So, after the Carson City forum, I went out to my car and what did I behold? A flyer adorning my windshield ushering in the swiftboating season, targeting none other than Hillary Clinton. Of course, as goes with all hit pieces there is no one responsible, no organization's name attached. This blue sheet of paper with a very dour Hillary Clinton all along the left hand side just appeared out of thin air. (I couldn't get a clear image of it for the web.) The flyer is printed on both sides, with the following on the front. The bold below is about one-tenth of the size as it is on the flyer, with everything else exactly as it appears.
Why Can't She Win?
If John Kerry had won Ohio in 2004 he would have won the presidential election. Unfortunately, he lost. Why? Many pundits blamed the gay ballot initiative, a statewide measure than mobilized conservative voters to turn out in larger numbers than their liberal counterparts. This should give pause to anyone considering voting for Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for the presidency. Consider:
Conservative vs. Liberal Attitudes: Some say that the passion Hillary generates on the left is equal to or greater than the passion she generates on the right. However, after her support of the war (and failure to apologize for supporting it) along with other movements to the right (for instance, introducing legislation in 2005 to make flag burning a crime), her support among the liberal base is waning.
Still not convinced? The why: on Amazon.com are there many more negative books about Hillary than positive ones? are there are (sic) a far greater number of websites devoted to bashing Hillary than supporting her? does right wing talk radio continually bash Hillary, while left wing talk radio has a more mixed response?
Strong Support from Women?: In 2000 when Hillary Clinton ran for senator, Al Gore captured 17% more of the women's vote than Hillary. If her support among women is as soft on the national scene in 2008, the narrow Democratic margins of victory in states like Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin (in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections) will disappear.
Survey Says: One of the lessons of 2004 was that once voters develop a perception about a candidate, it's as immovable as super glue. Once John Kerry became identified in voters' minds as a "flip-flopper," no amount of arguing could change that image, despite the fact that people agreed with Kerry on the issues. For Hillary this could be fatal. Recent survey's show that 42-47% of the country says that under no circumstances would they vote for her (and this is before the right wing smear machine kicks into gear).
The Nadar Factor: Ralph Nadar has indicated that if Hillary Clinton is the nominee, he will probably mount another presidential campaign. This could siphon off 3-4% of the vote that otherwise would have gone to Hillary, thus costing her the election.
In short, if conservatives are motivated to turnout across the country like they did in Ohio in 2004, we risk losing more than the presidency. We also risk losing the Senate, House, and other statewide offices. Let Sen. Clinton stay in New York and use her intellect and skills to help further the Democratic agenda. We can't afford her at the top of the ticket.
Comparing Hillary to John Kerry? Is the Ohio gay initiative dig supposed to mean something special? Also, you can bet Hillary Clinton would have taken Kenneth Blackwell's smug Ohio butt to court for what Republicans pulled in '04. That's one thing you can take to the bank, baby.
And Ralph Nadar? Who wrote this thing, Dick Morris? After voters "develop a perception about a candidate, it's as immovable as super glue?" Super glue? No kidding. I feel so enlightened. The talk is that local Republicans picketed the event. The writing is about their speed.
And it's not too far a stretch to think that all of those Amazon books are out there bashing Hillary because the right is scared crapless of her candidacy. In the last two weeks I've met more Republicans who think she's inevitable than Democrats! Most are just fine with envisioning President Hillary Clinton.
Clinton's biggest problem with the Democratic faithful is her Iraq war stance. But that's not exactly news to anyone. But as far as her support in the liberal base "waning," there's a case to be made, that her biggest support is among conservative Democrats. You know, like Harry Reid.
On the flip side of the flyer you get Richard Cohen's February 13th column, The Explanation Hillary Clinton Owes, printed in full, just in case the political armageddon of losing every office in the country, if Hillary is the Democratic nominee, didn't make the point.
But let's get something straight. The Republicans don't have any candidate that compares with the top five of the Democratic field. John McCain? Rudy? Brownback? Malleable Mitt Romney? Give me a break. McCain is in so much trouble right now because of Iraq that he's flipped yet again and is now attacking his Iraq war alter ego, Mr. Bush! Rudy will wither under scrutiny, especially when the base discovers he supports abortion rights, gay unions and is on his third marriage, not to mention that he was at the microphone on 9/11, but everything else about his leadership is pure myth. Brownback is just too Kansas. Mitt is worrisome, I believe, until you envision the oppo commercials. There is Governor Huckabee, but I just don't see it myself. Still, no one comes close to Edwards, Obama, Richardson, Biden and yes, Hillary Clinton.
But considering it's only February 2007 and this flyer was dropped on every car in the parking lot at the Carson City community center after a forum, one thing is sure. It's official. The swiftboating season has already begun.
Coverage by Taylor Marsh of the Carson City Democratic Forum earlier this week was sponsored by AFSCME.
- Taylor Marsh LIVE! can be heard from 3-4 pm eastern - 12-1 p.m pacific, Mon.-Thurs, with podcasts available.