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Dueling Pundits on 2008
May 7, 2006 9:47 AM   Subscribe

Why Hillary Can't Win (by Markos "Kos" Moulitsas). Why John Can't Win (by Byron York). (via)
posted by bardic (89 comments total)

 
This all boils down to Obama 2012!
posted by jhscott at 9:53 AM on May 7, 2006


Probably the greatest reason Hillary can't win is the same as why John McCain can't win. Bad temper. Lack of anger management. Lack of tact.

In past, both of them have made many enemies that they didn't *need* to make.

Al Gore has just a white-knuckle rage at Hillary. Others who dislike her intensely vary from the moderate Dick Morris, to John Kerry and Howard Dean. Each one of them in their own right, and for very different reasons. And none of them that it really mattered in the long run that she offend. And that list is far from inclusive.

The two of them, Clinton and McCain, have angered so many of their respective parties that it begs the question: would nominating them destroy party unity? Would many of their party rather vote for no one than vote for them?

In both cases the answer seems to be yes.
posted by kablam at 10:10 AM on May 7, 2006


Since when is Dick Morris a moderate?
posted by grimcity at 10:24 AM on May 7, 2006


So the problem with Hilary Clinton is Bill Clinton? Wow. I would have thought it was her charisma deficit and her reliance on bashing soft-target social bogeymen like rap music and videogames instead of, say, actually delivering on health care issues.
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on May 7, 2006


Clinton and McCain, have angered so many of their respective parties

But if they teamed up they might be unstoppable. I don't mind Hillary one second. I just wish she had more guts to state her positions clearly without constantly playing it safe. She should take a page from Russ Feingold, who in a sane world, would be a shoe in for our next president. But at this point I would be happy with almost anyone who is not Dubya.
posted by Skygazer at 10:29 AM on May 7, 2006


If Hillary C isn't down with Busy Bee and Kool Moe Dee, you're better off getting her to vote for me.
posted by jhscott at 10:30 AM on May 7, 2006


Okay maybe not happy, but err....relieved.

the devil you know etc...
posted by Skygazer at 10:33 AM on May 7, 2006


Ah screw that. ON third review, Beezlebub himself would be a welcome change...
posted by Skygazer at 10:39 AM on May 7, 2006


You mean Jeb?
posted by papakwanz at 10:42 AM on May 7, 2006


Well sweet! Now that we've got that out of the way, we can get ont to finding a democrat who can win. Warner, for example.
posted by zpousman at 10:50 AM on May 7, 2006


If Markos thinks the next presidential election will be decided by the progressive base, or, more absurdly, the "netroots", then he's really frickin' stupid.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:02 AM on May 7, 2006


Papakwanz (you bastard):You mean Jeb?

Ummm..on FOURTH review...


posted by Skygazer at 11:09 AM on May 7, 2006


Well, personally, I don't like Hillary because she seems slimier than Bill. I don't think I'd vote for her if you put a gun to my head.
posted by Malor at 11:15 AM on May 7, 2006


Anybody got any evidence of this "white-knuckle rage at Hillary" from Gore? I mean, other than kablam's pronouncement?
posted by dglynn at 11:20 AM on May 7, 2006


McCain has whored himself recently and seems fit to do just that sort of thing. But then, that's politics for most. HC is clever, perhaps a bit duplicitous--but many who dislike her simply don't weant a bright pro as president. Oddly, for the democracy we boast about, we have yet to have a woman whereas so many "lesser" nations have no qualms about making a woman their leader. If HC and JM have anger problems they still become of more interest that the clear-cut mediocrity GBush demonstrated from the onset. Give me anger anytimg to a total waste product.
posted by Postroad at 11:26 AM on May 7, 2006



If Markos thinks the next presidential election will be decided by the progressive base, or, more absurdly, the "netroots", then he's really frickin' stupid.


I think he's saying that the Play-It-Safe democrats cannot win. The democratic candidate needs to offer vision, leadership, and principle. The party establishment (Hillary, Pelosi, Read) offer none of this. And he's thinking (wishfully, I admit) that the "netroots" can shape the nomination race as much as the party establishment.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:35 AM on May 7, 2006


ha, ha, ha.

Here's my political analysis...



Why Hilary can't win. by seanyboy. Aged 8 1/2
She's a woman. As in, hmmm, not ... a ... man.

For all their posturing, the democrats are so scared by the mythology of the religious / sexist / gun-toting "average American", that they're never going to do anything but play it safe. The only party that could put forward and win with a female candidate is the republicans.
posted by seanyboy at 12:16 PM on May 7, 2006


This all boils down to Obama 2012!

In order for us to run obama in 2012, a republican needs to win in 2008.

You realize that, right?
posted by delmoi at 12:19 PM on May 7, 2006


Kos seems to think Hillary Clinton is unelectable because she's not enough of a true progressive and too much the politician. I don't think he gets it. Yes, yes, those aren't assets for her, but anyone who sees those as her biggest liabilities is at least half-blind to the world of politics outside their own ideology. Her biggest liability is that the character assasination job the right-wing "media" started on her and her husband back in the early 90s stuck more thoroughly to her than it did to Bill.

Sure, given the choice between her and, say, someone like Jeb, I'd guess a good gob of anybody left of Lieberman would give her their vote anyway, except for those interested in making a "statement" by voting for a futile third-party candidate (and hey, only so much snark in there -- I did it too with Nader in 2000, and I understand why people do it, even though I wish I hadn't now). But even a number of my more thoughtful, swing-vote-prone friends genuinely think Hillary is the devil. She'll instantly alienate a lot of otherwise sensible people, and she will energize the Republicans. The fact that she won't energize the more liberal liberals is only a secondary problem.

Personally, I think the DLC found a sweet spot in American political consciousness and it's one of the reasons Bill Clinton was so formidable. Naturally this made the character assasination from the right necessary, but the dems have learned a lot of the wrong lessons from that, and only a few of the right ones.

Dean lost, but the point was made. No longer would D.C. insiders impose their candidates on us without our input; those of us in the netroots could demand a say in our political fortunes.

What? Hardly the point. Yeah, Dean had cojones and said forceful and even unpredictable things, but it's not like he was a n00b, and it's not like he even really came that close, not to mention the fact the guy who actually got the nomination was Kerry.
posted by namespan at 12:24 PM on May 7, 2006


Oh god, I hope 2008 doesn't come down to the censor-videogames Democrat against the Falwell-commencing Republican.

Despite what Byron York says, that is not all McCain has done to appease the raving loonies of his party. He's been very evasive when it comes to teaching ID in schools -- I like to think in an effort to avoid infuriating his wild-eyed masters, but honestly, it gives me the shivvers to hear a candidate speaking carefully in order to attract the support of such deeply disturbed individuals. It's like looking at Jack Nicholson at the end of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest....
posted by JHarris at 12:26 PM on May 7, 2006




So the problem with Hilary Clinton is Bill Clinton? Wow. I would have thought it was her charisma deficit and her reliance on bashing soft-target social bogeymen like rap music and videogames instead of, say, actually delivering on health care issues.


That certainly is a PROBLEM with Hilary Clinton. But I don't think glaring problems directly correspond to reasons why someone can't win.
posted by Bizurke at 12:26 PM on May 7, 2006


Oh, and geeze:

This all boils down to Obama 2012!

Obama is cool and all that, but he ain't the second coming. He's a freshman Senator that ran against an opponent who was half-insane.

Also, I think it's been discussed here, but one of the reasons why coming from the Senate to the presidency is a problem is that the legislative process requires too many compromises.

Well sweet! Now that we've got that out of the way, we can get ont to finding a democrat who can win. Warner, for example.

Warner would be a good bet. Pair him with Clark's smart military-man for extra policy muscle and tough looks. That could win.

Which is why I don't expect to see that nomination. My guess is that the democrats are still gonna need to wander in the wilderness for another decade or so before they get it. But I'd be happy to be proven wrong.
posted by namespan at 12:33 PM on May 7, 2006


Warner would be a good bet. Pair him with Clark's smart military-man for extra policy muscle and tough looks. That could win.

And more to the point, they could govern well. They've done it, something that's hard to see in some other candidates. They smell practical and they've got real experience managing things like a state and an army under their belts, not just legislating.
posted by namespan at 12:37 PM on May 7, 2006


McCain has whored himself recently and seems fit to do just that sort of thing.

I think that was the point of Steven Colbert's joke about him at the WH corrispondants dinner. "John McCain, that guy is a maverick, someone found out what fork he used to eat his salad, because I bet it wasn't a salad fork. It could have been a spoon"

The point was, he's not really a maverick, other then with surface issues.

Unfortunately, "surface issues" are the only ones that matter to the republican base.

Still, I'd rather have John McCain as president then Hillary, unless he really starts pandering to the base.
posted by delmoi at 1:00 PM on May 7, 2006


Markos "Kos" Kos Kos Whateverthehell Kos seems quite blind to what's happening in the world outside Daily Kos. Any time someone starts making up stupid words like "netroots", you know they're retreating into their own little world where they're all-important.
posted by reklaw at 1:04 PM on May 7, 2006


Personally, I think the DLC found a sweet spot in American political consciousness and it's one of the reasons Bill Clinton was so formidable. Naturally this made the character assasination from the right necessary, but the dems have learned a lot of the wrong lessons from that, and only a few of the right ones.

Here's what I think. The American people don't give a shit about the issues, and want to vote for someone they like. That is why Clinton did so well. The people want to be lead not followed. They want someone who is competent, sane, and likeable. It's obvious bush fails in the 'competent' part, and that's why he's doing so poorly these days.

They also want someone who seems tough; you know a leader type (but that goes under 'likeable' in my rubric)

As long as you're not so far outside of the main stream that you seem crazy, you can be elected. Howard dean (who policy-wise was actually rather moderate) cracked under pressure and seemed crazy, or at least crazy enough that his political enemies could spin it that way.

The problem with Kerry was that he was a follower, rather the sticking to his guns and trying to convince the American people his way was the right way, he tried to find the middle ground and in the process looked like a tool.

Anyway, note to democratic primary voters: The American people deserve to be able to vote for someone who opposed the war in Iraq. If you guys nominate someone who voted for the war I'm staying home (or voting 3rd party, more likely)
posted by delmoi at 1:14 PM on May 7, 2006


Markos "Kos" Kos Kos Whateverthehell Kos seems quite blind to what's happening in the world outside Daily Kos. Any time someone starts making up stupid words like "netroots", you know they're retreating into their own little world where they're all-important.

Um, care to fill us in on what you think actually is happening in the outside world?
posted by delmoi at 1:15 PM on May 7, 2006


Warner/Clark I could dig. Also Warner/Richardson would be good. Either of those would have good governance and demographic appeal.

But my dream is Gore for President. Pick Warner or Richardson for Veep and you've got the White House for 16 more years. Clark as SecDef. Biden as SecState.

Oh and Feingold? The next SCOTUS appointment.
posted by darkstar at 1:19 PM on May 7, 2006


Um, care to fill us in on what you think actually is happening in the outside world?

1. The vast majority of voters aren't caring about stupid crap on the intarweb.
2. There is no 2.
posted by reklaw at 1:20 PM on May 7, 2006


"Netroots." And I thought it was nauseating the first time I saw "blogosphere" in print.

On a Hillary presidency, I think Josh Micah Marshall really nails it:
But given that we're now two President Bushes and counting, it makes it all the more important for Democrats to be clear on the principle at issue. A (Hillary) Clinton v. (Jeb) Bush grudge match in 2008 would be a sign of all sorts of sclerotic tendencies in American politics.
posted by rafter at 1:22 PM on May 7, 2006


Warner would be a good bet. Pair him with Clark's smart military-man for extra policy muscle and tough looks. That could win.

Are you talking about Richard Clark or Wesley Clark? Because "tough" is hardly what I think of when I see Wes Clark (I mean his name is Wesley, come on)
posted by delmoi at 1:22 PM on May 7, 2006


Here's a daring idea: Barack Obama for 2008.
posted by ed at 1:25 PM on May 7, 2006


But my dream is Gore for President.

I know I just dismissed the power of the interweb, but let's make this Spike Jonze documentary (Google Video) a meme. It was like falling in love all over again.

Could have won him the 2000 election. Completely tears apart the media spin against him.
posted by rafter at 1:25 PM on May 7, 2006


Do we really want to spend 2009-2012 listening to the wingnut Right shout "Hitlery!" over and over and over again? How about an Indiana bipartisan ticket: Bayh/Lugar. Go Indiana!
posted by moonbiter at 1:29 PM on May 7, 2006


The McCain article doesn't seem very "why John can't win" to me. It does point out the hurdles he's got to overcome, but I don't see it as pessimistic in tone.

Whether that's a good thing or not is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by weston at 1:30 PM on May 7, 2006


Here's what I think. The American people don't give a shit about the issues, and want to vote for someone they like. That is why Clinton did so well. The people want to be lead not followed. They want someone who is competent, sane, and likeable.

Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana, recently was quoted as saying something like this in the Salt Lake Tribune around the end of February:
The problem with the national Democratic party, Schweitzer added, is that it always chooses the smartest kid in class.
"In fifth grade, we didn't choose the smartest kid or the most handsome kid. We chose the most likeable. The Republicans have figured that out. We need good ideas and present them in a way that people will believe. We haven't done that."
I want to believe we're beyond fifth grade, so I've wrestled with this a bit, but maybe the "competent" part is enough to offset the "likeable."

In any case, I'd be surprised if Senator Clinton didn't fail the "likeable" test.
posted by weston at 1:40 PM on May 7, 2006


Here's why they're both wrong.

Whoever manages to schmooze enough important media types to say good things about them and bad things about the other will win. That will be whoever has the most money and the most to offer.

Money and media will make the drones do whatever Clinton or McCain want them to do. It just depends who has more of both on their side.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:07 PM on May 7, 2006


I know I just dismissed the power of the interweb, but let's make this Spike Jonze documentary (Google Video) a meme. It was like falling in love all over again.

I'd never seen that before. It's like looking into an alternate universe. After seeing that video and the "Why We Fight" BBC documentary, I can't help but think we made an awful, awful wrong turn.
posted by quite unimportant at 2:28 PM on May 7, 2006


Kos continues to add absolutely nothing to the discourse. That felt very amateur the whole way through. Though, yes, Hilary can't win.

None of the "Why John can't win"article seemed to say that he can't. If he can pick up the nomination, I'm pretty sure he'd have a very good shot at the presidency, especially vs Hilary.

The moment anyone talks about Hilary having a chance, I laugh, because I have met a great many Americans, and they will not vote for her. This is why the Dems lose elections, because they don't know who they're trying to get votes from anymore. Step one in any marketing campaign, and step two or three in any business plan, is know your target.

Not that it matters too much, between oil prices, social security, education, trade deficits, and current account deficits...
posted by blacklite at 2:33 PM on May 7, 2006


@blacklite

I'm sorry but I don't see how you add to the discourse by claiming that "I have met a great many Americans, and they will not vote for her". These kind of ancedotal statements are a dime a dozen. I don't necessarily disagree, but at least show me a poll or a hypothesis backed up with evidence.

Otherwise it's just the pot calling the kettle black.
posted by jhscott at 2:37 PM on May 7, 2006



If Markos thinks the next presidential election will be decided by the progressive base, or, more absurdly, the "netroots", then he's really frickin' stupid.


If you think that Markos is writing as a disinterested analyst whose number one goal is accuracy, you must be really frickin' stupid. He's basically sending a message out to Clinton and others "we will fight you if you don't court us", where "us" is the "netroots" that he has successfully positioned himself as a representative of.
posted by robla at 2:46 PM on May 7, 2006


The American people don't give a shit about the issues, and want to vote for someone they like.

I am of the opinion that this isn't quite as stupid as it seems. People liked Clinton, and by and large he did a decent job. The thing about electing a president is that you often have absolutely no idea what major issues he or she will face. There are of course, long lasting issues like health care reform, but a lot of issues aren't really seen until the candidate is already in office. Therefore, you can't really chose a candidate based on exactly what their positions are. You must also consider whether you trust them to adequately handle unknown future issues. Take Bush. In Bush's first election there was no way to forecast his poor performance with regards to hurricane Katrina, because it hadn't happened yet. But based on his obvious weak character, it should have been pretty easy to see that he would handle such a crisis badly. Obviously you should be influenced by a candidate's views, but you should not fail to consider the candidate's personality, because it will determine how he or she handles the issues yet to come.
posted by unreason at 2:48 PM on May 7, 2006


jhscott, a poll would indeed help, and yes, it's anecdotal, but that's the honest informal survey I get back from people when I talk politics:

(a) The right: thinks Hillary is scheming, coniving, two-faced, immoral, crooked. Like, almost to a person. You even hear complaints that she doesn't support family values because she wouldn't divorce her husband.

(b) The center, or people who don't really identify themselves as political: at least half of them think where's there's smoke, there must be fire. That is, every bad thing ever said about her may not be true, but there's got to be something underlying that mess. Plus, she's just not that likeable.

(c) The left: many of whom think she's a republican-lite sellout-insider. Plus, she's just not that likeable.

If your informal survey is different, I'm happy to hear about it. If we've got polling data, I'm happy to hear about it. But goodness, if you want change in this country, don't just nominate Hillary Clinton just because we don't have polling evidence saying people wouldn't vote for her.
posted by namespan at 2:57 PM on May 7, 2006


The American people don't give a shit about the issues, and want to vote for someone they like. That is why Clinton did so well.

It's not the only reason, though. His economic positions moved in on territory that was familiar republican main-street and business turf, at a time when Bush 41 had broken his most famous campaign promise. This probably provided him some support that might have conventionally gone republican. Combine that with his charisma, and it's easy to see how he rode out one of the most concerted efforts at character assasination I've ever seen (hell, despite the fact he deserved some of it).

Are you talking about Richard Clark or Wesley Clark? Because "tough" is hardly what I think of when I see Wes Clark (I mean his name is Wesley, come on)

Richard Clark could be cool -- hey, somebody who was actually thinking about the War on Terror *before* Sep 11th, and who didn't thinking about Iraq first thing after the towers went down.

But yeah, I was talking about "Wesley." I hear things went better in the Balkan states than they have in the Middle East, and I hear he was involved in that.

The American people deserve to be able to vote for someone who opposed the war in Iraq.

Well, if you accept the idea the votes were counted correctly, apparently the American people actually deserve insular, crooked leaders who are bent on bankrupting their futures on various faith-based ventures.

But they *need*, first and foremost, someone who can actually manage our actions regarding the conflict we're now committed to in a competent and moral manner -- not someone who can stand up and say "I told you so," no matter how satisfying that might be.
posted by namespan at 3:02 PM on May 7, 2006


The American people don't give a shit about the issues, and want to vote for someone they like.

Issues are fine, and not having a stand on any issues whatsoever really harmed Kerry, but what really buried him was he just wasn't likebale. And though plenty of people seem to think she's a good candidate because other groups of people MIGHT like her, people who admit to actually liking her themselves are pretty thin on the ground.
posted by Artw at 3:27 PM on May 7, 2006


robla has it. This column is mostly about Kos self-promotion.

It is remarkable that the US does not seem capable of finding a leader who can cleanly oppose a war that only one third of the population support.
posted by sien at 3:47 PM on May 7, 2006


I'm sorry but I don't see how you add to the discourse by claiming that "I have met a great many Americans, and they will not vote for her". These kind of ancedotal statements are a dime a dozen. I don't necessarily disagree, but at least show me a poll or a hypothesis backed up with evidence.

For polling evidence: The Rasmussen Hillary Meter. Currently at 26% definitely would vote for Hillary as President, and 39% definitely would vote against her. Also, a CNN/Opinion Research poll this weekend put Sen. Clinton's unfavorable rating at 42%.

A lot of Americans just don't like Hillary Clinton, and will not vote for her to be President. I have to agree with delmoi that a candidate has to be (or at least seem) competent, sane, and likeable. Bill Clinton had all three, but Hillary is severely lacking in likeability.

Yes, in a better world, Feingold would get the nod. (Too early for Obama — let him finish out one term, at least, save him for 2012 or 2016. He's still young, he can wait.) In this world, I think Biden is more likely, and strategically just a better choice than Clinton. As long as he only uses his genuine smile, and not that sarcastic fake smile of his, he could be a winner.
posted by skoosh at 3:49 PM on May 7, 2006


I know I just dismissed the power of the interweb, but let's make this Spike Jonze documentary (Google Video) a meme. It was like falling in love all over again.

I watched part of it, looked like a boring home movie, and gore came across just as stilted as normal "Bzzt bzzt Hello mother I am a robot."

Plus gore ran in 2000 and lost (or came close enough to losing the vote to, you know, lose the election).

If gore hadn't been such a lame candidate, we wouldn't have to deal with bush for the last eight years. So screw him.
posted by delmoi at 3:52 PM on May 7, 2006


Seems pretty obvious to me (as a non-American) that there's no bloody way in hell a woman will be elected president in the USA. Certainly not this decade and probably not ever. Should one become elected, she'd be shot dead inside a year.
posted by dobbs at 3:58 PM on May 7, 2006




The problem with the national Democratic party, Schweitzer added, is that it always chooses the smartest kid in class.

Eh? Schweitzer may be my favorite politician, but this doesn't seem like an accurate assessment of any Democratic nominee since Adlai Stevenson.

The problem with the modern Democratic party when it loses presidential elections is that it chooses candidates with the best elitist-insider credentials, rather than recognizing that electability is largely a function of geography. You know what states are going blue; pick a candidate from a state that otherwise wouldn't. Better than that, pick two.

Not coincidentally, prominent Democrats in otherwise conservative-trending states tend to be most effective at communicating with people on both sides of the political divide.

However, I don't want to see any further emulation of Bill Clinton. He held the White House by moving the Democrats economically towards the center (i.e. towards ther right). Once the party ceased to hold itself out as a beacon of the economic interests of the working people of America, they were thrown into the arms of the GOP--which at least promised to uphold the 'moral' interests many of them shared. The Democrats need to recover the ground they lost due to Bill's 'triangulation.' They need to get people to believe that they're willing to fight for working Americans.

As for the topic of this thread: McCain wins in 2008 against all comers unless the religious right sabotages his nomination. To prevent them from doing this, he will most likely have to pander them, which will cost him some votes from independents and people who liked his maverick pose. Hillary is unelectable at a national level and, as much as I like Warner, I don't think his being out of office for several years will go over well with the electorate. Has there ever been a successful presidential nominee, other than a military officer, who was not an officeholder around the time when he was elected?

Pick two Dems from red or purple states and roll the dice, but short of McCain keeling over from a heart attack between now and November 2008, I'd say that he's probably the next president.
posted by Makoto at 4:12 PM on May 7, 2006


Biden would be strategically cool but he has that really creepy sarcastic smile. I hope we could handle that, as a country, but I don't know. Any Clark? He's never been elected to anything. I'm starting to worry, frankly.
posted by DenOfSizer at 4:12 PM on May 7, 2006


Seems pretty obvious to me (as a non-American) that there's no bloody way in hell a woman will be elected president in the USA.

I'm sure I don't have to remind you the indignities suffered by women in Pakistan, but they elected a woman president (who had to cover her face), and so have other Moslem democracies.

Anyway, she ended up being extremely corrupt, but the point is sexist societies can and do elect women leaders.

Barbara Boxer could probably be elected prez, as could Condi if she wasn't a high-ranking figure in the worst administration in recent memory...
posted by delmoi at 4:14 PM on May 7, 2006


One more thing: Wes Clark doesn't look like a general. He looks like a prissy actor from a dinner theater company. Not saying that he can't be elected, but 'I'm tough and decisive!' is not saleable coming from him.
posted by Makoto at 4:15 PM on May 7, 2006


My hope against rationality as a Dem? Feingold. Principle, smarts, decency, "presidential" looking, solid midwestern likability. His Judaism, multiple divorces, and very same principles preclude him from ever being a serious shot at the nomination.

My reasonable hope, along the lines of what Moulitsas is getting at re: the insider Dems realizing they need to get on board with the pre-Clinton liberal base? Maybe Gore, but I'd be more excited for some combination of Richardson, Edwards, or Bayh. Forget Biden--he's smart, but won't play well in the South or Midwest. Great Secretary of State maybe.

My fear? Hillary, for purely strategic reasons. I think she'd make a reasonable president, but I don't think she's electable and if she was, the Republicans in Congress would work non-stop to roadblock anything she put forward.

And I wouldn't call McCain a shoe-in. The Republican nomination is going to be bloody, with Frist and Brownback and Santorum laying into McCain and Giuliani as godless advocates of homosexual marriage and baby killing. Literally. For every vote from the right-wing base he picks up to combat this, he might lose two or three from the Republican wing of the Republican party (fiscal conservatives, foreign policy realists) and Reagan Democrats (who wouldn't vote for Gore or Kerry in 2000 or 2004 against Bush, but according to polling would do so in a heartbeat today).

The only thing I'm certain of 2008? Easily the ugliest presidential election in American history. And a growing sense that gaining part of Congress in 2006 and actually losing the White House again might be a good thing for the Dems--with Iraq and the debt, four more years of a Republican meat shield at the helm might set the Dems up for a total, long-term sweep of everything in 2012.
posted by bardic at 4:44 PM on May 7, 2006


with Iraq and the debt, four more years of a Republican meat shield at the helm might set the Dems up for a total, long-term sweep of everything in 2012.

What's left of everything, anyway, after six more years of Republican leadership.

/repeats to self: at least it wouldn't be Bush.
posted by namespan at 5:01 PM on May 7, 2006


>but let's make this Spike Jonze documentary (Google Video) a meme. It was like falling in love all over again.
hold on... Al Gore's home videos? Like falling in love all over again? I'm missing something...
posted by baklavabaklava at 5:14 PM on May 7, 2006


Has there ever been a successful presidential nominee, other than a military officer, who was not an officeholder around the time when he was elected?

Yes. Nixon and Reagan are two that got elected. If winning the nomination and losing the presidency count as "successful", you can also count Mondale, Adlai Stevenson, and John W. Davis. There are probably others.
posted by robla at 5:25 PM on May 7, 2006


I fully agree with bardic's analysis, this next election is going to make all previous elections look like teatime for prissypants. If a "moderate" ends up winning the Republican nomination, I suspect Giuliani has a better chance than McCain. Giuliani, being from New York, can be forgiven for being a little bit left, whereas I think the Republican base thinks McCain is a closet liberal. Trumping both of them, though, is Mitt Romney, who is scoring major points fighting gay marraige in Massachusetts.

Don't underestimate the Republicans' ability to self-destruct, though. It was only 1996 when they nominated Bob Dole, and made sure to strip away any of his electable characteristics in the process of running him.
posted by robla at 5:44 PM on May 7, 2006


Anyone can win. Just depends on who's running against them.
posted by HTuttle at 6:12 PM on May 7, 2006


Delmoi has it! Now, if we can just run it past our handlers, managers, stylists and publicists, then we'll have a candidate!
posted by fungible at 6:52 PM on May 7, 2006


Clinton as the democratic candidate means at least 4 more years of Republican presidency. The Republicans could run the zombie corpse of Reagan, and even with maggots spilling down his shirtfront and the bloody arm of a dead baby sticking out of his mouth, he'd win.

But given that we're now two President Bushes and counting, it makes it all the more important for Democrats to be clear on the principle at issue. A (Hillary) Clinton v. (Jeb) Bush grudge match in 2008 would be a sign of all sorts of sclerotic tendencies in American politics.

This bears repeating. Although 'sclerotic' is a much softer adjective than I might have chosen.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:58 PM on May 7, 2006


jhscott: I'm sorry but I don't see how you add to the discourse by claiming that [...]

I wasn't really trying to add to the political discourse, it's just a comment on the posted link. If I wrote an article for the Washington Post, it would be different.

That being said, as I catch up on the thread, skoosh did the job for me here anyway. Thanks. :)
posted by blacklite at 7:06 PM on May 7, 2006


If winning the nomination and losing the presidency count as "successful"

I was thinking only of those who were elected to the presidency, but Nixon and Reagan do qualify. Of course, they had both previously sought--and in Nixon's case, won--the nomination before their successful runs for the presidency, and both were well-known throughout the nation. Warner will be starting from nowhere with everyone other than Virginians and party-watchers, and any accomplishments or policy initiatives he could point to will be four-plus years in the past.

Ideally, he should have entered the race for George Allen's Senate seat in 2006, which polls show he would have picked up rather easily.

I suspect Giuliani has a better chance than McCain. Giuliani, being from New York, can be forgiven for being a little bit left, whereas I think the Republican base thinks McCain is a closet liberal.

The Republican nomination isn't won without the support of the Christian right, and the Christian right is not going to give the nod to a pro-choice adulterer.

Mitt Romney, who is scoring major points fighting gay marraige in Massachusetts.

Or a Mormon, who most on the Christian right don't even regard as Christians at all.
posted by Makoto at 7:08 PM on May 7, 2006


Wow. There's a lot on this thread that I agree with and disagree with, but to sum it up, I'd have to say that for the Dems to win, they need to pick an outsider and not name them until the very last minute.

Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Edwards - we don't need them next time around.
posted by rougy at 8:02 PM on May 7, 2006


I think the Republican base thinks McCain is a closet liberal

If only!

I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt.

posted by Kwantsar at 8:17 PM on May 7, 2006


Unreason said:

People liked Clinton, and by and large he did a decent job. The thing about electing a president is that you often have absolutely no idea what major issues he or she will face. There are of course, long lasting issues like health care reform, but a lot of issues aren't really seen until the candidate is already in office. Therefore, you can't really chose a candidate based on exactly what their positions are. You must also consider whether you trust them to adequately handle unknown future issues.

This is very, very true. And opinions may differ on how well Bush has done - not that I want to start a firestorm or anything here, but a whole lot of what we're seeing worldwide wasn't ignited by Bush, or even exacerbated by his Presidency, but more motivated by a whole lot of people out there in power who have their own agendas - and when you get everything together you end up with something that makes a Tom Clancy novel's intertwining plot lines look positively linear. Clinton was elected in Chapter 2, maybe Chapter 3, and presided until Chapter 11. Now we're at chapter 17, some (most likely nowhere near all, BTW) of the shit has indeed hit the fan, and we've got at least half if not more of the book to go.

Clinton was the right man for his time - nothing much visible going on, and he pretty much kept out of the way and didn't screw around with stuff much. But that's not a viable pardigm for all presidencies... in fact it would have been a recipe for disaster for most of the 20th Century. And now things are even more interesting - a potential President has to be able to lead, has to be able to be trusted by a majority of the people (note I'm not saying 'agreed with' here - it's entirely possible to disagree with someone and still trust them) and has to have clearly defined policies that the people can easily see are preferable to the other party's. And there's one more thing they need, at least in my estimation.

In a lot of cases, when you're looking at who to vote for, you've got to examine their record and decide if, when the shit hits the fan, they'll do what's best for the country or what's best for their affiliated party. (The two things may NOT be the same in all cases.) It's an odd quality which I can't really quantify but think of as 'statesmanship' - the ability, if need be, to tell the party that got you into office - "Fuck off - there's a problem, it needs to be solved, and although I'm going to get reamed for it at the next election I'm going to do what I think is right for the country, not just for the party."

I don't think Hillary has that. She's too concerned with the next election - she'll take whatever position will keep her elected. Most politicians are - after getting elected, their first priority is to STAY elected. That's a mindset that's near fatal in the Presidency.

I'm hoping the Democratic party can find someone who can be a statesman. I'm afraid they're going to punt, and try Hillary or Pelosi.

On preview - Roughy, you got it right. Clinton, Kerry, Gore - they need to sit back and not draw attention to themselves. That's the best thing they could do right now.
posted by JB71 at 8:27 PM on May 7, 2006


paradigm. Damn. But that's not a viable paradigm for all presidencies...

Why can't I see shit like that before I hit 'post comment'? Aargh...
posted by JB71 at 8:29 PM on May 7, 2006


JB71 -

"I don't think Hillary has that. She's too concerned with the next election - she'll take whatever position will keep her elected."

Sadly, I couldn't agree more.

I agree that Feingold would be the best choice.

Sad that it probably won't happen.
posted by rougy at 8:30 PM on May 7, 2006


McCain's Inner Struggle
posted by homunculus at 9:39 PM on May 7, 2006


Clinton was elected in Chapter 2, maybe Chapter 3, and presided until Chapter 11.

Then the prologue must have been very, very long.
posted by Artw at 9:50 PM on May 7, 2006


So, then we agree, kablam was attempting to meme when he was yapping about Gore's hatred of Hillary?

There are no links to back that up, correct?

Me? Run Durbin. Bald, white, midwest, smart, and called torture torture before it was popular.

He can walk into Georgia and tell them that he has come to bring the sons they've sent home, and send them to get Osama, and they would believe him. He's that good.

He'd also mean it, which would actually be good for the rest of us.
posted by dglynn at 10:21 PM on May 7, 2006


I'm not surprised that Pakistan has elected a woman as president and we haven't yet. Goes to show that as far as repressed sexism goes, a country founded by Puritans and still touts all that "founding Fathers" bullshit (because don't you know that everyone who founded this country was MALE - the pilgrims must have been very advanced in stem cell research...) trumps over one where the dominant religion requires women keep covered.

Unless that woman was Condoleeza Rice.

Or Oprah.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:42 PM on May 7, 2006



posted by stenseng at 11:03 PM on May 7, 2006


There's talk about Rice getting "drafted," but I don't see it happening. I think we'll see a black or female president before we'll see a bachelorette/bachelor. That would really bother many Americans more than anything I think, which is IMO an even weirder sort of bigotry.
posted by bardic at 11:09 PM on May 7, 2006


How bout an Atheist?
posted by Artw at 11:14 PM on May 7, 2006


Umm.. I hate to tell you this bardic, but umm...
posted by drpynchon at 11:15 PM on May 7, 2006


I'm staying out of the 2008 election guessing game until the 2006 midterms are complete. Until then, there's too much uncertainty. Can Hilary or McCain win? Hell if I know, but for now they are certainly the front runners. A lot can happen in two and a half years...
posted by jefbla at 12:00 AM on May 8, 2006


Buchanan is the exception that proves the rule.

An atheist? Well, someone who calls himself or herself that, never.

Nixon though. . . .
posted by bardic at 12:14 AM on May 8, 2006


Nixon was a Quaker.

Yeah, I know, surprise.
posted by dglynn at 1:34 AM on May 8, 2006


Gore/Clinton 08


not advocating it, just noticed this article
posted by sic at 3:14 AM on May 8, 2006


Hillary has so many skeletons in the closet from her days in the corrupt power elite of Arkansas politics, we will be fondly recalling the days of the Whitewater investigation if she's elected. In fact, I'm pretty sure her fellow Dems will drag it all up during the primaries and save the Reps a lot of time on digging up mud to sling.

I don't like her eagerness to enact censorship to protect "the family" ie her attempt to appeal to the religious mainstream. She's too much in line with Joe "I'd like to repeal the 1st amendment" Lieberman for my taste.

Please, somebody, nominate a decent candidate this time around.
posted by acetonic at 3:28 AM on May 8, 2006


Artw -

The last book started with WW2 and ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall. We're into the sequel. (grin)
posted by JB71 at 5:33 AM on May 8, 2006


Draft Oprah!
posted by CunningLinguist at 5:54 AM on May 8, 2006


A yes vote on the Iraq War Resolution will doom both Hillary and John. Just as it doomed the "I was for it before I was against it" John.
posted by surplus at 9:12 AM on May 8, 2006


"Oddly, for the democracy we boast about, we have yet to have a woman whereas so many "lesser" nations have no qualms about making a woman their leader."

uh, can you name any benchmark of social liberty, or social progressiveness in which the United States has been a leader in the last 50 years?

crime? nope
healthcare? nope
position of minorities? nope
position of women? nope
equal education? nope
separation of church & state? you once led the way, now you lag behind
working hours? nope
division of wealth? nope. You'll soon be back to feudal levels of disparity
democracy? nope. In South America born-poor people are getting elected in droves. Not likely to happen in America.

Get real: the United States is a defacto plutocracy, not a functioning democracy.
posted by lastobelus at 9:50 AM on May 8, 2006


Has there ever been a successful presidential nominee, other than a military officer, who was not an officeholder around the time when he was elected?

Yes. Nixon and Reagan are two that got elected. If winning the nomination and losing the presidency count as "successful", you can also count Mondale, Adlai Stevenson, and John W. Davis. There are probably others.


Carter, too. He was out of the GA governorship for nearly two years before the '76 Presidential election. An extremely dark "dark horse" when he started campaigining.
posted by darkstar at 1:16 PM on May 8, 2006


lastobelus: Yep. Freedom of Speech.

The US has its good points too.
posted by sien at 4:14 AM on May 9, 2006


Perhaps in the first half of the stated period of 50 years the U.S. was a leader in freedom of speech.

Benchmark events in the U.S. re. freedom of speech in recent years are all about exceptions & exemptions to it: Patent protection trumps freedom of speech. Intellectual property rights trump freedom of speech. Computer security trumps freedom of speech. The war on terror trumps freedom of speech.
posted by lastobelus at 4:41 AM on May 9, 2006


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