Sunday, February 25, 2007

We Can't Be This Lucky

I despise the Clintons. They're two-faced, phony egomaniacs who believe in nothing but their own careers. While I voted for Bill in both 1992 and 1996, by 2000 I had seen and heard enough from the Clintons and their coterie (i.e., Carville, Podesta, Stephanopolous, Begala, Davis, et al.) that I was ready for them all to go off to prison or their own island or just far, far away.

Instead they moved to NY and set up shop for Hillary's future presidential run. But I refused to vote for Hillary for Senator in either 2000 or 2006. I won't vote for her for president either. I have long assumed, as have many, that unless something strange and out of the ordinary happens, HRC is the inevitable Democratic nominee. But four days after David Geffen took the Clintons on in Maureen Dowd's column, it looks like the inevitability factor may be going, going, gone:

Geffen said publicly what so many in Washington are saying privately. Hillary is a terrible public speaker: liberals loathe her centrist, Blairite position on the Iraq war; conservatives hate her viscerally; moderates don’t actually like her even when they agree with her; and Bill still has a woman problem. Do we really want to go through all that again?

That's exactly it - Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic nominee brings all the freaking Clintonite baggage (the interns, the sexual harassment stuff, the Whitewater/ethics stuff, the Lincoln bedroom fundraising stuff) without any of the benefits (Clinton's marvelous speaking ability, his pure genius at politicking, etc.)

Now that Geffen said aloud what many were thinking, the Clinton people have their work cut out for them to return the inevitability factor back to the race. Too many people this week said "You know what? She really is unelectable...maybe so and so is a better choice..."

Fill in the so and so for yourself. Perhaps Obama (although I'm not sold just yet that he's for real); perhaps Edwards; perhaps a third tier contender or even a candidate not yet announced.

Anybody but Clinton.

POSTSCIPT: All is not well in GOP land on the presidential nominating front either. The wingers aren't too happy with their choices (Mitt/St. John/St. Rudy seen as too liberal and/or untrustworthy while Brownback/Huckabee/Hunter are seen as conservative but unelectable.)

I really believe one of those second tier candidates in the GOP has a chance to break out of the pack and make it into the first tier. Rudy's got so much baggage that if he gets any scrutiny whatsoever on the personal life/personal business front, he's got trouble. McCain has turned into John McBush (as the former McCain fan Chris Matthews dubbed him recently), losing his appeal to independents and moderates while he has been ineffectually sucking up to the Bushies and the evangelicals. Romney really does look like he can be defined as a GOP version of John Kerry (i.e., northeastern liberal with a penchant for flip-flopping.) These first tier guys are all pretty flawed.

As for the second tier candidates, I don't think Duncan Hunter has much appeal either in or out of the party, but Mike Huckabee is a very savvy media player (I've been listening to him on Imus for years and he's very, very good at coming across as a sane, likable conservative) who could appeal to people outside of the Grand Old Party while keeping the evangelical base happy. Sam Brownback is probably a much longer shot than Huckabee, but again if he can garner some appeal from the winger base, he might be able to pull up into the first tier and become a serious contender for the nomination.

We'll see.

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