Anti-Hillary? I Don't Get It

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Sep 26, 2007 at 06:00

A truly bipartisan coalition appears to be forming on Facebook:

As the new school year gets fully under way and presidential hopefuls work the young voter circuit via social networking websites, one online group - Facebook's "Stop Hillary Clinton (One Million Strong AGAINST Hillary)" - is seriously outpacing its pro-candidate rivals in attracting new members.

With more than 418,000 members, Stop Hillary Clinton has now surpassed "Barack Obama (One Million Strong for Barack)" as the largest group for or against a presidential candidate on Facebook. (The pro-Obama group has 355,000 members.)

The anti-Clinton group is growing at 10 percent per month, said Micah Sifry, co-director of Tech President, a blog group that tracks and studies how political candidates use the Web.

I won't be joining this group, and I would encourage other progressive activists not to do so (which, I am sure, will cause some of the commenters in this thread to feel justified). I explain why in the extended entry.

Chris Bowers :: Anti-Hillary? I Don't Get It
It is not just that I have never really been all that anti-Clinton, as this old post from January 2005 will attest. It is also not that I intend on endorsing her during the primaries, which I do not intend to do (I am mainly focused on endorsing issue positions right now). Rather, it is simply that I don't get why Hillary Clinton would be so much worse than pretty much any of the other Democratic candidates. Consider the following:

My point is this: considering the differences between them are not particularly large in terms of policy, electability, or connection to the establishment, why would I be anti-Clinton and not also anti-pretty much the entire Democratic field? There are differences, but those differences are nowhere close to being large enough to justify being anti-Clinton at all costs. It is entirely possible that looking similar to the other candidates is actually part of Clinton's campaign strategy. However, even if that is true, I have to say that the Clinton campaign has done an excellent job of executing the strategy, and that the other campaigns have not done a great job fighting back against it.

Now, there are some bloggers who think that not being anti-Clinton means you are afraid of Clinton. Here is one such comment:

The fence-sitting of the bloggerati smells to me like a fear of losing traffic.

And here is another one:

And if you're not doing something for fear of straining your relationships with people in power, friends or not, it's time to reevaluate your priorities.

Now, some may consider accusations that bloggers aren't on the Stop Hillary bandwagon as justified questioning of corrupt blogger motives. I assert, rather, that such accusations are baseless, trolling slander of people who justifiably no longer see a gaping difference between the Democratic candidates. Sure, there are some differences, but they tend both to be small, frequently based on personal characteristics, and are not even always negative for Clinton (for example, she has a very similar, and sometimes superior, progressive voting record compared to the rest of the field).

Let me rephrase this entire post with a thought experiment. How can I join a Stop Hillary Facebook group and, for example, not also join a stop Barack Obama facebook group? What are the gaping differences that make Clinton utterly unacceptable and Obama acceptable? Repeat this process for every candidate, and see if you end up with anything consistent across all candidates you find acceptable. If there is a coherent meaningful political philosophy to be gleamed from this, I will be stunned.

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These are issues of (4.00 / 3)
trust and--as you said--of degrees. Of course every campaign is connected in many ways to the establishment: what's the last major campaign that wasn't?

But some seem more connected, some less. My impression--and I hope someone corrects me if I'm wrong--is that Clinton's campaign is more intimately connected with 'the establishment' than the others. Yes, Obama is largely running an 'establishment' campaign, but he himself is nowhere -near- as locked into the establishment as Clinton. Yes, Edwards was the last VP candidate, but same with him--plus, doesn't 'the establishment' dislike him?

Of course, the term 'establishment' is pretty vague. Are we talking about Howard Dean, pretty damn 'establishment' as the head of the DNC, or David Broder? Is the objection -ties- to the establishment, which seem to me to be inevitable, or sharing the same views and values as the establishment.

I just read on MyDD, for example, that Edwards wants to almost double the capital gains rate, from 15 to 27 percent, on people making over $270,000. To my mind, that's not establishment. Obama's statement on not using nukes, ditto.

Who are the Twenty Worst Democratic consultants and staffers? Are they clustered largely around a single campaign, or spread evenly throughout the field?

Basically, though,  this is an issue of trust and only trust. Some people simply don't -trust- Edwards. He's too smooth, he's changed too much. Others simply don't trust Obama, he's too timid, he's too much the voice of moderation. And others simply don't trust Clinton, she's too 'establishment,' she's too much an insider.

Of the three of them, I think Edwards is a bit screwed, at least by -this- metric. How do you show people you're not too smooth? Clinton is hammering on 'change', to counteract this impression. Obama, I dunno. I think he could utterly smash this feeling about him in a week, if he chose, yet he doesn't choose. I'm not sure if this is because he's very intentionally keeping things mild at this point, or if that's just who he -is-. There's no way to really know; just another matter of trust.

HRC hatin' (0.00 / 0)
Trust is an important issue. In terms of "changing", it's Clinton who hasn't changed and I don't trust it. Anyone who doesn't see a massive, totally massive, degredation of this country in the last seven years, and hasn't changed their methods and platforms in response, is someone I don't trust.

[ Parent ]
It's judgment. (4.00 / 1)
I trust Clinton much less than the other major contenders in terms of who's going to start the *next* unnecessary military fiasco.  I just think her instincts are bad in this turf -- she regrets the Iraq vote not because the philosophy behind preemptive war was wrong, but because we didn't find anything.

This is just a replay of the last big diary, Chris: it's not about the policy statements; it's about the leader who'll have to deal with changing circumstances upon election.

[ Parent ]
You're right (4.00 / 1)
There is no way of knowing if Obama truly *is* the way he is running the campaign, or if he is just holding back for some strategic reason.

But I have been thinking more lately that if he is holding back, it's a good strategy. Being in first place right now, above the establishment "inevitable" candidate, would be a complete nightmare place to be in terms of media treatment, though many Barack Obama supporters would *feel* better than they do now. The main question is whether he is close enough to second in the key first states to be able to hold back for longer. I think he is. I think ideally, the big surge would happen in January, when is honestly the first time people will really be paying attention.

As far as why people would be opposed to Clinton, I think you underestimate the war vote a bit, Chris. Many many people I have talked to about this cite that vote as a big reason why they don't trust her. People remember that vote in a different way because for many of us, the war was part of our political baptism. We remember feeling so disenchanted by those Democrats who wouldn't stand up when it seemed to obviously wrong, and she was one of them.

DISCLOSURE: I work for Vote Hope, which is supporting Obama in the primary.

Politics is a strong and slow boring of hard boards.

[ Parent ]
counter productive (4.00 / 1)
A stop Hillary movement will cement her status as front runner and take all the oxygen out of the other campaigns. If your goal is to nominate someone else, this is not a very good way to go about it.

She has a more prominent history (4.00 / 2)
that people feel more comfortable sticking a pin to than with the other candidates, who may or may not have similar histories, but which are simply not as well known and thus as easily pinnable. And as I'm sure you'll agree, most people evaluate the person as much as the do their positions and record--if not more so--and there's simply more about Hillary the person that most people react to--positively and negatively--than about any other candidate.

Dodd voted for the war, yet no one's condemning him for it like they do Hillary. Obama's asserted that we need residual forces (along with nearly every other Dem, a point I tried to make a while back on MyDD as you might recall), yet Hillary keeps getting pilloried for this. Edwards certainly does his share of pandering, yet Hillary keeps getting accused of this. And I think that most of it is because she's simply better-known and has been around longer on the top-tier national political stage than the others.

Not that there isn't much to criticize Hillary over--clearly, there is. But there's also much to criticize the others over. But she's a bigger and more visible political pinata, so people hit her harder than they do the rest. By bigger I mean that she has a longer and more prominent track record than some of the other candidates, and by more visible I mean that she's simply been famous longer than the rest. Put these two together and it's inevitable that she's going to get pounded more than the rest, rightly or wrongly.

Having said that, though, I think that there's one way in which the extra criticism that she's been getting is justified. As someone who has a long track record, is more prominent, and has the highest chance of winning, I think that she has a certain greater obligation to take on a leadership role than the others, that she has failed to deliver on. It's why so many people have been so disappointed in the US lately. It's not that what we do is any worse than what other countries have been doing. It's that in many peoples' eyes, we're supposed to be better than we have been, and people have a problem with that, rightly or wrongly.

I should also add that I think that there's one other factor, which is that there's something about her that makes people not trust her on a personal level. Whether justified or not, it's a gut feeling that many people have (and which has been somewhat validated by her willingness to pander on a number of issues) and which is hard to shake off. Who is this person, and can I trust her? I don't get this sort of feeling about, say, Dodd, or even Obama, the way I do about Hillary (although I do about Edwards, perhaps even more so). And people vote on such gut feelings that are hard to quantify and may not be connectable to any particular issue or stance.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

HRC in a nutshell (4.00 / 9)
From The Nation, 7/22/02:

Arguing that Democratic senators ought to embrace reforms aimed at driving the influence of big-money out of politics, Feingold dismissed claims that law-abiding senators could be overwhelmed by legal threats from the FEC and Republican operatives.

Feingold's remarks rubbed US Sen. Hillary Clinton the wrong way. "Russ, live in the real world," yelled Clinton, one of the Senate's most aggressive fund raisers. Recalling the struggles of her husband's presidency and her own Senate race, sources say Clinton told Feingold he should be wary of "political adversaries." "They will be all over you like a June bug," counseled Clinton.

Clinton's outburst stunned the 20 senators who were present into silence. Finally, Feingold replied, "I also live in the real world, senator, and I function quite well in it."


Sen. Clinton's pragmatism is all about maintaining power for Sen. Clinton. That's true of most politicians but it's true to the Nth degree with the Clintons. If you look at the coalitions the Clintons built that left lasting legacies like NAFTA and welfare reform during Clinton I the votes split Democrats and largely united Republicans.

You stipulate a lot of things in your post that aren't as widely accepted as you think. I don't think any other Democratic candidate has close ties to a firm involved with union busting. When you talk about Iraq you say the candidates have "a difference in degree, not in factor". Sez you. I think voting for the Iraq War is an all-time historical blunder that debased the Constitution. A LOT of Democrats feel that way - strongly. In other policies there is no mention of trade and more than any other Democratic candidate Sen. Clinton is a supporter of globalization.

I don't want to go on too much but a lot of what was accomplished for progressive values under President Bill Clinton was not enduring and a lot of what Bill Clinton initiated (rendition, faith-based intiatives, NAFTA, Iraq Liberation Act) had horrific consequences. That is not Sen. Clinton's record but she sure does claim all the good from her husband's administration. Why shouldn't she answer a bit for the bad?

We don't need 'mend it' solutions. Our country is in tatters and we need an FDR, not a cautious pragmatist. As for voting scores, Sen. Lieberman was quick to cite his scores as well. Those scores are close to useless IMHO. What kind of fixes do you honestly believe are going to come from a Clinton/Bayh ticket? Small bore good government policies, implemented by very competent people. When the going gets tough, the Clintons implement the V-chip, not fight for health care. I want more than that and I believe the country NEEDS a lot more than that or we are in for some very tough times.

I'm not signing up for that stupid group but I don't want Hillary Clinton to win. I'll vote for her in the general election but with no enthusiasm.

John McCain

Good points (4.00 / 1)
and mostly ones I agree with. My comments above were addressed more to the question of why Hillary appears to get an undue amount of criticism from the media and general public--both of whom tend to be low-information operators. But you cite some more specific ones that address the question of why this disproportionate criticism also extends into the netroots.

To me, there are three basic reasons for why I have serious problems with her (not that I'm all giddy about the others, just that since she's the front-runner, she's the one I'm most focused on).

One, the Iraq vote, and not just the vote, but the fact that she didn't bother to read the NIE before she voted, and has lied about that since then. Simply inexcusible and indefensible.

Two, her failure to lead on all sorts of other issues as senator, and to instead focus on pandering ones like video games and flag burning. For someone who wants to be president to be this passive, reactive and cautious is downright frightening. Will she be a poll-driven president like her husband was and shoot for a safe middle course on everything?

And three, just this whole amorphous "ech" quality that she radiates that has to do with how insecure, indecisive, thin-skinned and insincere she seems to be. That tirade with Feingold is just one example of this. People who employ "I live in the real world" to defend their decisions (something that I've done so I should know a bit about it) are usually masking some insecurity or uncertainty with such insulting aggressiveness. Again, these are frightening qualities to have in a president, and I see her as making all sorts of bad decisions--and a host of enemies that needn't have been made--as a result of them. Instead of listening to criticism, I fear that she will do a Bush and just attack defensively. I just don't see the sort of wisdom and maturity that I want to see in a president in her. She's hard in ways she needs to be soft, and soft in ways she needs to be hard. Or so she seems to me from what I've seen.

And yet, no one has yet ramped up their campaigns sufficiently to take her on, and time is running short, so she's rapidly taking on an air of inevitability. Yeah, I know--Dean. But Hillary's a far better known and far more formidable electoral politician than he was. If Obama, Edwards and Dodd don't find a way to triple-team her soon, it'll be hers for the losing. And while we could do (and are doing) far worse than her, we could also be doing far better.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
Your comments echo what is said to me as an Party activist (4.00 / 1)
in my area. I get unsolicited comments regarding HC(overwhelmingly negative) by people who know that I am very involved in Democratic politics in the region where I live(South Shore MA).

Before the flames start coming I will say that I never get the range of negativity directed at any other Democratic candidate. Once a conversation starts people will list the negatives of everyone ( as well as the positives) but she wins hands down on the seismic scale for antipathy she generates.

I want to be fair and emphasize what I am trying to say again - people can quickly repeat the negatives "talking points" associated with each of the candidates - they can rattle them off - it is just that her "list" seems longer and that may be a result of 15 years of right wing attacks.

I think the debate tonight is crucial for NH voters and activists in New England who are ready to "sign -up" for a weekend of canvassing - but they can't decide who to commit to.

Maybe tonight after the debate many will finally make up their minds.

[ Parent ]
Living in the real world (0.00 / 0)
"People who employ "I live in the real world" to defend their decisions (something that I've done so I should know a bit about it) are usually masking some insecurity or uncertainty with such insulting aggressiveness."

Perhaps. When I read that Nation quote, what occurred to me is when the deal-maker, the insider who knows in which closets the bones rattle, hears something that potentially flies in the face of the deal-making, this would be a typical response. In my experience, it's usually a salesman making such a statement.

I'm in the same camp as joejoejoe - I do not support Senator Clintons' campaign for the primary, but should she win it, I will definitely vote for her in the general. It would do Democrats (and "anti-Hillary" activists) well to remember that even the very worst we can conjure about our excellent field of candidates is orders of magnitude better than the best of the Republican field.

[ Parent ]
Well let me ask you this (4.00 / 1)
As someone who supported Feingold for almost two years before he declared he wasn't running, I think there is a clear difference between Feingold and other candidates. You make some worthy points, but this is the line that jumped out at me:

What kind of fixes do you honestly believe are going to come from a Clinton/Bayh ticket?

This is a good question, and it pretty much sums up what I am looking for in a candidate more than just about any other single line could. However...what kind of fixes do I think are coming from anyone else? In a very real way, I think expecting more from other candidates (broadly speaking, not on specific issues I may recently be in the press for) strikes me as hope and guesswork based primarily on personality differences. I could be wrong--all I am saying is that I don't see it.

I don't think you and I are as far off as we may seem. We both won't join that stupid group and will vote for her if she wins the nomination, for example. I hope this comment isn't too infuriating, but I think the difference between you and me is one of degree, rather than of factor. :)

[ Parent ]
The real tipoff here (0.00 / 0)
You don't seem to mention what to me is the big tipoff here--it is said to be a bipartisan group.  Since Hillary is the frontrunner at this point and may well be the nominee, there is one group that profits from  dragging her down and making her seem unelectable--the GOP.

John McCain--He's not who you think he is.

[ Parent ]
Predicting future behavior (0.00 / 0)
Part of this fight between the big 3 (Clinton, Edwards, Obama) is that supporters/opponents are all using different criteria projecting future behavior. Clinton scores higher and higher these days with her 'I'll fight back' rhetoric and Obama's concilliatory language is not winning him many fans among the netroots. Is rhetoric a solid predictor of future behavior? I'm not sure.

I support Obama and believe I'm fairly well informed about his life and record. Having read his books, all of his IL legislative record, witnessed his Senate career and lived and worked on the South Side of Chicago, I STILL would never assess my own certainty about what he will be able to accomplish at more than 80%. If I assume Clinton supporters have that same 20% uncertainty about future actions, and do the same for Edwards supporters pretty soon there is a huge bucket of uncertainty sloshing around. I think it's easy to say 'ahh, they're mostly the same'. Yet I think they would all be very different as President.

John McCain

[ Parent ]
i know that Bowers secretly wants clinton to win,  You just have the frame the right questions.  Bowers!  right now.. if you had to choose the captain of the starship USS United States of America..... would you choose captain Kathryn Janeway Clinton, ok some talent, but got to the top by sleeping with well connected men, or would you choose Barack Cisco, who was against the war in iraq,but not against the dominion war.  I mean, one of those wars was a real war waged for the safely of the human race, and one was just invented on paper by warmongers. 
Hey,,, try adding Jean Luc Gore to the straw poll and see who our real leader is. The one the fans would chose.

And put to rest the ensign "redshirt who dies early in the episode for dramatic purposes to show the risk to the primary characters" Edwards.  "Cut"

I love you chris, but you are always spouting conspiracy theories.. like Bush ordered 9/11 and Hillary is electable,  Pal-lease.

But you got spirit kid, real america spirit.. a whole carton. 

And many times in your blogging life, you touched me.  I remember reading how worried you were about your girlfriend in the peace corpse volunteer program after a coup, and you were so worried about her safety, you threw up.  I thought what the rest of us were thinking.. :Bowers got a girlfriend?"

Look.. I am not judging,, but after her... Bowers called Jeaneane Garafolo cute.  I will not imagine,,

But speaking of things bowers really doesnt want, I dont think he wants glory.  Yet, he got it. 

Bowers seized glory running for a local party position no one else wanted.  That victory baby.. glory.  He WON.. or at least didnt loose because no one ran against him.  Look  some people strive for victory, straining, sweating, working with all their strength and courage, and some people make up pens, and end up finding glory at the back of the junk drawer when looking for the scotch tape that you saw there a week ago and really fucking need now.  hey... glory is glory even by default. 

Chris is famous thought the blog world and the read word...who else could have single-handedly transformed TGIF to Poetry friday?

Did Chris ever imagine as a graduat student, writing bullshit essays, and making 4 grand a year, that one day he could do the same and make almost twice the money. 

He gives hope to all the tall lanky socially awakward and shy high school guys that someday they can be.. well.. nevermind.

I heard these jokes that I did not find funny.

Whats the difference between Bowers and Hitler?  One was a vicious egomaniacal dictator who spread evil around the world with the help, early in his career from a self hating liberal jew, and one was aldolf hitler. 

I dont think that makes any sense.  Bowers doesnt speak german that well.  Whats the difference between MC Escher and Bowers?  One is a weird man, propably a little autistic, who demonstrates the futility of endless mathematical models that disolve into infinity, and one is MC Escher. 

ANyway.. LEAVE BOWERS ALONE!  Or u answer to me.

It is gonna be a long primary season

Can you please ban this asshat (0.00 / 0)
seeing as I don't have the ability to troll-rate him?

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
sure (0.00 / 0)
but I dont think it would be appropriate for me to ban a founding member of the blog

[ Parent ]
"Founding" member? (0.00 / 0)
A 3-digit UID makes you a "Founding" member?

Heh. Considering that I'm right behind you, don't I at least deserve to be a "sustaining member" and doesn't that allow me to introduce a motion to eject you?

Go back to those imaginary rats, Winnie. At least they like you.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

[ Parent ]
i was talking about chris (0.00 / 0)
why is everyone so mean?  Nice reference to torture kovie.  I came to open left to try and make light of the ridiculous roasting that bowers has received for imagined complaints. 

I will stand up for Bowers in my way whenever or whereever, for being truly the model of a activist writer and organizer, and if that means i am banned,, so be it. 

[ Parent ]
snark (4.00 / 2)
For the record, with old references to MyDD in light of the current political scirmish.  Bowers has always been my model for appropriate behavior on a blog.  He always walked a careful and respectful fine line.  Back a year ago, when everyone on MyDD hated clinton due to her apparent pro-war bias, Chris was adamant that she not suffer trite attacks or be dismissed as someone who was unelectable.  He took these stands when it was not popular to do so, and showed himself a real leader. 

To watch now the level to invective aimed his way by Hillarydogs, is demeaning and offensive to how carefully and sensitively Chris dealt with these issues in the beginning when it mattered.  I remember.  For what its worth.

[ Parent ]
Fair enough. I think we've all (4.00 / 1)
had a snark misfire or two.

[ Parent ]
snark (4.00 / 1)
I didn't think it was that hard to spot...

[ Parent ]
One Major Issue (4.00 / 4)
For me Hilary distinguishes herself on one major issue, dynastic rule.  It seems to me that Hilary is in favor of that or she would not be running for president.  I am vehemently opposed to it.  I think that it is both damaging to our democracy and a sign of damage that has already occurred.

It is bad enough when people like Dan Lipinski inherit their congressional seats, a trend that seems all too common.  It is even worse when it happens at a presidential level and much worse than that when it happens twice in a row.

Imagine that Hilary Clinton wins, and is in office for two terms.  We will then have had a Bush or a Clinton in office since 1988 until 2016, that is 28 years of Bush/ Clinton/ Bush/ Clinton.  A child born in January of 1989 will be eligible to vote in their third Presidential election in 2016, but not have any memory of a president who isn't a Bush or a Clinton.  Most of those born the 80s will also have no member of a the pre-Bush/Clinton era.  Who will they then think is eligible to be president of these United States? Jeb?  Chelsea?  Perhaps a return to the Kennedy dynasty would be acceptable?

Hilary's candidacy violates the spirit of the two term tradition established by George Washington and the 22nd amendment to our Constitution.  This violation is worse because of the "two for one" rhetoric, both in 1992 and today, as well as the fact that the experience which is the hallmark of Hilary's campaign was largely earned as First Spouse in the White House.

Hilary seems to me to be a smart and competent, if divisive woman.  I agree that she probably could have been president instead of Bill, but it is against our nations principles and traditions for her to be President in addition to Bill.

My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington- Obama
Philly for Obama

That is clearly different (0.00 / 0)
No one else is in that dynastic situation. But to be fair, even if I wasn't around then, I didn't see a real problem with the Kennedy dynasty. From what I can tell, RFK would have been a great president.

I guess what I am saying is that the dynasty isn't enough, in and of itself, to disqualify someone in my book. It doesn't help, but it also doesn't disqualify on its own.

[ Parent ]
I just happened to watch some of the extras (4.00 / 2)
on the DVD of "Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?" last night. In an interview, Chuck Todd is talking about Missouri's Carnahan "dynasty", and he makes the point that there have always been political dynasties in America, from John Adams' son rising to the presidency to Abraham Lincoln's son serving in the Cabinet to the 2000 election, where we had a son of a US Senator and the son of a US President squaring off.

Still, alternating the presidency between two families over the course of 20 years would take this to a new extreme.

Join us at the Missouri community blog Show Me Progress!

[ Parent ]
you make my point (0.00 / 0)
We have always had nepotism, but I don't think it is necessarily good.  Especially in a mass media, branded world it is much easier for someone from a known lineage to be elected to office.  They start out with greater name recognition.

I think that it is a bad trend and one which should worry us, I also think it is on the increase with far too many examples.  You have already named a few; but think about Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosoi, and Mayor Daley all had relatives in power.

I don't want to live in a country where lineage or family connections dominate your ability to achieve office.  We rebelled against Monarchy for good reason.

My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington- Obama
Philly for Obama

[ Parent ]
Looking back (0.00 / 0)
I think that my argument against RFK would not be as strong as my argument against HRC namely because JFK did not serve two complete terms as president whereas WJC did.  Namely that if he wasn't dead JFK would have been theoretically eligible to serve as president.  Also, since JFK was dead there was no implied promise that he would serve in the White House as well.  Further we had not recently had a nepotistic president, so the damage to democracy itself would have been lessened.

This is not the only problem I have with a Clinton presidency, but for me it is the most critical.

BTW thinking about it, I do object to JFK appointing his brother as Secretary of State, that seems a bit wrong to me.

My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington- Obama
Philly for Obama

[ Parent ]
Attorney General (4.00 / 1)
RFK was Attorney General, not Secretary of State but the point is the same. Imagine if GWB nominated Jeb to replace Alberto Gonzales!! People would freak.

John McCain

[ Parent ]
thanks (4.00 / 1)
For the correction.

My job is not to represent Washington to you, but to represent you to Washington- Obama
Philly for Obama

[ Parent ]
A Different Thought Experiment (0.00 / 0)
If Clinton is so much like the other candidates, then why aren't there any groups (FaceBook, or otherwise) dedicated to opposing the candidacy of any other contender?  Let alone one that is growing at such a rate?

What is it about HRC that appears to instill such negative passion and does that negative passion bode well for Clinton in the general election, come Nov. 2008?

But, maybe that is an irrelevant question.

Considering the mediocre offerings from the GOP and the the Bush Legacy that over-shadows them - I think the main difference between HRC and Obama, or Edwards as the nominee will be in the margin of victory in 2008.  Basically, in the battle of negatives, Clinton's are simply no match for those of the GOP. 

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

Weak argument (0.00 / 0)
Because she's been under attack for more than 15 years? You're not going to get a Stop Barack Obama group, because most of the country knew very little about him a year ago.

Due to differing levels and periods of prominence you're going to get different intensities of reaction. But right now there is nothing that makes a Clinton candidacy verboten that does not rule out several other candidacies.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
It was a question, not an argument (4.00 / 1)
But, thanks for answering.

However, I don't buy your answer.  Perhaps not in this particular election, but overall, other candidates have been as "prominent" as HRC - some have even been in the public light for a longer period of time before they ran for President.  While I'm no historian, I can't remember any other candidate eliciting such negative passion - and presumably from their own party - while still being the front-runner.

It simply amazes me because it does not seem to make any sense.  If she's so disliked and distrusted - how can she be so popular?  It doesn't add up, does it?  I'll never understand politics.  It seems to work on a logic all its own.  One little scream is all it took to take out Howard Dean, yet Clinton can flourish amid such negative views. 

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
target the threat (4.00 / 1)
There are facebook groups opposing other candidates, but a "Stop Obama" or "Stop Edwards" group is about as relevant as a "Stop Kucinich" group. The "Stop Hillary" group was founded by Stephen DeMaura, the ED of the NH GOP, he is a pretty sharp operator and he is focused on the biggest threat. The facebook group started taking off in June, when Clinton solidified her lead, had she flamed out the group would have faded.

[ Parent ]
Sexism (0.00 / 0)
plain and simple. But let's not turn this thread into an Alternet or Salon thread.

Banned for posting five straight diaries.

[ Parent ]
Answer: Republicans and her last name (0.00 / 0)
The question was:
"If Clinton is so much like the other candidates, then why aren't there any groups (FaceBook, or otherwise) dedicated to opposing the candidacy of any other contender?"

[ Parent ]
Vast Right Wing Conspiracy (0.00 / 0)
OK, we've heard about this before. 

But, why are the Republicans so frightened of Clinton?

How is that name - or her agenda - any more threatening than any other one of the Democratic candidates?

Maybe is a competing dynasty thing?

Could it be that they sense that she might be the MOST electable of all the other contenders?  That is, HRC is most the one Democratic candidate that might just be able to sweep the greatest number of GOPers from the halls of the Federal Government? 

Maybe its a synthesis of all the points raised in this discussion.  No one grand reason - rather an accumulation of small points. 

"It sounds wrong...
     ...but its right."

[ Parent ]
Re: she might be the MOST electable (0.00 / 0)
"Could it be that they sense that she might be the MOST electable of all the other contenders?"

Yes. That's the point I was trying to make. Republicans are more likely to sign up for a stop Hillary site (and pretend to be Obama or Edwards supporters) because they are very afraid of running against her. 

[ Parent ]
again: (0.00 / 0)
you are analyzing Clinton by comparing her Plan To End Bad Things to the others, saying they're indistinguishable, and shrugging, because that's apparently the only relevant factor to you.

Most of us have moved on.

There is less disagreement (4.00 / 1)
among the Democratic candidates in this cycle than I have ever seen.

I must admit it is a great surprise, and I think it is the reason for Hillary's rise.

I am against Hillary for three reasons, two of which are described below:
1.  Electability - Her negatives are substantially higher than any of the other Democrats in this cycle.

One thing that hasn't been discussed much is the gap between polls which test unnamed candidates against each other versus trial heats where candidates are identified.  When unnamed candidates are tested, Democrats lead by 15 points.  But Hillary runs about even against Giuliani, maybe slightly ahead.

You can argue that the same is true of the other candidates - but there are reasons to think that their performance would improve if they became better known.

A second reason for my concern about Hillary's electability is her vote on Iraq.  One thing 2004 showed was the difficulty in being anti-war now if you voted for the initial AUMF.  Kerry struggled with this explanation, and I think in the end Hillary will as well.

2.  Hillary is on the wrong side of the globalization debate.

Here I think the NAFTA vote, and Hillary's long standing connection to the DLC illustrates a significant difference between herself and the other candidates.  This is worthy of a longer discussion.

3.  Hillary is the most tied to the neo-con framework, as seen by her Iraq plan.  I believe she is also the most likely to be drawn into another mid-east conflict.  The Clinton's were always very weak when it came to taking on the military (in part because of Clinton's draft problems) and I would not expect different would she become President.

I think this illustrates the point Chris was making (0.00 / 0)
To my mind none of those three reasons, respectable enough though they are, really stands up to sustained analysis.

For point 1 you forget the crucial element - the Republican noise machine. Generic Democrat is going to do better than any named Democrat, because generic Democrat will not force you to contract a homosexual marriage, tax you until you bleed and send the money to Cuba nor nominate Bin Laden as Vice-President. Any named Democratic presidential candidate, however, will be accused of charges that are nearly as absurd.

The poll a few days ago on battleground districts illustrated the point. There was a generic Democratic advantage of nearly 20 points, which was cut to six when the presidential candidate was named and a typical Republican attack was used to characterise them. The notable thing here is that the gap was six whether the candidate was Hillary or Obama.

Maybe some of the messages of the other candidates might resonate better with the people (although frankly most of them aren't distinctive enough to be map changers) but this potential benefit will be offset by the gallons of bile and misinformation the right will spew about them.

With regard to the second issue, I'm in agreement. The difficulty is that Obama certainly doesn't seem to be distinguishing himself from her here, Richardson and Biden would be worse if anything and Edwards was in the past aligned (although not a member, I believe) with the DLC. Clinton's not the best, but nobody's especially good on the issue.

As to the third, I just don't see it. Obama's plan is essentially the same and Edwards' is only a slight improvement, whilst Biden's plan is an absurdity and elements of Richardson's are too (the regional conference leading to Arab peacekeepers rather than the 'no residual troops' message.) Certainly you could argue and few would disagree that she isn't the best on the issue. But the others aren't enough of an improvement to consider her unacceptable.

I think there are grounds to hope that Clinton does not win the nomination, but not grounds to actively oppose her in such a way as to hurt her general election prospects.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
The electability (0.00 / 0)
concern about Hillary was highlighted this morning by a NH poll showing her trailing 45-44 in NJ, a state Kerry carried by 9 and Gore by 16.

Take a few other trial heats with Clinton and Guiliani:
Florida 44-44
Ohio - 43-44 (she trails)
Pa 45-44 she leads

These are quinnipiac numbers. 

These numbers show no real improvement for Clinton in 2008 over the 2004 numbers in a vastly better environment for Democrats.  Other numbers do show improvement( notably in Virginia, Arkansas and Missouri) over the '04 numbers, but with the exception of Virginia nothing that I wouldn't expect given the National enviroment.

If you look at the internals, what worries me most is her appeal to independents.  She trails Guiliani by 10 in NJ, leads by 5 in Florida (A dem needs to win by about 15 to carry the state).

I have serious concerns about her electability at this point.

[ Parent ]
I don't see her as distinctive in this respect (0.00 / 0)
But in general the other candidates don't do much better. Edwards tends to do a few points better, Obama either better or worse depending on the state, but no massive differences.

If the national climate turns poisonous for Democrats then a Clinton candidacy might be in trouble. But so would an Obama or Edwards candidacy.

Also, you have to consider the oddities of NJ polling. In the run up to 2004 Bush led Kerry in a few polls there.

I see and share your concerns, but I don't think she differs enough in polling for them to be decisive.

Forgotten Countries - a foreign policy-focused blog

[ Parent ]
clinton's faults and strawmen (0.00 / 0)
there's a difference between not wanting to see Clinton get the nomination and finding her "totally unacceptable".

endorsing issue positions is OK, but if those issues are drawn too narrowly, it can miss some differences.

on any one specific topic, when the "correct" answer (the one the audience wants to hear) is fairly obvious up front, more often than not surprise surprise any random politician will endorse - in a loose and nonbinding fashion - that correct answer.

you have to build a general sense of a candidate's approach. when an issue comes up that nobody had even thought about before, what will they do? what are their priorities?

Clinton is unquestionably on the side of entrenched economic interests. now, you might say, no, that's the Republicans. but that's a difference in how they govern and maybe why they govern. for instance, you've heard the argument that GM ought to support universal health care as a way out of its liability problems. Republicans would never go along with that. Clinton would - and probably will - push it very strongly. so, it's a progressive position, in some ways, sure. but it gets much of its priority from its impact on business.

the world with Clinton as President would surely be a far better place than, say, Giuliani or Romney. but it would be one pointing to the past. i pretty much buy Stirling's take on this.

(i also think that Clinton is very, very likely to get us into another war. but i have nothing to back that up, specifically. it's just how it seems, from a combination of her wanting to get out of the Democrat/female box, and her own honest beliefs about the matter. so, Spidey sense, take it for what it's worth...)

not everything worth doing is profitable. not everything profitable is worth doing.

One other point (4.00 / 1)
and perhaps the biggest factor. It's not her current stated policy stances that make her a bigger and more popular target for criticism from the left, but rather a sense on the left--justified, I believe--that she's less authentic, trustworthy, sincere, honest and genuinely progressive than some of the others. Her current platform is not that different from most of the others, and she's certainly gone along with various bills and stances that we've pushed for in the senate. So it's not that, clearly.

Rather, it's this sense that many of us have that this is all political posturing and pandering, and that as soon as she's got the nomination locked up, she'll go back to pandering to the center and even right. Which, if she does, might still not mean that this is how she'll govern as president. Still, we'd have our doubts, and not for trivial reasons, either. There's just something about her, that can partly be articulated, and partly not, that makes many of us feel very uncomfortable with and wary of her as president.

And it has NOTHING to do with her gender, in case anyone wonders, because many of us have the same problems with Biden, Richardson and Kucinich.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything...Mankind are forever destined to be the dupes of bold & cunning imposture" -- Alexander Hamilton

Here Here (4.00 / 1)
This is my central concern about HRC: I don't believe that the progressivism is real.  The partisanship is, perhaps, but the two shouldn't be confused.  I get the sense that people assume she must be a good liberal because conservatives hate her.  This only follows, of course, if hate from conservatives is proportionate to genuine progressivism.  It seems to me clear, however, that it's not: they hate her for far more visceral reasons having to do with her gender and personal style.  They might then rationalize this attitude by convincing themselves that she must be an ultra-liberal, but this is just that- a rationalization.  We on the left certainly shouldn't join them in it.

[ Parent ]
the box she's in (4.00 / 3)
Chris this is why I cannot support Hillary in the primaries and why she is obviously so different than Edwards and why you can't just judge people based on the votes they've cast or the policies they've proposed....


The only question that seemed to throw her concerned her actual Senate record. After we'd gone through her positions and policies in some detail, I suggested that for all she'd been busy doing in the Senate, I couldn't find an instance where she had taken a politically unpopular stance or championed a big idea, like health-care reform, that might not yield immediate benefits but was the right thing to do. Interviews with colleagues and observers seemed to imply an unspoken disappointment that her talents promised a record of more height and substance than she had displayed-he one consistent criticism I heard was that her record was marked by overwhelming caution. Could she refute their doubts, and point to a few examples of politically brave votes?

Clinton laughed. "Oh, well, see, my view is, how do you get things done? When you're in the minority, getting things done is not easy." She cited her work after September 11: "I think taking on the administration over the effects from breathing the contaminants that were in the air, fighting to get the tracking and screening programs set up, going back time and time again-"

I couldn't help breaking in. These were certainly worthy programs, but where is the political risk in standing up for the victims of September 11?

She tried again: "I voted against every tax cut, and I represent the richest people in America."

But you're a Democrat!

"But I have a lot of constituents for whom those tax cuts were personally quite important."

Aren't they Republicans?

"I had no support in the financial-services community when I ran in 2000-none," she replied, rather reinforcing the point. "That's a slight exaggeration-I have worked really hard to develop credibility with them, but I have voted against their tax cuts, I have voted against repealing the estate tax, I took on Alan Greenspan at a hearing about his appearance before the budget committee."

I was about to suggest that these might qualify as politically brave actions for a Republican, when her answer took a sharp turn toward the personal.

"Everything I do carries political risk because nobody gets the scrutiny that I get," she said finally. "It's not like I have any margin for error whatsoever. I don't. Everybody else does, and I don't. And that's fine. That's just who I am, and that's what I live with."

""Everything I do carries political risk because nobody gets the scrutiny that I get," she said finally. "It's not like I have any margin for error whatsoever. I don't. Everybody else does, and I don't. And that's fine. That's just who I am, and that's what I live with.""

And thus you get the poll-driven campaign of union-buster Mark Penn. You really think there won't be much difference between what she puts her political capital into in her administration versus Edwards? Hell, do you think she would even attempt to use political capital? Do you think she would make it a priority to step out onto the rose garden lawn and passionately vociferate the need for a stronger labor movement and for more unions and union-members?

I don't. A presidency is not just about policies and proposals. It's also about tone and ideology.

snark (0.00 / 0)
For the record, previously made snark with old references to MyDD in light of the current political scirmish banned by OL users. 

Bowers has always been my model for appropriate behavior on a blog.  He always walked a careful and respectful fine line.  Back a year ago, when everyone on MyDD hated clinton due to her apparent pro-war bias, Chris was adamant that she not suffer trite attacks or be dismissed as someone who was unelectable.  He took these stands when it was not popular to do so, and showed himself a real leader.

To watch now the level to invective aimed his way by Hillarydogs, is demeaning and offensive to how carefully and sensitively Chris dealt with these issues in the beginning when it mattered.  I remember.  For what its worth.

I really am surprised you feel this way (0.00 / 0)
This site seems to have highlighted many issues where we find major Clinton officials lobbying for the wrong side, with bad industries and Republicans. 

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

Off the top of my head... (0.00 / 0)
Iraq, and her refusal to say she screwed up, and her general war mongering.

The Bankruptcy Bill.

Mark Penn.

The money she takes from lobbyists, like the insurance company.

The zilch she has done in the Senate.

And on, and on, and on.

The reality is that a lot of this does come down to trust, Chris.  Do I trust that Hilary will actually push a plan that insurance companies may oppose?  Not at all.  Do I think Hillary will side with corporate America over ordinary American?  You bet.

Where has she been on the front line of a single risky progressive idea?

To me, I trust Edwards a heck of a lot more (and to some extent, Obama, as well as Dodd.)  Why?  Because I think he is sincere, and I think he has our back.  My feeling is that Hillary, who I would certainly vote for against anyone from the GOP, sees as as an 1)ATM and a 2)pain in the ass to be neutralized.

Bankruptcy Bill? (4.00 / 1)
You mean the one she opposed in 2005?

This is one reason why Clinton does so much better among Democrats than the netroots expected. Many people in the netroots are very poorly informed about her record and her actual positions.

[ Parent ]
sort of (0.00 / 0)
She voted for a terrible bill in 2001, and was out of the Senate with Bubba in 2005, right?

[ Parent ]
2001, 2005, '90s (0.00 / 0)
She voted against the 2005 bill in a procedural motion and spoke out against it, she was with Bill during his open heart surgery for the vote on the bill itself.

She voted for the 2001 bill, which was not as bad as the 2005 bill and contained child custody payment provisions she felt were important. Edwards also voted for the 2001 bill, which did not pass. She helped kill a couple versions of the bankruptcy bill while she was first lady.

[ Parent ]
Dennis (4.00 / 1)
Your diary expresses an idea I've heard thousands of times so far: All the Democratic Party candidates are basically the same, except for Kucinich, who has the best positions across the board. Therefore, I'll pick one from the slurry of homogeneous leaders, not Kucincich, who I already said is the only one who has all the right ideas.

Why? I honestly want to know why people see the right decision and then intentionally make the wrong one. Is it out of a spirit of compromise -- *pre-emptive* compromise? If that's the case, I don't want to hear another whine about how the Democrats in Congress are bending over and giving Bush too much slack, since you're using the exact same strategy.

A matter of degrees (4.00 / 3)
Let's take a random issue -- say the environment.  In the first term a Democratic Presidency could push for between 100% of the changes we need and 0%.  I suspect Hillary would push for 50% of the changes, compromise, then settle with 25% and then go home and call victory for the environment.

That might work well for her reelection campaign and it's better than nothing, but it is NOT the significant change that I want and I think the country needs.

I'm supporting Edwards, and I think he is more likely not to settle for less and instead is more likely to move the country and the Congress closer to 100% of the changes we need.

Edwards and Clinton may agree on the environmental issues (for example) but I think an Edwards presidency gets us closer to the changes needed in this country.

She Just Voted for Lieberman/Kyl (4.00 / 2)
How is this warmongering, free-trading, former director of Wal-Mart, not a Bushdog?

Many have noted an excuse for HRC's negatives is that she has been the "victim" of attacks for 15 years.  However, right- wing antipathy for Clinton has little to do very serious questions from the left.  We've suffered through one unaccomplished, incompetent, pawn of big business for two terms and look where it has gotten us.  Why would we want another?  Her "front-runner" status is based solely on nepotism and its attendant ability to collect corporate cash.  Why would Newscorp and health insurance executives generate money for a genuine progressive?


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