Friday, January 25, 2008

The anti-Clintonites have found their voice

Hillary Clinton's advantage is that she has huge name recognition.

Her disadvantage is that a lot of people grimace when they hear her name.

And that number may be growing. Here's part of what Dave Winer wrote yesterday:

A couple of weeks ago I didn't really think Bill Clinton would be a problem....

I didn't think it was an issue until Bill started throwing the mud so aggressively. Then I noticed that Hillary was talking about the first two terms as a plural accomplishment, as if she were in office then. The more he attacks and the more she takes credit for the first two terms, the more I think they're [having sexual relations] with the Constitution.

This is not the first time that this would have happened, if you are familiar with the career of St. Lurleen Wallace.

But back to Bill and what E.J. Dionne had to say:

It was a remarkable moment: A young, free-thinking presidential hopeful named Bill Clinton sat down with reporters and editors at The Washington Post in October 1991 and started saying things most Democrats wouldn't allow to pass their lips.

Ronald Reagan, Clinton said, deserved credit for winning the Cold War. He praised Reagan's "rhetoric in defense of freedom" and his role in "advancing the idea that communism could be rolled back."...

I have been thinking about that episode ever since Hillary Clinton's campaign started unloading on Barack Obama for making statements about Reagan that were, if anything, more measured than Bill Clinton's 1991 comments. Obama simply acknowledged Reagan's long-term impact on politics, and the fact that conservatives once constituted the camp producing new ideas, flawed though they were.

Obama's not particularly original insight was a central premise of Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign. Clinton argued over and over that Democrats could not win without new ideas of their own....

That's why the Clintons' assault on Obama is so depressing. In many ways, Obama is running the 2008 version of the 1992 Clinton campaign.

Uh oh. Does that mean the Obama Girl is coming back?

This is what Michael Gerson says:

But even amid...ideological discord, there are three words that cause nearly every Republican to forget their differences and join hands in common purpose: President Hillary Clinton....

Clinton has three problems that make her the weakest, most divisive Democrat in the race:

First, she is a living symbol of the culture wars of the 1990s and will rally the Republican base like no other candidate....

Second, Clinton is the candidate who most muddles the Democratic message of change....

Third, the Clintons practice a form of politics without honor....

After comparing the Clintons to Lester Maddox, Gerson then says that Clinton is unelectable:

A presidential election between, say, McCain and Obama -- both positive and honorable candidates -- would be better for the country. A race between McCain and Clinton would be better for the Republicans.


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