Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Democrat's W.?

The Moose suggests that the President and Hillary have more in common than some might think.

No, the Moose is not implying that Hillary and Bill will be summering in Crawford this August. However, both W. and Hillary defy the conventional political wisdom.

The CW has it that, while the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination could be Senator Clinton's for the asking, her candidacy would sink under the weight of her considerable political baggage. Yes, Hillary is undoubtedly a polarizing political figure. Of course, W is as well and he was just re-elected to a second term. However, a far more serious challenge for her is that a northeastern liberal has not been elected to the Presidency since FDR (JFK was certainly not the heart throb of the liberal set in '60).

But by 2008 Hillary may not actually be viewed as a north-eastern liberal. Hillary's luxury is that she doesn't have to establish her lefty bona fides. She consequently has considerable leeway to defy the Michael Moore folks. Hillary has more freedom than most of the potential '08 wannabees to run against type.
Like the 2000 W. with his "compassionate conservative" posture, Hillary can run as a hard-headed progressive. She has already made significant progress in that direction by her hawkish defense views and her membership on the Armed Services Committee.

And a couple of days ago, Hillary revived the effort to make abortion safe, legal and rare. As the New Dem Dispatch puts it -

"Sen. Clinton is offering a stance that combines support for the right to choose with practical action to truly expand reproductive choice and the health and well-being of women, particularly the vulnerable women for whom abortion is what Clinton called "a sad, even tragic choice."

Hillary has shrewdly started to address the two areas that are vulnerabilities both for her and the Democratic Party - national security and values. Needless to say, she has the most acute political practitioner in America as her unpaid chief political consultant - her husband.

The other similarity that Hillary has with W. is that they are both misundersestimated - W. by the left and Hillary by the right. Many thought it was fanciful that she could win a Senate seat as a carpetbagger. Many on the right relish the prospect of her '08 presidential candidacy.

But Republicans, and even some Democrats, may be deluding themselves into thinking that Bill could never, ever become the First Gentleman.

-- Posted at 8:33 AM | Link to this post | Email this post