August 8, 2005


Clinton Is Cultivating an Image as a Centrist: The partisan label she acquired as first lady is being remade in New York and the Senate. (Janet Hook, August 8, 2005, LA Times)

In New York, where she is running for reelection in 2006, and in the Senate, where she is shaping her national persona, Clinton is moving to shed the partisan image she acquired as first lady.

She has taken up causes such as economic development and military overhaul that are nonpartisan or more centrist than her work in championing a national healthcare plan while her husband was president. She is teaming with local Republican officials and with some of the Senate's most conservative members.

Those efforts are beginning to pay off in New York. Her approval ratings have jumped significantly since she was elected in 2000 — even among Republicans. It is a sign that Clinton, one of the most polarizing political figures in America, has found a way to get a second look from New York voters.

"I hated her with a passion," said John Perri, a Long Island businessman who heard Clinton speak last week at a country club in Woodbury, N.Y. "But I've come to respect her. She's a lot more moderate now."

The question for Clinton now is whether she can get a second look from skeptics in the rest of the nation. In a presidential race, she would be courting swing voters in the South and other regions who are far more conservative than the moderate Republicans and independents of New York. But if she lurched too conspicuously to the center, some strategists say, Clinton might feed a suspicion harbored even by some Democrats: that she is an ambitious opportunist who tailors her views for political purposes.

"By trotting her out with some Republican every other week, it shows she's not the crazy liberal you think she is," said one seasoned Democratic strategist who admires Clinton. "But it also conveys that she'll do anything to get elected."

Her biggest problem is that she's a senator and, as John Kerry discovered, your votes define you. Her current liberal/conservative rating places her too far outside the mainstream for her to be a plausible national candidate just yet.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 8, 2005 8:51 AM

The media have already changed Hilary's image radically simply by referring her as Clinton. That alone has probably altered a lot of mindsets. It still makes me do a doubletake even though I've been on to it for quite a while.

You have to give them credit, the left are past masters of semantics.

Posted by: erp at August 8, 2005 11:34 AM

the left are past masters of semantics.

Yeah, that sneaky trick of calling Senator Clinton by her name is pretty devious, huh?

*smacks forehead*

Posted by: jpe at August 8, 2005 12:30 PM


If you had become famous whilst being called "Honest Bob" by the press, and that continued for fourteen years, and then they started referring to you as "Robert", wouldn't that change your "brand" ?

As infatuated as you are with philosophy, I'm amazed that you won't recognize this simple truth.
Even "Larry" Fishburne gets it.

Note also that Hillary is one-name famous; nobody over the age of sixteen assumes that "They must be talking about Hilary Duff".
Being called by another name, even if it's her own, (especially one as loaded as "Clinton"), is clearly a deliberate change.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at August 8, 2005 1:20 PM

Yeah, that sneaky trick of calling Senator Clinton by her name is pretty obvious

I didn't think you could say "Beelzebub" on television.

Posted by: joe shropshire at August 8, 2005 1:45 PM

Here in the Upper Left Washington, the three term Atty. Gen. Christine Gregoire ran for Gov. as Chris Gregoire. (Now I personally object to her name as a violation of Church and State, and think she should be referred to as Xine Gregoire.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 8, 2005 2:24 PM

Hillary's bet is that being tough on foreign policy will be to her what the economy was to her hubby in 1992, and that the public won't care about her other votes, as long as she votes correctly on key national security issues. That may or may not work, but it does immunize her from the "I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it" trap that Kerry dropped himself into last year.

Posted by: John at August 8, 2005 3:44 PM

jpe. You might want to stop smacking your forehead and start listening. You can learn a lot reading the posts and comments here. You don't have to agree, but don't dismiss things out of hand.

If you aren't aware of it, learn that semantics is everything.

BTW - referring to Hillary by her name isn't all that clear-cut. What, in fact, is her name?

Not long ago she didn't want to use Clinton at all, but wanted to be known only as Hillary Rodham. Then she turned into Hillary Rodham Clinton, now new data from focus groups must show that just plain Clinton is the most favorably received.

Posted by: erp at August 8, 2005 9:01 PM

Hillary won't have near the problems Kerry did with her Senate "record".

She's only been there a short time, she has avoided alienating the 'middle', and she hasn't prevaricated like Kerry. Plus, she can afford to vote tough without paying the price in the primaries.

But Pirro is going to be more of a challenge for her than people realize. Hillary will seem like Al Gore compared to Pirro, and (as of today) it doesn't seem that the Clinton slime machine (Wolfson, Begala, Carville, etc.) will knock Pirro off-balance.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 9, 2005 10:50 AM