards) falters, with much of that support re-distributed amongst the two remaining survivors, which appears to favor Clinton, at least up to now.

to 3:

Most media attention:  Part of that is that she is well known, the other part is a very well organized campaign staff.

to 4:

Every Democratic candidate (save perhaps Kucinich) will continue a military presence in Iraq.  Why that is a shocker to some here is a mystery.  The reason the lines on Iraq are blurred is because they are not as distinct as some here want to believe to begin with.  Kucinich is not one of the top 3, and amongst the top 3 there just happens to be little difference in what strategies to pursue to deal with Iraq moving forward.  

to 5:

Obama has made statements in the past that appear to point to a "handling the war' position that is not much different from Clintons' and Edwards'.   We are not talking about the initial authorization vote, but now that the mess has been created, how to deal with it.  Obama can hardly make a lot of noise about the war when his position is decidedly similar on how to deal with Iraq post-2008.  

Why does Clinton continue to lead the pack in both national and state polling amongst Democrats?

Simple, because she is more popular than the other choices available to us.  That is reflected in first-choice poll answers, second-choice, "would not consider voting for" answers, personal favorability answers, "best leadership quality" answers, etc.    Instead of "going after" the leading candidate (which is "going negative," a very dicy proposition) the other candidates would be better off enhancing their own stature, their own popularity.  It would be best to give people the feeling that they are the best choice for president, the best "leader," the candidate that "speaks for them."  Being the  anti-Clinton candidate, as suggested in point 4 and 5, would, given Hillary Clinton's personal popularity amongst Democrats, most likely backfire badly.  

by georgep 2007-03-26 06:08PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

Edwards will not retain a military presense in Iraq.  That is false.

by littafi 2007-03-26 07:44PM | 0 recs
John Edwards will not leave troops in Iraq

John Edwards:

"Require a complete withdrawal of combat troops in Iraq within the next 12-18 months without leaving behind any permanent bases in Iraq."

Edwards does want troops to remain the region, but not in Iraq:  

"After withdrawal, Edwards believes that sufficient forces should remain in the region to contain the conflict and ensure that instability in Iraq does not spillover and create a regional war, a terrorist haven, or spark a genocide. In addition, Edwards believes the U.S. should step up our diplomatic efforts by engaging in direct talks with all the nations in the region, including Iran and Syria and work to bring about a political solution to the sectarian violence inside Iraq, including through a peace conference."

From his website.

by littafi 2007-03-26 07:47PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

The problem with most of the candidates is that few of them have experience running a large organization.  Most MickeyDs have more staff than the average senator.  The candidate must be more than 'Correct" on the issues.  The candidate must also be able to govern and effectively manage a large organization.  I think Hillary is leading because the Big Dog learned to be an effective president and plenty of people would like a return of that competence and experience.  They figure that Bill will be doing a lot of Kibbitzing.  

Bill Clinton also botched numerous things during his first couple of years.  Do Obama or Hillary or Edwards have the management skills to be a president that can effectively work with Congress and implement good policy?  JFK is a rare exception of a senator being elected president.  Most presidents get experience as  either governors or VPs.  

by bakho 2007-03-26 06:19PM | 0 recs
Gore will have no trouble contrasting

with Hillary on Iraq.

This is one of the many reasons I want him to enter the race. Entering late, he will need to make an impact quickly. Reminding everyone of the anti-Iraq War speeches he was making while Hillary was doing Bush's bidding will be one way he will make that impact.

by Jim in Chicago 2007-03-26 07:02PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

Because most democrats believe Hillary would not have started a war if she were President and  would not have even asked for a vote. Besides, I do believe if the terrorist airplanes had hit the Sears towers in Chicago instead of the twin towers in New York both senators from Illinois would have voted for authorization.

by meliou2 2007-03-26 07:06PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

Are you saying Hillary wanted to pay Iraq back for 9/11?

by Steve M 2007-03-26 09:13PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

It's the war chest!

by PoorBensJournal 2007-03-26 07:25PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

Your analysis also shows why John Edwards is the real anti-Clinton alternative.  Two columnists today in the NY Times praised Edwards.  Bob Herbert had a whole column on Edwards substative campaign.  Krugman mentioned in passing that Edwards had the only universal health care plan.

Obama has his chance to take down Clinton early, but he equivocated.  He had the media attention, but he offered puff instead of substance.  The latest Gallop poll shows the beginning of decay in his support.  

In the end, it will be Edwards and Clinton, and Edwards will prevail.

by littafi 2007-03-26 07:43PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

Obama has had and now has lost his chance?

Maybe I'm missing something, but I'm pretty sure the first vote isn't for another 10 months...  At this point 4 years ago, Howard Dean was polling about where Bill Richardson is now.

by Fran for Dean 2007-03-26 07:52PM | 0 recs
You Assume the Democrats are Antiwar

There's no mystery here. The blogosphere represents a slice of America that is many things, skewed younger, urban, and educated.

But a majority of Democrats still are not of the faction that is "retreat". And until that happens, Hillary has basically no need to defend herself from the idea that she has to be antiwar.

Her strategy is correct: in 04 the war was an issue in the caucus and propelled Dean to great heights. But in 2008 this really will not be an issue in the primary and instead shift to the general.

by risenmessiah 2007-03-26 08:26PM | 0 recs

You're seeing the same phenomenon of royalist idiots that occured in Argentina.

Just call her Evita.

by ElitistJohn 2007-03-26 09:51PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

The primary polls I've looked are uniform for two or three months- HRC at 38%, BO at 25%, and JE at 15%.

Those are also essentially the matured Kerry, Dean, and Edwards numbers of February 2004, as I remember them.

I was with Kerry all along in 2003/04 and now I'm backing HRC.  Yes, that puts me at odds with the owners and majority of readers here at MyDD- and in with the plurality of primary voters.

The answer you're looking for is: it's not a conspiracy by anyone.  It's that a lot of Democrats are flexible about how to diminish or end the Iraq involvement.

Life would be a lot easier if the al-Maliki government either succeeded or it collapses completely.  The Iraqis are not giving us clear indications of which one it will be.  Personally, I thought it stood no chance of success- but the radical Shiites are not abandoning it, nor are the radical Sunnis or Al Qaeda In Iraq smashing into the Green Zone and annihilating it.  

Hillary's approach has been to be relatively late to shift when it is Party opinion on Iraq shifts a significant amount.  That's about it.  But you also have to consider Bill's statement in the mid-Nineties that money from Jewish sources is crucial for Democrats to be able to run competitive major campaigns at all.  There's nothing sinister to it, as far as I know, but it means a laissez faire approach to right wingish 'pro-Israel' stuff inside the Party by the Clintons.

I'm with HRC because so far her objectionable positions are wrong on a theoretical level rather than having any practical effect.  I'll review that when the primary rolls around.  I'll also have to see whether she has chosen to surround herself with people of the best possible judgment.

On other issues, HRC is substantially ahead of the others on social equality and voting rights.  I wish economic fairness and rights matters could be settled before social ones are, but wedge issue politics says it's social before economic.  HRC is one of the sponsors of CEVA, which restores voting rights to all ex-felons who have completed their sentences (more than 1.6 million are presently disenfranchised for life).  If there is an effort to repeal or overturn DOMA, HRC is the one I trust to sign such a bill or prohibit the Solicitor General/DoJ from employing untruths and misrepresentations to uphold it.

Obama and Edwards are better fits to the work of the Presidential term that begins in '13.  This next term will be a lot like the first Bill Clinton term- a lot of rebuilding of a functional federal government, fiscal sanitizing, probably changing the tax structure, dealing with the energy supply problem, social issue laws, dealing with the post-occupation Iraq and Middle East, post-Bush global detente.  There will be the beginning of a national health care system- probably universal insuring of children.  But the construction of the social democratic institutions are work of the next term/President.

And we will see a lot of turnover among Democrats in Congress- we're due for quite a few retirements.  I expect the '10 election, should HRC win in '08, to be a center-Left resurgence against the liberal wing and her.  (She will be identified with the liberal wing of the Party no matter what anyone does or what positions she claims to take.)  On the other hand, real liberals are imho the faction least enamoured of holding power for its own sake and most given to expending themselves on the unpopular measures that are necessary for fundamental progress.  I suspect if HRC wins she ultimately won't try for a second term, and that more by choice than necessity.

I prefer not to think or say anything negative about the other folks running.  But I feel the job description in 2009/10 is rather clear and they don't fit as well, assuming that HRC surrounds herself with some acutely insightful and decisive people.

by killjoy 2007-03-26 10:00PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary

I find your train of thought a bit problematic.  HRC's very much responsible for getting us into this war.  It seems that such thing doesnt matter.  The fact that she came out more than a year ago here a Princeton University threatening to bomb iran doesnt seem to bother you either.  Nor does it bother you that she wants to keep permanent bases in Iraq in the name of "defending american interests in the region." (doesnt she sound like Dick Cheney when she talks like that?)

Now, what good is healthcare for all americans, when iraqis in a war that hillary co-signed onto and has voted to fund? What good in the minimun wage when Hillary is threatening the people of Iran? What good is all of that, when hillary's owned by AIPAC?

If she's the candidate, I'll vote for Nader

by AnthonyMason2k6 2007-03-27 05:21AM | 0 recs

I can't fathom your arguments.

1. What makes you think Hillary won't run again in 2012?!? Unless you have any kind of basis for that, it sounds totally absurd. Hillary's already had 8 years in the White House, the one thing people agree about her is that she's ambitious, not running for a second term relinquishes the huge structural advantage of incumbancy, as a Democrat, even if I wasn't thrilled with Hillary I don't think I'd support that. I can't think of a single reason to argue that she is likely to only preside for one term. Unless you think she will get us further into Iraq and/or Iran, leaving herself in a Lyndon Johnson untennable position. Don't try to use that to convince me to vote for her.

2. I don't see how you can excuse "theoretical" objectionable opinions, just because they haven't yet had a practical effect? We're talking about a FUTURE president here, basically all of the positions we're analyzing are theoretical. (to say nothing of the fact that her war vote did have a practical effect).


On other issues, HRC is substantially ahead of the others on social equality and voting rights.  I wish economic fairness and rights matters could be settled before social ones are, but wedge issue politics says it's social before economic.

I don't know what this means. You think Edwards or Obama won't defend voting rights? Affirmative action? What? And "wedge issue politics" tends to refer to using social issues to divide Democrats in favor of Republicans, are you saying you support Hillary, because she's closer to the Republicans? If so, your argument that she will be more likely to overturn DOMA is even more ridiculous than it seems. She does talk about banning flag burning (an effective wedge issue for Republicans), is that the kind of social issue you are supporting?


She will be identified with the liberal wing of the Party no matter what anyone does or what positions she claims to take.

You may be right in this, but it contradicts your point. It's very clear that the left/netroots/grassroots does not think Hillary is the most liberal candidate. Anyone who remembers Bill's "third way" is likely to see Hillary as a DLC centrist. However, if the rest of the country thinks she's a leftist, she's got the worst of both worlds. For the Dem activists she's too far right, for the gen election voter she's too far left. General misperception is not an argument in her favor.

I'm not in fact, antiHillary, I will support her if she's the nominee, but your arguments are not convincing and are borderline delusional.

by jujube 2007-03-27 11:07AM | 0 recs
Re: What?!

I disagree.

First, you're interpreting all ambiguous evidence against her.

Secondly, it's always a gamble, really, whether a candidate will govern as he/she said in advance.

Thirdly, netroots (such as this site and dKos) are on the whole substantially more Left than liberal.  The core Democratic electorate, i.e primary voters, are the other way around.  Need I point out the consequences?  Netroots goes all out for Dean, Kerry becomes the nominee.  Netroots goes all out for Obama....

by killjoy 2007-03-27 10:40PM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq


Thanks for a much-needed dose of reality.

The Hillary bashing goes beyond the absurd at times.  Thank goodness those who engage in it represent only a small minority within the Democratic Party.

by marasaud 2007-03-30 05:15AM | 0 recs
Obama and October

I play political-guru in my head when I am not working.  Because I can't do the same thing in real life I will GOTC in SE Iowa for Obama come January of 08.  But if I was asked to create a plan, I believe Obama can crush Hillary on the air and the ground come early this Fall in Iowa, NH, CA and Texas.  Here is the dooms day situation for HRC.

October marks the 5 year anniversary of the Senate vote to invade Iraq.  As the media covers this story that is THE moment for Obama to begin to clearly draw the line between himself and HRC on Iraq.  Let her spend between now and then getting herself tied into knots over Iraq.  Then as the country once again asks "Why the hell are we there in the first place?" blanket the air waves with clips of his speech in 2002 and HRC's comments in 2002.  I can just see the cut away from Obama saying "I am not against all wars, just dumb wars" to the clerk of the Senate calling "Senator Clinton- Senator Clinton 'I' ."

I agree with the comment about Lamont and going up on TV.  I might lose my DD account for saying this but I did not think much of Ned until I started to watch is ads online.  Then I saw with clarity how much this mattered.  That day I sent Ned a little money.  Once Obama goes on air with his war message vs. HRC's the love feast is over I believe.    

But one issue that think will crush Hillary is early voting.  If the people powered energy of a ground game is on the side of Obama/Edwards then the entire month of January is about early voting in CA, FL, NY, NJ and TX.  They shoud spend the entire month in those states getting votes in the bank so that ads are about undecideds and marginal voters.  I can see a rally in the Bay Area/Austin/Dallas/LA in mid-January where Obama gathers 15,000 people and then sends them all out to vote THAT DAY!  That is where, excuse the phrase, size matters.  If HRC's numbers are strong with Democrats who are not rally goers then she has the toughest part of moving them to the polls- or a church basement in Iowa on a cold January night.

but what the hell do I know?    

by cspanjunkie 2007-03-27 07:31AM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

There are some very astute comments here from "Killjoy" and others. Makes coming to MY DD an education, even with all the back and forth of debate.  HuffPO is just unreadable these days, its just filled with mindless Hillary bashing. At least, for the most part, there are attempts to reason why individual posters don't like her. On the whole its a great listening post for people. Obama 2012! Hillary 08!

by superetendar 2007-03-27 09:33AM | 0 recs
Re: How Hillary Clinton Is Leading Despite Iraq

Obama 2012?

I guess you're conceding the 2008 election to the Republican, eh?

by Nedsdag 2007-03-27 10:13AM | 0 recs


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