December 4, 2004


Everyone Knows This Senator, and for 2008, That May Be Precisely the Trouble (RAYMOND HERNANDEZ , 12/05/04, NY Times)

Mrs. Clinton's high unfavorability ratings may help explain why a discussion has begun among her advisers over whether she should skip a Senate re-election campaign in 2006 and instead focus all her energies on a race for the White House.

The most obvious challenge that Mrs. Clinton faces in running for both jobs is a compressed political calendar that leaves her very little room to maneuver: The Iowa presidential caucuses are held just 14 months after Election Day in 2006.

If Mrs. Clinton stuck to the schedule that John Kerry followed during this presidential election cycle, she would have to give a clear indication of her desire to run for the presidency a mere month after her Senate race was over.

But that seems unlikely, some political analysts say, because the timing would be awkward.

Yet some people close to Mrs. Clinton maintain that the tight calendar should not be a problem because she is such a big celebrity, and any presidential campaign she embarks upon would instantly attract a huge amount of attention.

But other Democrats and independent political strategists say that her celebrity is a double-edged sword: While Mrs. Clinton does indeed enjoy a level of name recognition other politicians crave, she has earned a reputation that, fairly or not, makes her a polarizing figure among moderate swing voters, an important bloc nationally.

"There's work for her to do nationally," said Lee M. Miringoff, the director of the Marist institute. "Beyond her appeal to the Democratic base, there is a need for her to build bridges to reach out to moderate Republicans and independent voters if she hopes to succeed."

The so-called Hillary haters became a harsh reality of political life for Mrs. Clinton when she ran for the Senate. Republicans built much of their campaign on trying to tap anti-Clinton sentiments in New York State.

No one factor accounts for deep misgivings many voters express for Mrs. Clinton, but to some degree it stems from a view that has taken hold, fairly or not, that she is a hugely ambitious woman with a liberal agenda that was most significantly illustrated in her efforts to overhaul the nation's health care system during her husband's presidency.

If Senator Clinton really wants to be President the best way to achieve that goal would be to sit down with Bill Frist and George Bush and offer to be their Democratic pointman on several major reforms: taxes, torts, energy, the faith-based initiative, & Social Security. She'd moderate her image nationally, notch some bigtime legislative accomplishments, and suck all the oxygen away from her rivals for the nomination. She's the one Democrat who could be this helpful to the President without running the risk of alienating the Democratic base. She'd even be doing the nation a service in the process.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 4, 2004 8:27 PM

Wouldn't what you suggest contradict her very being? A leopard's spots and all. First she would appear phoney and second she would alienate the liberal base who wouldn't give a farthing to help Bush. I'll venture the dems go even more to the left this next go around. Their PEST therapy won't change a thing.

Posted by: Tom Wall at December 4, 2004 9:50 PM

Agreed with Tom. Democratic faithful would consider her a sell-out (although they'd still have to vote for her), and Republicans would ask who she's trying to fool. Hilary for Prez would be the gift of the century to the GOP assuming no major shift in the political landscape in the next four years. If she does run, though, my dream come true would be to see Rudy go up against her.

Posted by: The Gravy Man at December 4, 2004 11:36 PM

I will crawl across broken glass to vote against that ((*%&)%*)$(%*!

Posted by: Sand y P at December 4, 2004 11:43 PM

I have to agree with Sand y P about that ((#%&)%#)$(%#. (I hope I spelled that correctly.) This person was a baglady for her grafter husband. Her popularity, like his, is grounded is the consciousness of every a** h*** and scumbag that he or she would do the same thing if given the opportunity.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 5, 2004 4:29 AM

Sounds like you are saying the best way for her to become President is to become a Republican.

I think you are on to something there--as hard as that would be for her, beats heck out of the alternative.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at December 5, 2004 5:52 AM

Unless she and her Dixie Mafia buddies can strongarm every potential opponent in the Democratic Party out of the race, she will face a serious challenge from someone allied with the Kennedys and/or organized labor. At that time, she will be confronted with the tough questions she has studiously avoided during her political career. Her campaign in NY was a virtual coronation with the lapdog media carrying her to DC in a sedan chair and her erstwhile opponent, the learning-disabled Rick Lazio, as Court Jester.

Posted by: Bart at December 5, 2004 6:18 AM


No, she can't win GOP primaries, but she can win the Democratric nomination no matter how far Right she moves and then she has a shot, though not a great one, at the presidency.

Posted by: oj at December 5, 2004 8:23 AM

Also, while people who venture to political websites have long memories, the majority of the population isn't going to hold Hillary in 2008 to things she tried to do to the nation's health care program 14 years earlier. The voting record she's building up in Congress on foreign policy issues makes her viable there, while the anti-Bush speeches she sneaks in under the radar are a way of showing the faithful she's still one of them.

It's the same type of triangulation hubby pulled off under Dick Morris' guidance in 1996. She will probably lose the far left of the party, who want a take-no-prisoners/win-no-elections Howard Dean type of candidate in '08. But as of now it's hard to see anyone else matching her fundraising ability and media star power in the run up to Iowa and New Hampshire.

Posted by: John at December 5, 2004 10:20 AM

The trouble for her is that Bush/Rove et. al already know this. And they are therefore much less likely to use her as a pointman on anything. I don't think they'll be lacking for applicants for that job.

Posted by: Timothy at December 5, 2004 7:01 PM