Hillary … (No? But …)

Mickey Kaus thinks she may be positioning herself to run. (Via Instapundit) She is certainly coming up with something resembling a facially coherent critique of Bush’s Iraq policy, which is more than the Loathsome Nine have been willing or able to do. I have to say I was suprised that she let the November 21 deadline for New Hampshire pass, which I referred to as “D Day”. And I have been wavering on withdrawing my prediction that she’s running in ’04. But I still think all the same forces are in play, especially the wasting asset of Clinton creature Terry McAuliffe sitting atop the bags of money, and that it is still too early to rule out an HRC run. Perversely, Bush’s astronomical approval ratings, back up to 61% today, make me think she’ll get in even more. Bush, Sr. was at something like 90% when Bill got in back in ’92. The Clintons are clever political tacticians, but when the moment to strike comes, they are willing to take political risks.

I’m a lot less sure about Hillary than I was last January. But I have this nagging sense that as Dean seems more and more inevitable as the nominee, and more and more likely to be crushed by Bush, the more sensible Donks who actually want to try to win in ’04 are going to get more and more desperate. This all sets the stage for some kind of “surprise” intervention by HRC to “save” their bacon. So, I’ll stand by my prediction. She’s going to get in. I don’t know how, or when, or on what pretext, but she is.

(And if not Hillary, then Ralph. I can only hope … .)

33 thoughts on “Hillary … (No? But …)”

  1. No way she’s running in ’04. Bush will win. In ’08, she’s a lock, to run that is. Barring strange events, she’ll be a contender.

  2. Whoa, Flex! Dude. Let it go. She isn’t running. Water under the bridge. Save your wisdom and worry for issues that matter more.

    Unless W withdraws from Iraq or gets photographed wearing a dress, it’s going to be him vs. Dean and W will probably win. It’s time to move on.

    But then again, maybe you’re right. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

    Happy holidays.

  3. Yo Lex.

    What’s a “facially coherent critique” of Bush’s foreign policy? Is that when Hillary lies about Iraq with a straight face? Or is that when a thick layer of Clinique coheres on her face under TV lights?

    Just askin’.

  4. I have to throw in with those who don’t think there’s any chance she’ll run this time round.

    For starters, she’s just made too many public statements that she won’t run. Plus, there are still too many polarized opinions about Hillary.

    And that’s just it…she knows that she needs time to step away from her image as “Shrill Wife of Bill/Co-President” and build a reputation. And not just a reputation as a Senator…she needs a reputation as a “Statesman”. She’s doing exactly that.

    Notice how reasonable her rherotic has been…how low she has flown on the radar…how strong she has been on defense. All of those things may well be genuine, and I’m willing to accept that they are. But they’re also priming her reputation for a run at the Presidency in 08. Count on it.

  5. I don’t think she’ll run either. Although I wish she did. That would make for one interesting election. I can’t think of two political figures who are so polarizing.

    Problem is, every Republican I know is way too confident Dean will be beaten. Don’t get so complacent, guys. There is another year to go and a lot of things can happen. And once he’s past the primaries, the Dean campaign could shift gears. After all, the current President might be the incumbent, but he still is as crappy at communications and speeches as he was three years ago. And gaffes will happen on both sides.

    Never, ever underestimate your adversary. Fight Dean as if he was Hillary. That would be my advice.

    Just one more year I’m happy I can’t vote, I guess. What a choice…

  6. You’re absolutely right. I’m not sure why Republicans think Dean will be an easy win. He’s the most charismatic candidate…and that counts for an awful lot.

    If he can come up with a way to convince people that he will actually be serious about national defense, and avoid discussions of how his “health care for all” will bust the budget like Bush couldn’t imagine doing….he’s got a good shot.


  7. Governor Edwards of Louisiana used to say he’d have to be caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl to lose an election. I don’t think Bush is as much of a lock against Dean as conventional wisdom suggests. I’ll never underestimate the ignorance of the electorate after ’92.

    I’m also believing it’s ’08 for Hillary. She could…win. That’s why we need someone like Condileeza to run, not Jeb. Lord, I don’t think I could handle 12 months of coverage of the junior senator of N.Y.’s presidential campaign. I may have to join the Peace Corp or something…

  8. I agree with Sylvain. I don’t think Dean will be an easy win. No one is an easy win. I think he’ll be tough. If he locks up the nomination early he’ll have months to move to the center and pick a centrist VP.

    The next election is going to be close, whoever the Donk candidate is. Bush has many inherent weaknesses which will be on full view during a campaign.

  9. Exactly. Never mind all the other things that can happen at home and abroad. Does anyone believe the Palestinians, Iran, the Iraqis, North Korea and, to some extent, the EU, will make it easy for Bush ?

    Just check out the latest trade retaliation targets from the EU. All of them chosen because 1) they don’t affect EU producers and 2) because they hurt friends of the President in major or swing states. I mean, what do Florida oranges and grapefruit have to do with steel ? Seriously ?

    Like it or not, there are a hell of a lot of people out there who want to make W. pay for something. It’s their first chance in 4 years. And with guys like Soros pouring money and time into the DNC, I wouldn’t be overly confident.

    After all, when was the last time you were told about a cakewalk ?

  10. Barring disaster in Iraq, I think it’ll be a walk for Bush. 50 states? Wouldn’t surprise me.

    I believe most don’t realize just how radicalized the American center has become over the war. Recent bombings, and the Islamists determination to attack *everyone*, everywhere, including fellow Muslims and the Red Cross, have strengthened this quite a bit, in my opinion. The scales have been pulled from all eyes, and no one now believes that the Islamists can be either negotiated with or ignored.

    The shock of day-by-day ambush losses has dissipated, and now there’s more of a coldly angry determination. The fantasy of “Home by Christmas!”, to borrow the analogous idea from Big Mistake I, is gone. The fact that this will be a long, tough war, with casualties and sacrifice, is finally really sinking in. It’s not just some words from the President anymore.

    And has this new-found seriousness daunted people? To the contrary. I’ve seen that quiet, steely, American determination grow in my fellows over the last few months, and especially the past few weeks. It’s running at full-force now. For many Americans, I think the war *really* started, in earnest, quite recently. I don’t think the pundits and talking heads have seen this yet, as they have zero contact with normal folks from the square states.

    Security Moms are becoming the norm, not the exception. When Soccer Moms become Security Moms on a large scale, there has been a sea-change in American attitude.

    This is just my impression, from chatting with co-workers and other “regular folks”. I could be wrong.

  11. “Does anyone believe the Palestinians, Iran, the Iraqis, North Korea and, to some extent, the EU, will make it easy for Bush ?”

    I think all of these folks put together will have zero impact on the election, no matter what they do. US politics don’t work that way.

    The excitement over the potential trade retaliation states thing in the European press is just an example. It’s almost laughable. I don’t mean the possible trade war itself – I mean the “targeting” of the trade war to certain states.

    Very, very few voters would even know that there was a “trade war”, or that it targeted certain states in an effort to influence our election. Even if they did, their attitude would not be one of “that dang Bush, he screwed up and got folks mad at us”, but rather one of “who do those Europeans think they are, messing with our elections!!!” I think it would be a complete non-issue in the elections. But the European press was almost gleeful with the prospect of being able to “hurt” Bush’s reelection chances. Pretty funny, really.

  12. I would crawl across broken glass to vote against Evita.

    And to elect W w/over 40 states would be a big kick in the ass to “the world.”

    AF Academy’s enrollment was up, the army met its re-enlistment goals ++, families are being affected and they will support their children. Officer Corp. school was full and my nephew who’s finishing basic couldn’t get into Airborne, so he’s going into artillery. Some training in Hawaii then on to either Iraq or Afghanistan. But why do I get the feeling he’s going to end up in Iran?????

  13. DSmith, it sounds like you’re hanging out with people like you. The pubs around here don’t sound at all like this. And I’m talking about New Hampshire. Let’s not even get into what people think in Massachusetts or New York. Or California.

    As for your believing those things have no impact on Bush, you live in dreamland. The notion that big diplomatic rows with various rogue states, escalation in Iraq and trade rows would have no impact on a Presidential election is rather….nonsensical. To me at least.

  14. I’m with Sylvain on this. I went to law school in Indiana. I’ll never forget the 1992 election. I told everybody for six months, “Bush cannot win”. None of the Republicans believed it. They were shocked on election night.

    Their sample consisted of other Hoosiers. It’s like the famous lady weeping on the sidewalk in Manhattan in 1972, after Nixon’s 49 state blowout — she couldn’t believe it, in her entire life she’d never met anyone who would dream of voting for Nixon.

    Let’s remember this is BIG country, with all kinds of nutty people in it. And in a year anything, but anything, can happen. One example, what happens if we get intoa war with China in the next few weeks, which is a distinct possibility? Then who wins the election? Who the Hell knows?

    In the immortal words of Harold MacMillan, the fate of governments turns on “events, dear boy, events.”

  15. Ye Gods, what are the CCP smoking? Lex, that’s the scariest link I’ve read in a while, and I’ve been following the China/Taiwan thing!

    Well, if a war with China happened, we’ve got 24% surplus domestic economic capacity, and I guess we’d find out what would happen without cheap Chinese imports (hello, Mexico? Thailand? India?)
    I don’t think the Chinese are as indispensible yet as they’d like to think economically.

    But yeah, war with N. Korea, China, Iran, Syria, Saudi or Pak in the next year would certainly shift things for the election, depending on how the events in question went down.

    And I only think Hillary would get into things if there was no first ballot winner at the Convention. Let’s wait for the first delegates to get selected first before we handicap that, eh? :-)

  16. Well, if there was any question as to the topic most likely to elicit commentary, I think we have the answer. 17 comments in one day? I stand by my original guess..no Hil in ’04. But it’s just a guess. Something I find puzzling is how the electorate (for years now) has progressively become so intensely polarized. Those supporting Bush would go to the mat for him, while the vocal opposition would like to gut, draw and quarter him, and then violate his remains. Is this more perception than reality?

  17. David, I agree on all points. The Chicoms are like 1.3 billion Rodney Kings, batshit crazy, immune to pain — they’re smoking animal tranquilizers, that’s what. If they put a nuke on one of our aircraft carrier battle groups, it is going to seriously spoil my Holiday Season. I hope they get a grip, soon.

    Andy, I think that the people who follow politics are super-polarized. The rest of the electorate, 55%?, can’t figure out what the shouting is about and don’t like it when people get shrill. It is a weird time we are living through.

  18. SDB posted about China and Taiwan. Could be things to think about.

    As to polarization, Robert Samuelson just had an article about that yesterday. The elites are polarized.

  19. Thanks for the tips, Sandy. SDB here is pretty reassuring. Samuelson, here is certainly right in saying that we are less polarized as a society than we were in the ’60s, and that the shrillness is an elite phenomenon. I think this is largely due to the fact that the liberals are in the midst of losing control, and they are getting increasingly angry and desperate, a point I discussed, citing David Brooks, here, and which was recently made very well in the widely-cited essay entitled We’re Not Losing the Culture War Anymore.

    Anyway, yay for us. Our subs can if necessary sink the Chinese navy if necessary, our country is united on the basics, and the conservatives/libertarians/not-liberals are slowly but surely taking over the commanding heights of American society. Woo hoo.

  20. Myself, I’ve just been wondering what the Europeans will do when Bush is elected in a landslide. There seems to be an assumption that *of course* he won’t have a second term, an assumption I find… unrealistic. (Of course, a lot can happen in eleven months, so who really knows. Still, neither France nor the EU is very popular in the US right now. If they get blatant enough about trying to influence the outcome of the election, it will rebound on them. Badly.)

    As for Hillary, she’s keeping her options open. It’s the smart thing to do at this point; it’s too late for her to run in the primaries, so there’s no go/no-go decision needed until the convention, at which time the election will be much closer and she’ll have a much clearer read on where Bush is and what her chances might be.

  21. The Chicoms are like 1.3 billion Rodney Kings, batshit crazy, immune to pain — they’re smoking animal tranquilizers…

    THAT is the funniest damn comment I’ve read in months…

  22. Yes it is bad to predict election outcomes and public opinion based on small surveys of co-workers, friends, pubmates…etc..


    I really don’t understand the why anyone would think that this election will be easy for Bush. That’s definitely a view from “dreamland..”

    I think of 3 people. My father, my aunt, and my grandfather.

    Those 3 people have voted republican for many decades without exception.

    None of them will be voting for Bush in 2004.

    I repeat. NONE of them will be voting for Bush in 2004.

    Each of them has a different reason.

    For my father, it’s the environment issue. See, dad’s retired now, and dad likes to spend time outdoors. And while dad may be thinking about how he pays too much in taxes while he’s outside, he at least has a place to go..watch the birds. whatever.. Dad doesn’t like the “Health Forest Initiative” or the changes to the Clean Water Act. He believes that environmental protection is one area in which government supervision is quite necessary. New changes to the Clean Water Act are opening up some of dad’s favorite wetlands in southern california to development. And for that reason.. he’s not voting for Bush.

    My Aunt.. an options trader in chicago.. wasn’t too happy about the farm subsidies a while back.. and she’s particularly aggravated by bush’s monetary policies in general. She is also well aware that the federal government is now the most bloated behemoth in American history.. that makes for an unhappy auntie.. and although she won’t say it when her husband (my uncle) is around..she thinks Bush full of shit.. and she won’t be voting for him.

    Grandpa.. a WWII vet… well.. his problem is Iraq.. up until we invaded Iraq, he liked bush. But grandpa and I went out and saw the movie Sea Biscuit the other day.. and when a black and white shot of FDR came up on screen, my grandpa remembered something.. with tears in his eyes he looked to me and said, “We loved him, we would have done anything for him in those days. He was a real hero to us. Not like this Bush guy. He’s really gotten us into a mess in Iraq. And as long as we don’t find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he’s lost my vote.” Yah.. he’s actually hoping John Kerry will win the primaries.. I never thought i’d hear my grandfather say the name John Kerry..

    so.. perhaps for every republican turning against George Bush there is a democrat who is going to vote for Bush.. I don’t know.. most likely scenario is that my father, my aunt, and my grandfather won’t vote at all. They all voted for Bush.. none of them like him anymore.. but i can’t really see them going to the polls and voting for a democrat..

  23. I’m not sure Samuelson has it entirely right. People are more polarized too. And quite honestly, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. The nauseating touchy-feely diversity PC crap permeating every aspect of intellectual life was starting to rub me the wrong way too often. Politics are back. Not the whiny wimpy all-inclusive diluted focus-grouped bipartisan wormshit that used to pass for it. The real thing. I think the self-appointed elites are only following on this one, not leading. And they’re making a caricature of it, one that is a lot nastier, more narrow-minded, pettier and intolerant than it is.

    As for the EU, they just assume Dean or anyone but Bush would be better for them. That’s their mistake. In the current global economic context, a populist Democrat could be instinctively more protectionist than Bush in many respects to please the unions, and in other areas demand much bigger concessions from Europe on things like farm trade, threatening to sue their arse over the Common Agricultural Policy at the WTO, if that’s what it takes to please the farmers.

    And who knows, maybe pull out of Bosnia and let them deal with it. Which by the way, I am amazed Bush hasn’t done yet. French and German noses should be shoved into their own military impotence and diplomatic incompetence. Right next door would be a good spot. After all, since they don’t want America to play the police, it certainly shouldn’t be doing so in Europe, of all places. But I digress.

    And for the record, I think Lex just insulted 1.3 billion Chinese and complimented Rodney King. Let it be known this blog is not afraid of anything.

  24. Shee-it, can’t I be un-PC in the comments section of my own farkin’ blog?? Yeah, I’m sorry to everybody in China. You are all very nice. I am really a Sinophile, really. I mean it. I had dim sum just the other day. Some of my best friends are Chinese. There, my cred is reestablished. Ha.

    But, OK, now I’ve made nice. Now, please, yoo hoo, Chicoms? Please don’t start a war over Taiwan just now. It would be monumentally stupid and pointless. Many would die, we’d have a global depression for nothing and not one good thing would come of it for anybody least of all China. So, quit rattling the saber and start making China a country the folks on Taiwan would rationally want to join. Wow, there’s a tall order. Get to it.

    And throw in an order of those little onion pancakes, the thousand year old eggs and the almond tofu with fruit salad for dessert. And another pot of tea.

  25. I don’t think SDB’s analysis of possible war in Taiwan is off base, I just don’t think that it might make much difference to the chicoms. Ill advised wars abound (you’d have thought, for instance, that the first time someone tried to conquer Russia in the winter that the lesson would have sunk in!)

    So while I think they would certainly lose, I don’t think that the Politburo in Beijing would let that stop them if Taiwan declares independance and gives up the “one china” charade. Yes I think they are that crazy.

    And I’d still wait till at least part way through primary season before I gave any odds on Hillary trying to broker a back room deal at the convention to get the nomination. My gut says she’ll wait it out till ’08 in almost all cases.

  26. David, you are absolutely right. They are capable of any damn thing at all, including getting massacred on the seas and in the air over the Taiwan strait — after pulverizing Taiwan with a barrage of ballistic missiles. It’s sick to say it, but the total craziness of the whole thing makes it seem that much more likely. In a hundred years, they’ll all be scratching their heads and saying, “how could this have happened?”

    As to Hillary, yeah, who the Hell knows. I just don’t rule her out. Not yet.

  27. Sylvain, that would indeed be a fortuitous cherry on top of a big shit pie.

    Note that if things did go beyond a couple or few ballots at the Convention that I would put top odds on Hillary getting the nomination. In that sense I agree that she’s not out of the picture yet. In that situation, with her having not spent her war chest in a primary campaign, I would indeed put my money on her being the ‘uniter’ that gets the nod.

    Back on the off-topic Taiwan tangent, if things did light up there, it would be the first time that 2 powers (US and China) with strategic nuclear forces will have directly fought a hot war. That scares the bejesus out of me, child of the cold war that I am. Especially if the Dear Leader goes off the wagon at the same time, as it would greatly up the odds of nuclear penetrators getting used to take out all that arty pointed at Seoul that’s in underground bunkers.

    And then everyone hopes India and Pak sit on their hands. It all reminds me of bad scary Cold War fiction (yes, I read Fail Safe with a high fever once… :-)

  28. David, I don’t know what Hillary will do. Can the party change candidates after the convention ? Could she suddenly run, or offer to run if the Dean campaign is going into a wall ?

    As for the Taiwan/China speculations, my problem is that I’ve heard them and believed them too often, every time the tension heats up, to believe them anymore. But if something bad did happen, it would indeed be good timing for the Dear Leader Murderer of North Korea to pull some kind of a stunt.

    As for nuclear weapons, I doubt we’ll use them first. I certainly hope we don’t. Specially in the case you mention. After all, you’re talking about the artillery positions facing Seoul north of the DMZ. Taking them out with nukes, whatever their size, essentially showers Seoul with fallout, eventually resulting in more casualties than a North Korean shelling. Not so good.

  29. Sylvain, not if they are penetrators (before all those tubes are wheeled out of their bunkers) or, after the tube positions are revealed, ‘enhanced radiation’ aka neutron bombs. Which yes we still have some of. You know, those nasty little fuckers designed to wipe out Soviet tanks in the Fulda Gap and not kill everyone in the towns nearby.

    Could conventional or overpressue penetrators take out the arty line on the DMZ? Maybe, depending on how interconnected those caverns and bunkers are.

    And I too have gotten tired over the years of all the China/Taiwan sabre rattling, but this IS the first time they’ve talked about flat out having an election on the question of declaring independance. Hopefully it’ll just turn out to be the usual huff and bluster.

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