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Mudge

I am curently reconciling your comments about Bebe Neuwirth's rear end and your comments on Hillary.

There must be a unifying theory here.

Give me some time.

Lance

Mudge,

I'm looking forward to your thoughts on this, although, frankly, I can't see any connection between the two subjects. But I won't be surprised if a lot people come along and explain the connection between me and my comments on Hillary and a horse's rear end.

grasshopper

Generalizations tempt me as much as the next person. Yet, my political theories zip along tangents so far from the way others think, my husband, who agrees with me so often I've come to expect it, has called my reasoning regarding various social policies childish. He is nonetheless among the least sexist people I know. Among the most? Note I'm referring to the most that I **know,** not the most at large--are women who are my blood relatives and one or two women friends.
Of course, some experiences occur only to women. Others, only to men. That doesn't mean we can not imagine what each other's journey's are like, especially if we tell each other about them, and care. It certainly doesn't make one sex more "sexist" than the other. Just stop role-playing once in a while, and use the imagination and sympathy available to everyone.

Ken Houghton

Hillary's not my candidate for several reasons, most relevant of which is that Edwards has done everything you talk about Hillary having done and more, having worked his foundation for the past four years and learned a lot more about how interactions with government actually happen.

Second most relevant, though, is that I was a voter in 1980, and I'm seeing the same reaction to her candidacy among R&F Democrats that I saw to Carter's re-election campaign: they range from "if we have to, we will, but we are hoping not to have to" to ABH.

In fact, where the woman (Franke-Ruta) goes wrong is that she assumes the distaste is gender-based and ideological. It's not. Yes, progressives don't like that Hillary supports wiretapping, still claims the Iraq War was A Good Idea, and a host of other reasons.

But that won't stop them voting for her if the alternative is my hero (Sam Brownback) or any of the other, lesser RINOs (Rudy Toot-Toot, St. John of the Wort, Salamander Boy).

What will stop them is that she doesn't stand FOR anything.

This wasn't true in 2000. I watched her campaign closely. She did exactly what she had to do; traveled the barrens of NYState (yeah, where you live and remoter), spoke directly to people in small groups, got the backing of the Orthodox community, visited. She listened, she learned about what New York State wanted, and she set out to defend that.

As a Senator, she did you okay.

As a Presidential candidate, she's still following the money. She came by the office two Mondays ago; spoke for a few hours with the firm's Movers and Shakers. I have no doubt she's doing that elsewhere too.

What I haven't seen from her rhetoric is any understanding of the breadth of difference between her position and the voting public. It's not that she's scared to go LEFT--she's not Listening to the Majority.

I'm not so dense as the readers of Brad DeLong's post about her attitude in 1993 (which I can't find now, but which gets quoted around the blogsphere frequently) to think she didn't learn from that, but I'm also not crazy about supporting a candidate who both (1) makes it more difficult to get Dem voters to the polls and (2) makes it easier to get both money and votes for the opposition.

She gave the inevitable answer on Iraq: there will be American troops there in 2009 and beyond. But she didn't finish that with: I want them to be there in a support role ONLY. And she's never said, "I was wrong." (In fact, she keeps insisting she was right, just "misled." Tell me how to campaign for that against any Republican candidate.)

Candidates who don't inspire your margin and do inspire the oppositions against you aren't unelectable--but they're not something you want to try to run with if you have an alternative. No matter how many of the Sanjaya-loving FoGFR "like" her.

Steve "Citizen" Kang

One of the most insidious things about the "you have to be a member of the minority to understand that minority's issues" concept is that it makes its own arguments so vulnerable to attack.

All you have to do is find a member of that minority to speak in opposition, witness Phyllis Schlafly and her campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment, and zing, the forces of oppression have their political cover.

The same seems to happen regarding any well-defined group, which was one of the things so frustrating about Joe Lieberman: well if a Democrat is in favor of this bone-headed war it must be okay.

Other examples are too numerous to mention (and would probably get me into trouble if I did), but you know the type, they're favorites on the cable news yap shows.

Re HRC: If she's the nominee I'll vote for her, though I have the usual progressive complaints about her policies.

But full disclosure, I sometimes wonder if part of my reaction to her is a guy thing: I can't stand to listen to her speak, almost as much as I can't stand listening to George Bush speak, though for quite different reasons.

With Bush I find it appalling that someone so inarticulate is President, I find his attempts at humor condescending, and I find I'm a little frightened by the way that frequently neither his facial expressions nor his intonation match his words.

Hillary, on the other hand is typically the pinnacle of verbal correctness, with nary a foot turned wrong, but I still find her grating. I'm not sure if it's the smarmy snake-oil sincerity that Bill could pull off with such ease, and which Hillary struggles (unsuccessfully) to emulate, or the inane, luke-warm ideas she is expressing.

One thing for sure, by 2009 I'll have gone 8 years listening to a chalk on a blackboard President, I'm not going to be happy if I have to put up with another 8.

lina

I'm a woman, and I wouldn't vote for her in the primary for all the tea in China.

She's an over-scripted, calculated, finger-in-the-wind opportunist. She voted "yes" on the Iraq war resolution because it was the politically expedient thing to do. (As did many other Democrats). Even if she says she's sorry and admits it was a mistake, why should I ever trust her judgment again? In 2002, the prevailing winds were saying "don't go against the War President." Well, guess what Hil -- some principled Democrats did (see Bob Graham, former chairman of the Senate Intel. Committee). Old Graham had been looking at that intel for a decade, and he knew damn well the argument for war was crap. If she had been more interested in truth than politics, she might have phoned Sen. Graham and asked him why he was voting "no" on the resolution. Same goes for Kerry, Biden, Edwards, etc.

Nope, she's not getting my vote unless she gets the nomination, and I truly can't see her surviving any of those primary cattle call debates, based on her obstinance over Iraq.

I'm not wild for Obama. He's too wet behind the ears for me. But he'd sure be the perfect antidote America needed to fumigate the poisonous world created by the Bush/Cheney Axis-of-NeoMcCarthyism.

Greg

"To top it all off, the next Democratic President will only be as good as the next Democratic Congress, and I'm more concerned that the next Congress be Democratic.  It's more important to me that the Democrats increase their majority in the House and actually achieve a majority in the Senate."

Exactly. Which is why I think Hillary should run for majority leader instead of president.

I don't think Hillary should be the nominee, not because I don't think she's electable, but for the opposite reason. I think the Republican field is so weak that any of the Big Three could beat any of them, so my issue with her isn't as a candidate, it's as a president. She seems the least FDRlike of the Big Three. We need a president who's going to use the challenges and the opportunities presented by the failures of the Bush administration to fundamentally alter the political landscape in a progressive direction. Hillary doesn't seem capable of this. She seems much more likely to govern within the current parameters (probably effectively, I'll give her that), than to make any effort to change them.

Mike the Mad Biologist

"To top it all off, the next Democratic President will only be as good as the next Democratic Congress, and I'm more concerned that the next Congress be Democratic. It's more important to me that the Democrats increase their majority in the House and actually achieve a majority in the Senate."

I agree that the concern with electability is ridiculous, if for no other reason than we Democrats stink at figuring out who is 'electable.' But one thing that hasn't been raised is which candidate would be the best party standard bearer. In other words, which candidate would help Democrats running for the House and Senate (or at least hurt the least)?

KC45s

Far be it from me to speak for progressive male blogdom, but I can speak for me, and I seriously oppose Clinton's candidacy for one reason: either a Bush or Clinton has been in charge since 1988. What used to be the presidency of a great nation is devolving into a nighttime soap opera about the rivalry between two families--Dallas with "Hail to the Chief" as its theme song.

Enough with these two dysfunctional clans. I'm sorry it tosses up an obstacle to the first woman in U.S. history to have a real shot at the White House. Because I'd like to see a woman get elected. No, really. Surprisingly, I don't have emasculation obsessions or deep-rooted antipathy for women. Find me a another woman who is a major Dem, with a handful of views I can get on board with, and I'm there.

Reading Franke-Ruta's post saddened me. Progressives have had their problems in the last fifteen years, Lord knows, but at least the community has dialed back on this kind of knee-jerk identity politics.

Would I vote for Hillary? Of course. Like I'm going to pull the lever for Brownback? McCain? But, yeah, I hope it doesn't come to that. Because progressives also (as a general rule) worry about the country being ruled by a tiny elite. If putting it in the hands of two (two!) families for almost twenty years isn't the very definition of that, I don't know what is. And in my view it's a valid basis for not wanting her nominated. Gender doesn't play into it. Knowing that about my own views, I'm fairly sure other commentors, bloggers, and progressives can oppose her for their own non-sexist reasons as well.

jonst

I agree with KC45. I have many other reasons to dislike Hillary (who I will, nonetheless, gladly work for, contribute money to and vote for, if she is the Dem nominee)but this dynasty stuff has got to end.

burritoboy


"But I look at Hillary's time as first lady, her six years as my Senator, her biography, and I see a person who has demonstrated a remarkable ability to learn and grow on the job."

Actually, Hillary's positions have generally remained fixed around neoliberalism for at least 15 years (and probably more). I don't see where she learned anything from her time as first lady: she readily knew that Republicans were the worst sort of thugs, and then voted for the Iraq war, which decision she continues to support. Her health plan of 1993 was the typical highly convoluted technocratic neoliberal boondoggle. When she should have been telling the health care company thugs that they'll either go along, or they'll discover the body parts of their children floating in the river: instead, she cooked up an inane plan which kept most of the cash in those scums' hands. And when the health care gangsters stabbed her in the back (quite predictably, what would one expect from such a crowd of goat-rapists?), she crumbled. And she's STILL pushing that sort of nonsense today (here's my proposal: lock the health care company execs in their corporate HQs, set the buildings on fire and machine-gun anyone who tries to escape).

joanr16

this dynasty stuff has got to end.

Absolutely.

Lance

bb, it's about how to do the job. You don't need to convince me that her positions aren't progressive enough for other progressives.

joan, kc, I see the point about the "dynasty," but maybe because I grew up fully expecting that there would be another President Kennedy someday and maybe a third, or maybe because here in New York we've just come out of a 24 year stretch in which two families controlled the governor's mansion, it doesn't bother me as much as it should. Chelsea's not waiting in the wings, the Bush Dynansty's broken. If Hillary was undeniably the best candidate, would you vote against her just because of the dynastic implications? And if you don't intend to vote for her anyway, then the dynastic argument's just icing on the cake for you. But isn't it unfair to ask people who think she is the best candidate to vote against her on a principle that you're already excused from having to stand up for because you weren't going to vote for her anyway?

Redbeard

Lance has got a good point there about voting against a dynasty--it's icing on the cake. It can't be a substantive reason because it means that if that is the deciding factor, then the voter is ignoring 1) whether the candidates promises good things and 2) whether the candidate could deliver those promises.

Redbeard

"She's accepting a now more than generation-old argument popularized by professors of literary theory that the victims of oppression have a special insight into things that members of the oppressing class are denied.

How this jumped from classroom discussions of Edward Said claiming Joseph Conrad knew nothing about the real Africa to people in the political world making a special case for themselves and their opinions based on their membership in an oppressed minority is probably the subject of a dozen books I haven't read and if anyone knows of any of them and can recommend them, assuming that they weren't all written by Right Wing Conservatives sneakily making the point that white male conservatives are an oppressed minority, please let me know."

I don't think Garance's point was that men don't get what women think.

The image she cited was a silent woman listening to men lecturing her on the right reasons to support a candidate (and Hillary doesn't match those reasons).

Perhaps Garance-Ruta's saying, all those men who don't support Hillary would do better to ask softly, "Why do you support Hillary?"
Instead of trying to control the direction of their conversation with the woman, they should just let the woman express herself. Because whether or not those men control the conversation in the bar, they don't control the woman when she votes in a booth--and if they want her to change her mind about Hillary, railing forth is not the way to get what they want.

If Hillary's not really the candidate the woman wants, it might be more effective to let the woman talk herself out of voting for Hillary.

Shakespeare's Sister

And it never does.

"Never" is a big damn word, Mannion.

Bill Altreuter

I hate to say it, but of all the Democrats running, she is not only the only one that could lose, she's the one that would. Consider the fact that her negatives poll almost as high as her positives. Consider the fact that she hasn't been able to move the needle on any poll. Basically the people who hate her hate her, and the people who like her like her, and there are no undecideds. Interestingly this is true across party lines. What that means, as a practical matter, is that the race would be decided on turnout-- and she has no swing factor to fall back on.

I've said before-- I like the idea of Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, the actual Senator from New York voted for this horrible war when she had a free pass to do the right thing. I suppose I could forgive it if she would just tell us what she thought she knew then that she knows today. Was it that the intel was cooked? The intel looked cooked to me back then-- and Sy Hersch was at pains to explain to anyone who reads the New Yorker that the intel was shaky. Was it that George W. Bush is duplicitous? Who didn't know that?

burritoboy

"bb, it's about how to do the job. "

Two points:

1. Even if she were more competent than every other candidate (which I also don't believe), the Presidency is not solely about being just being competent. The actual content of the policies is important, not just whether the execution is done right.

2. There's not much evidence that Hilary Clinton is clearly more competent than the other candidates. She hasn't really done very much as a Senator - and the only notable accomplishments were piggybacking off Schumer's quest to bring New York big bucks post 9/11, announcing another convoluted healthcare boondoggle scheme with Newt Gingrich (!) which predictably went nowhere, censoring video games and voting for Bush's wars. Not really much leadership that I can see. The most important of those to New York residents was grabbing some dough for 9/11, but it was Schumer who led that, not HClinton.

Simply put, it's not anything more than a mediocre record for a US Senator. Besides doing obvious things (get money for New York), Hilary's activities are mostly low-level liberal Republican resume-filler material.

Lance

Shakespeare's Sister: "Never" is a big damn word, Mannion.

This is a BIG blog full of BIG men with BIG egos throwing around BIG ideas here, Shakes. We don't let BIG words like "never" slow us down when we're on our way to making BIG fools of ourselves.

stinger

Lance, I’m surprised your New York experience hasn’t heightened your alertness to the negative implications of dynasties. This isn’t 1825, when son-of-a-President John Quincy Adams may conceivably have been the best-qualified person to be President. In the 21st century we have more than twice as many governors as then, twice as many Senators, and I don’t know how many more Representatives; surely among that teeming throng we can find women and men with the talent and experience to govern the nation who aren’t intimately related to a recent President. (If I leaned Republican, I wouldn’t be supporting Jeb even though I think he may be the best of the three Bushes.)

If someone feels that HRC is undeniably the best candidate, then of course they should vote for her. For those who feel that each of the Democrats has strengths and weaknesses and are all equitably qualified, *something* must tip the balance. The fact that she’s a woman might be enough, for some, to tip it in her favor; the dynastic implications might be enough for others to tip it the other way.

Me, I’ve had an Edwards 2008 bumper sticker on my car since before he even announced. However, in an alternate universe where we already had had 8 years of President Elizabeth Edwards, I would not support John Edwards’s candidacy if/until he had won the Democratic nomination. (And HOW I wish I lived in that universe!)

KC45s

If Hillary was undeniably the best candidate, would you vote against her just because of the dynastic implications? And if you don't intend to vote for her anyway, then the dynastic argument's just icing on the cake for you. But isn't it unfair to ask people who think she is the best candidate to vote against her on a principle that you're already excused from having to stand up for because you weren't going to vote for her anyway?

In the words of Stephen Maturin: Pray, allow me to respond.

In my view--one man's BIG view--considering the dynastic implications of a Clinton candidacy, and deciding to vote against her based on it, is as legit as opposing her on Iraq, health care, or any other political issue. These sorts of considerations are, in part, why we have a primary season. Personality comes into play; electability; even the issue sometimes; anyway, all those things Lance blogs about and we comment about get tossed out, chewed over, and finally decided. Whether or not to install another Clinton is one of those things.

The question of Hillary being undeniably the best candidate will never come up. The Democratic Party, let alone reality, isn't capable of such concensus. So I'm never going to have to make that decision, not that Mrs. Clinton is going to live up to such a standard anyway.

I'll stand up for the principle. Sending the members of these two families, or any two families, into the fray, again and again, ultimately isn't good for the health of the democracy. When we're faced with Jeb for America in 2012 ("He's the Smart One!"), I'll say the same thing. I don't like the spouses of dead House members subbing until election day, either.

For me, the dynastic thing means enough to at least look at the rest of the field. If I have to use the argument with a die-hard Clinton supporter, I'll do it; there's nothing wrong with trying to win someone over, and if they can resist my charm (I'm kidding here), pull that lever for Hill! Like jonst above, I'll vote for her if she's the nominee, without hesitation; I'll send in my money, knock on doors--all of it. I might even look forward to her inauguration. Because even with my worries about dynasty, I'd take Hillary (or Chelsea) over any Republican out there.

Karen

I'm with you, Lance--the only candidate I really want to vote for keeps telling us he's not running. Not even after winning an Oscar, so I don't see what the Nobel Prize would do for him. And it's killing me, because I actually think he'd make a better president in 2008 than he would have in 2000.

Of the three in question, I tend towards Edwards. I liked him in 2004, and I like him now. I think Obama is too inexperienced, but will be impressive in another cycle or two (my dream is a Gore-Obama ticket). And Hillary...

Hillary.

I've had a kind of love-hate relationship with her over the years. I don't really love her or hate her at the moment, but I do know I don't want to vote for her (although I will if she's the Democratic candidate, needless to say). I wasn't crazy about her Senate run, but I'll admit that she did her homework, put in the hours, and has truly succeeded Al D'Amato in the role of Senator Pothole: she's been terrific for New Yorkers (of which I am one). And, who knows, maybe she'd do the same thing as president. But I also know that I haven't agreed with many, if any, of the votes she's cast on national or international policy, and that's more significant in a president than making sure NYC gets its funding. But I don't like her big picture philosophy as it's played out in her voting record, and I do feel she is much more opportunistic, more of a political animal, even than Bill (dear lord, when she started wearing that huge cross last year, after a lifetime of scarves, I wanted to barf). Maybe not. Maybe it's just that she doesn't have his charm. I agree with the poster above about her speaking style--very strident, very harangue-ing. It makes me not want to listen to her. But it's not just her voice: I have a sheaf of responses to letters I've written to her protesting her votes and none of them show that she really heard what I had to say.

But here's what I find interesting. Almost all of the discussion about her electability--at least that I've read--has concerned her potentially polarizing divisiveness as a member of the Clinton family, and the dynasty issue, etc. I've seen almost no discussion about her being unelectable because she's a woman--which we saw even as recently as Elizabeth Dole's campaign. And to me that's a beautiful thing. If she loses, she really will lose as a political candidate, not as a female political candidate. And that's progress.

Sheldon

Im not convinced that Hillary Clinton would be a fabulous leader. Her vote originally in favor of the Iraq war seemed to be based on focus groups and political calculation rather than leadership. Senator Clinton must prove to many skeptical Americans that she is not the political opportunist so many believe she is.

craig

Enough of the dynasty drivel.

Simply opposing some one because they are related to someone else without actualy looking at their record-ideas etc, makes about as much sense as saying race x isn't genetically able to swim.

I suspect there are far greater differences in beliefs and approachs between Bill and Hillary than between any two
clone-like "Progressives " out there who wouldn't know a non-ideologically filtered thought if it hit them in their well gazed-upon navels.

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