August 9, 2005


PIRRO VS. CLINTON: A REAL FIGHT FOR HILL (Dick Morris, August 9, 2005, NY Post)

[P]irro doesn't need to beat Hillary to wound her. If she finishes less than the 12 points behind Clinton that Rick Lazio managed in the 2000 election, it will be a victory of sorts. Hillary will have some explaining to do to tell why fewer New Yorkers wanted her to be re-elected than voted for her in the first place.

And, at some point, Mrs. Clinton may feel Pirro gaining on them and wonder if it is worth the battle.

It's worth remembering that Hillary did not want Bill to run for re-election for governor of Arkansas in 1990 as he contemplated a race for president in 1992. (Back then she had a better idea: She would run in his place!)

Hillary almost has a lock on the Democratic nomination in 2008 and can build up a massive financial and political lead over all possible rivals. But if she is engaged in a nip-and-tuck battle in New York to keep what she already has, she will have to divert $30 million or $40 million from her presidential race and spend her time in Rochester, rather than in Iowa.

If Pirro posts some early gains, particularly upstate, where it is cheap to do early advertising, Hillary and Bill may read the handwriting on the wall and she may pull out of the race.

Ms Clinton has nothing to gain in this race. Even if she wins by a large margin she was supposed to. Lose and it's all over. Win narrowly and it's damaging. Meanwhile, Ms Pirro forces her Left on social issues, where she needs to be headed Right. Since ducking the race allows Ms Clinton to avoid two extra years of Senate votes it's a possibility that can't be ruled out.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 9, 2005 3:04 PM

And St.Hillary! Rodham Clinton Rodham Clinton will be forced to spend all the money she'll be collecting while fundraising, money that could be better spent in '008. Which will then require even more fundraising in '007 opening her to charges of neglecting her duties as New York's only real Senator. (Chuckie Schumer will be elbowing people out of the way to be the first to congratulate her when she makes the announcement of not running again.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 9, 2005 4:02 PM

I think Morris is still shilling for Hillary. He drops teeny little pieces of gossip every so often to keep the animals at bay and not digging too deeply into the garbage cans at the curb.

Posted by: erp at August 9, 2005 4:12 PM

On the other hand, she needs two years in the Senate for "remedial moderation" votes. The NY campaign will be brutal.

Posted by: Luciferous at August 9, 2005 5:51 PM

I long ago learned to take Morris' prediction and expect the opposite.

That said, I agree with the above. Assuming Pirro runs a decent campaign and forces Hillary to work at reelection it will hurt Hillary. Dropping the race entirely makes Hillary look like a loser. And if Pirro runs a good campaign it should force Hillary into some poor statements/positions.

Posted by: AWW at August 9, 2005 8:31 PM

This could be a tricky wire act for the missus. The core Democratic constituancy in New York is made up of both the pragmatic liberals -- who'll back Hillary even with her rightward moves on foreign policy because they don't really believe she believes them -- and the DU/MoveOn/Daily Kos/Air America types, who don't do nuiance or long-range strategies very well. They're already complaining about her selling them out on several issues.

In a lopsided race, Hillary can ignore the latter group's whining, but if Pirro does make this race competitive to the point that turnout could play a role, then she'll have to start courting these same people out in public, as opposed to making private assurances to them at sparsely-covered fundraisers while acting like the voice of moderation in her regular media events. That's when the GOP needs to get their videotape players or DVD recorders going, so they'll have that Hillary on record for the 2008 presidential season.

Posted by: John at August 9, 2005 11:11 PM

She'll be under a great deal of pressure to run again as the party can't afford to lose another Senate seat, especially one in a blue state. Her stock will drop if she bows out and Pirro wins.

Posted by: George at August 10, 2005 3:05 PM