Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hillary's electability factor

By Libby

Scarecrow at FDL chides the Democrats for bringing up the electability issue and counsels the Democrats to heed the 11th Commandment -- though shalt not repeat GOP talking points. Many bloggers smarter than me, and whose opinions I greatly value, have all suggested that the polarization factor is no greater for Hillary than it will be for any other Democratic candidate. I'm sorry but, I think that's wrong and we ignore Clinton Derangement Syndrome at our own peril. Yes, whoever the candidate is will be attacked mercilessly by the media and the fringers but none of the others have their own 15 year old derangement syndrome pre-packaged and ready to roll out.

Is Hillary electable? The answer is a qualified yes. I think she could overcome CDS and take the Oval office but not with a strong plurality. It would be a squeaker at best because like it or not, she is the one candidate that will energize the fringers into turning out to vote against her and she is not universally liked or trusted even within the Democratic party.

We need a candidate in 08 who has some small chance of universal appeal on all sides of the fence. At the very least we need a candidate that will appeal to independents and won't piss off the fringers enough to mobilize them to leave their couch to teach that b*itch a lesson. Although it's an epidemic there, CDS is not just a malady in the south. I see it in Massachusetts. I see it Michigan. I see it here in my tiny progressive enclave in middle North Carolina. And even when it doesn't rise to derangement, I see distrust of her among progressives.

Triangulation is not leadership, it's opportunism. It's not appealing to lot of progressives and it won't win over the average Jake who is looking for a leader. I'm predicting that if Hillary is the candidate we're going to see a fracturing of the electorate in 08 that will explode the conventional wisdom into smithereens. I think people on the left are so fed up with the status quo that there will be a lot of protest votes if gets the nod.

It's also useful to remember that we haven't solved the veracity in voting problems with touchscreen machines and GOP sympathizers still control that machinery. A close vote will leave too much room for manipulation and we might find ourselves with the same bitter taste in our mouths as we did in 04. But even if she wins, it would bring four more years of bitter polarization between Americans. A narrow victory will not heal what's ailing this country. We need to come together as Americans, rather than partisans, to repair the damage of the Bush years.

Hillary may be well qualified to lead, but she's simply not going to able to unite the country. If progressives are going to demand that our politicians put their own interests aside for the common good, can we in good conscience avoid making that same choice simply to advance our own agendas, whatever they might be? I know I can't and frankly I don't understand the vehemence in protecting Clinton. She's the establishment candidate. Aren't we supposed to be fighting the establishment in order to change the system and make it more responsive to the people?

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