January 3, 2007

"It is clear that Mrs. Clinton is far along in plotting a campaign."

Patrick Healy and Adam Nagourney have the scoop on Hillary's campaign strategy:
Mrs. Clinton told Democrats that she viewed her two strongest potential Democratic opponents as Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and John Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina. They said that she viewed Mr. Obama as her biggest obstacle to the nomination, but that she believed the threat of his candidacy will diminish as voters learn how inexperienced he is in government and foreign affairs.

Without mentioning Mr. Obama by name, Mrs. Clinton and her camp are already asserting that experience will be a key attribute for any successful candidate during difficult times — an argument that her team will no doubt make in a more aggressive way against Mr. Obama if they both jump into the race.
Inexperienced, yes, but presumably he's got people giving him a crash course in government and foreign affairs. I'm picturing, Obama o-boning up. I think he can.

So Hillary's having lots of meetings with potential supporters:
Mrs. Clinton has gone to great lengths to try to keep these meetings private. She and her aides have strongly asked Democrats not to report what has taken place there, from what she says to what she eats and where (she had the lamb at Ruth’s Chris, the Dover sole at the Four Seasons).
Love the parenthetical.
Senator Clinton told one New Hampshire Democrat that if all things were equal, she would prefer to delay the formal start of her campaign until later this year and focus instead on notching accomplishments as a prominent member of the new Democratic majority in the Senate.
"Notching accomplishments." Brilliant. The image -- "notching" -- is to the notches on a gun a cowboy made for killing people, right? Unless it's notches on a bedpost for sexual conquests. Politics is so raw, so brutal. And this time, it's going to be hardcore, in a new way we've never seen.

ADDED: In the comments, people are raising questions about how Hillary Clinton is going to claim she has so much more experience than Obama. He's held elected office longer; she's been in the Senate a tad longer. The only way she can claim significantly more experience is if being the First Lady is supposed to count (or if Bill is running for co-President). That will be an awkward argument. I'll be interested in see how she looks, trying to say that with a presidential face. A 1-term Senator promoting herself on experience and padding her resume with First Lady service? Is this how the first woman will make it to President? If it's a battle of the firsts, shouldn't we lean toward the first black President, if he is the self-made man, rather than the first woman President, if she needs to stand on the shoulders of her husband? Really, how does she come off diminishing him for inexperience?

31 comments:

Michael E. Lopez said...

Am I the only person who finds it odd that Senator Clinton is waxing about political experience? What has she done? Two terms as a Senator and...

What, exactly?

Anonymous said...

Clinton comes across as EXTREMELY political and disingenuous next to Obama and even Edwards. "Notch" really is not a helpful image, haha.

Revenant said...

Without mentioning Mr. Obama by name, Mrs. Clinton and her camp are already asserting that experience will be a key attribute for any successful candidate during difficult times

Interesting tactic, considering that Obama's held elected office longer than Clinton has. I also question the wisdom of Clinton making "experience" the issue when her most likely opponent, John McCain, has spent more years in public office than Clinton, Edwards, and Obama combined. What's she going to do, fall back on her "experience" as Bill's wife? Her brief stint as health czar? Some commercial that'll be -- her party controlled both houses of Congress and she still couldn't get anything done.

kettle said...

"Unless it's notches on a bedpost for sexual conquests. Politics is so raw, so brutal. And this time, it's going to be hardcore, in a new way we've never seen."

Wow! It's no wonder all those priggish and rather uninformed parental controls algorithms tend to take offense!

I've got a more Richard Burton-esque take on the matter though.

hdhouse said...

aside from some scandal and mccain/feingold...what has mccain done? just curious.

flip flop. flip flop. flop flip.

Meade said...

You might be over-thinking the notch thing a bit. I hope so. True, the image of Hillary notching a bedpost with sexual conquests (of whom -- Bill?) would be, as you say, brutally hardcore.

An accomplishment that might help you in the future might be the idiom, " a notch on your belt."

Anonymous said...

Hillary Clinton would do better to forget the "experienced" angle; it will only serve to dredge up her horrible mis-management of the universal healthcare task force she chaired. I love having Brad deLong's cri de couer to link to, yet again:
My two cents' worth--and I think it is the two cents' worth of everybody who worked for the Clinton Administration health care reform effort of 1993-1994--is that Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House for the rest of her life. Heading up health-care reform was the only major administrative job she has ever tried to do. And she was a complete flop at it. She had neither the grasp of policy substance, the managerial skills, nor the political smarts to do the job she was then given. And she wasn't smart enough to realize that she was in over her head and had to get out of the Health Care Czar role quickly.

Jay Cost explored Hillary's stylistic deficiencies a year and a half ago; nothing has changed as far as I can see. She hasn't been a bad senator -- McCain/Feingold are leading that pack -- but she hasn't particularly distinguished herself, either. Obviously she hasn't chaired any committees, because the Dems had no committee chairs during her tenure so far, but she also has conspicuously failed to sponsor (or co-sponsor) any legislation worthy of note.

I'd say Obama comes out the better when comparing experience with Hillary.

Anonymous said...

Oh, spare me. Four years longer is a lifetime in politics. 6 years of intense involvement in the vital issues of the day vs. 2 years of intense involvement in the vital issues of his own life during their terms in the Senate. (And, judging from the previous post, his self-absorption has gone on a lot longer than just two years. How strange to consider that Obama's "Sister Souljah moment" will be with himself.)

Elsewhere, John Stodder can't believe his ears when he hears mention of her 8 years as First Lady as a qualification. Is there any question that, had she been Attorney General for eight years in the Clinton Administration, she would be a very impressive candidate?

I can't believe my eyes when I read people denigrate that position. Who had more influence over the direction and policies of the Clinton Administration: Janet Reno or Hillary Clinton? Al Gore or Hillary Clinton?

There are plenty of reasons to oppose Hillary Clinton, but this objection is unadulterated crap.

downtownlad said...

She's the Senator of New York. That's a hell of a lot more important than being the Senator of some piddly Midwestern State. Illinois??? What the hell is in Illinois except for cows and some second-rate city that I can't remember the name of . . .

downtownlad said...

Scratch that. Hillary's from Illinois. I don't think that line of reasoning will fly.

Anonymous said...

But if Hilary can't run on experience, what's she got to run on? Obama kills her only other rationale for running: Making History.

Is she an exciting, charismatic candidate? No, she's a stiff who makes John Kerry look animated.

Is she a unifying force in a troubled, divisive time for America? As her campaign will quickly remind everyone -- No. She's a gutter fighter, surrounded by gutter fighters, using tactics that only partisan Democrats will love, but will leave conservatives and Republicans fuming, and centrists uneasy.

The main reason she is running for president is her own arrogance. She thinks she's smarter than her husband was, so therefore smarter than anyone. The "oh, do let's elect someone intelligent for a change, shall we?" style of campaigning is something the Dems keep going back to (Kerry, Gore, Dukakis, Hart, McCarthy, Stevenson), without success.

Her husband was a winner because he could relate to people intuitively; and the fact is, he was much smarter than she is, but didn't make a big deal about it.

vnjagvet said...

I don't think the puff piece does much for the Hillary image.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Assume Edwards and Obama are in and Gore stays out. Feingold is out. Warner is out. Bayh is out.

The populist left is out of this nomination campaign: Feingold, Gore. The Midwestern centrists Hillary could distinguish herself from are out: Bayh, Warner.

Vilsack's in, but all he does is spoil Iowa for everyone else and perhaps prevent Hillary from having to run there. Or let Edwards start his momentum there.

Richardson seems in because he thinks he can take Nevada, but let's say Edwards steamrolls him coming out of Iowa and with all his labor support. So Richardson is effectively out, just as Vilsack is effectively out.

There's Dodd and Biden, but Biden probably can't raise the cash or break second place in South Carolina, at which point he's out; Dodd can raise the cash, but nobody likes Dodd. Kerry has the cash, but no one likes him; so Kerry is in, but low in the polls and attracting press because they keep asking "Why don't you drop out, loser?"

You now have a contest between Edwards, Obama, Dodd, Kerry, and Hillary, because they all have the cash to keep rolling and Hillary hasn't dominated the first four contests.

Dodd and Edwards and Kerry are moderate liberals, but Kerry and Edwards have weak positions on the war, so the Iraq issue hurts them even if they keep claiming they're sorry that Bush had them brainwashed. Obama is the only candidate who opposed it since 2002. Hillary is to the right on the war. Hillary will get pounded on Iraq by all these people, and the only person who clearly benefits is Obama.

There is a huge hole in the center to be seized -- the hole that Warner and Bayh left that Vilsack, Biden, and Richardson can't fill; the hole that Kerry and Edwards can't fill because they're populists now; the hole that Dodd won't fill because he's a Connecticut liberal whose only claim to fame is that he can raise cash as Chairman of the Banking committee -- so not only is Dodd an unconvincing centrist, but he's an unconvincing liberal with too much Wall Street money. Who fills that void? The only person to do so is Obama.

Hillary is in a terrible position for the Democratic nomination because she's a hawk and she's a centrist on social issues. The only thing she can tout is experience because she hasn't got anything else.

She should have run in 2004 as Vice President. That was her chance to be President in 2016; it would have flipped some security moms; she would have had a huge role as VP; she miscalculated.

It's not Obama that's peaking; Hillary already did.

You might ask why Warner and Bayh dropped out; why Richardson and Vilsack are still in it; the answer is they could make great Vice Presidents to fill out an otherwise too liberal ticket. But Hillary just isn't liberal enough, so it's probably the case that Bayh and Warner suspect Obama or Edwards will take it, meaning there will be a Southern-Midwestern or Midwestern-Midwestern Democratic ticket. No Californians, no New Yorkers, no bi-coastal elites. Good old regular Americans. That ticket does not make sense with Hillary topping or bottoming it (and nobody wants to hear about Hillary topping or bottoming anything, anyway.)

Hillary's the new Joe Lieberman with more cash, more press, and a vagina. And she is most definitely not -- with her airs of privilege, little miss worker bee princess -- regular folks. She can't do O'Reilly.

I done been to upstate New York and I done been to flyover country. Upstate New York ain't the middle of the nation. It just ain't.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Hmm, I meant Midwestern/Southern when I included Warner. Just noticed that omission.

Anonymous said...

It will all come down to the Chicago machine, whichever one will promise Mayor Dailey that they will get rid of Federal District Attorney Fitzpatric will be a shoo in. Both Clinton and "O'Bama" are students of the machine, Obama actualy being part of it and Clinton having learned by observation-it's not chance that she was a partner in a law firm doing a large amount of business with the State of Arkansas.

The person to watch will be Rham Emmanuel, elected to office thanks to Dailey getting the machine behind him, who strongly worked on Obama's campain and was a former Clinton (Bill) aide. Mr. Emmanuel was also in charge of the Dems. Cong. election stratigy.

Dist. Atty. Fitzpatric has already gotten ex-governor Ryan sentenced to prison for coruption and also a fair number of Mayor Dailey's staff.

It should be anteresting two years.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Whoops, I meant 2012, not 2016. Jesus, I'm making all these errors.

Anonymous said...

Ronin, I'm focusing on how she makes the political argument. If she's going to use "experience" to make a meaningful distinction favoring her over Obama it will be problematic because

1) Her service time as an elected official isn't significantly longer than Obama's;

2) Evoking her years as First Lady cuts many ways for her, most of them bad.

Using your argument, you're saying she had more influence than the AG, a constitutional officer confirmed by the Senate, or than the VP, who is an elected official. These distinctions will mean something to some people. To say the First Lady has some kind of inherent authority and responsibility if she should choose to exercise it smacks of royalty.

But even to your point...the way she exercised power in the WH was problematic. Her power grew in proportion to how how much her husband had embarassed her. Gennifer Flowers = health care czar. Monica Lewinsky = Senate seat.

And finally, if her achievements as First Lady are part of what she brings to the campaign, does this give her opponents license to bring up her roles in Travelgate, the Rose Law Firm billing records, the pardons, the looting of the gifts, and all that garbage? I don't think she wants to go there.

Hilary's presidential campaign strikes me as quite possibly the 2008 version of Ed Muskie 1972 or John Connally 1980. All the money, all the endorsements, all the machinery, but DOA because everyone forgot the candidate still had to convince voters to like them, and couldn't.

Anonymous said...

It's not like she was just knitting sweaters as First Lady. Sure, it's not an elected job, but it's still an important one that offers lots of experiences in itself. She was pretty active even beyond her expected duties, too.

Anonymous said...

John Stodder:

But if Hilary can't run on experience, what's she got to run on?

But she can, John. She can. And she will. If her last name was NOT Clinton, and she was a Cabinet Member with less actual involvement in the operation of the Clinton Administration, Hillary Clinton would be the run-away front-runner for the nomination. Surely, you don't deny that? (Just as, surely, the fact that her last name IS Clinton is her primary problem.)

Is she an exciting, charismatic candidate? No

And Richard Nixon, George McGovern, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson, Al Gore, George Bush (either one), Bob Dole, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Michael Dukakis were? Really?

Is she a unifying force in a troubled, divisive time for America? As her campaign will quickly remind everyone -- No.


Tell me, who do you think is? John "Two Americas" Edwards? John Kerry? Barack Obama? Al Gore? John McCain? Rudy Giuliani? Sam Brownback?

She's a gutter fighter, surrounded by gutter fighters, using tactics that only partisan Democrats will love, but will leave conservatives and Republicans fuming, and centrists uneasy.


Newsflash John: They all are - in both parties. Otherwise, they would not be where they are now. True, some may be better at covering it up (McCain & Giuliani are good examples at the moment). It seems to me that You overlook the truth the others but are highly irritated by hers.

The main reason she is running for president is her own arrogance. She thinks she's smarter than her husband was, so therefore smarter than anyone.

I had no idea that you were either such a proficient mind-reader or a licensed psychiatrist specializing in long-distance evaluations.

Hillary Clinton is not my choice to be the next President of the United States, but she's a hell of a lot more qualified and capable than almost all of the clowns mentioned as running.

jaed said...

What no one is taking into account is that Hillary is hated by the Kossites, who will surely work their hardest against her election.

Therefore, she is fated to win. It is ordained by a power far greater than that of any puny electorate - the Enmity of Kos. It is her - and our - destiny.

hdhouse said...

I've got an idea. Instead of you Neo-cons whistling in the wind and praying that any one of about half a dozen democrats who would beat your best like a rented mule come 2008...

All neo-cons devote a paragraph on which of your moe, curly and larrys you are going to nominate and when you are done, just let us know. i'm just praying you guys are dumb enough to nominate Newt.

Gerry said...

"Really, how does she come off diminishing him for inexperience?"

It depends on how the members of the media, in aggregate, decide to go.

If they decide to go with Obama, she won't be able to, for the reasons you specify, if not for other reasons.

If they decide to go with Clinton, then she will succeed with ease. Every story will be framed to portray him as inexperienced, and will not even mention her inexperience.

Mark Daniels said...

You're right that it's presumptuous for Clinton to denigrate other candidates' experience. I riffed off of your post here with a consideration of presidential history: http://markdaniels.blogspot.com/2007/01/clinton-and-experience.html.

Mark

katiebakes said...

Jackie, I agree. However, I think the hard part for Hillary, as Ann noted in her addition, will be trying to figure out how to highlight her "experience" without undermining herself.

She should be trying to run as Senator Clinton, not First Lady Clinton.

Icepick said...

Just a couple of comments:

First, we don't know if Hillary used the term "notch", or if it was the person(s) who talked to the reporter, or the reporter. (And yes, I realize that no one has made the claim that Hillary DID use the term. I just think it bears keeping that point clear.)

Second, Hillary is unlikely to trash Obama's experience. Someone that works for Hillary (probably in an unofficial capacity) will do it instead, probably in a way that will attract attention to the person making the claim and to Obama, thus leaving the question of Hillary's experience as a separate issue. The perfect person to do this is Bill Clinton in a print interview. He can also vouch for Hillary's experience level, preferably in another forum. (But don't let him on TV, or he'll hog the spotlight.)

hdhouse said...

I think Hillary should quit the Senate and go to some state and run for governor and serve a couple terms. Then she would be qualified for president.

If that doesn't meet the criteria she could re-enroll in college and bumble through. Oh, and she should practice murdering the official language of the US just to show she is plainspoken.

Just a few thoughts.

MadisonMan said...

Mark Daniels, if you're going to advertise your blog on this one, at least have the know-how and decency to make the links clickable. This is 2007. It is easily done.

Mark Daniels said...

MM:
Yeah, I should've done that.

I'd originally intended to simply leave a comment rather than an URL or a link. But, as I began to write, the comment became long and since I've probably left too many long comments at Althouse, I decided to turn the comments into a separate post.

Anyway, sorry.

Mark

Shanna said...

Hillary is in a terrible position for the Democratic nomination because she's a hawk and she's a centrist on social issues. The only thing she can tout is experience because she hasn't got anything else.

She hasn’t even got substantial experience, unless you count her tenure as first lady. She’ll be at 8 years as a Senator, which only looks good in comparison to people like Obama and Edwards.
The hawk and centrist thing will play well in the country if
a) people believe it
b) she can get out of the primaries.

It's not like she was just knitting sweaters as First Lady. Sure, it's not an elected job, but it's still an important one that offers lots of experiences in itself.

Well, there was health care, which was a disaster. I don't remember much else notable that isn't true of other first ladies. The good thing about Hillary is that all the scandals are pretty much out in the open, so no big surprises there.

If her last name was NOT Clinton, and she was a Cabinet Member with less actual involvement in the operation of the Clinton Administration, Hillary Clinton would be the run-away front-runner for the nomination. Surely, you don't deny that?

If she had been secretary of labor or something and was now a one term Senator I highly doubt she’d be considered such a front runner. You can’t separate Hillary Clinton from the name because her whole political status before 2000 is because of her husband and her past as first lady. This is nothing against her, but imo, she's a one term Senator and that's how she should run.

The Democratic field is looking rather weak to me. Hopefully there will be somebody unexpected because I would hate for Edwards, Obama and Clinton to be the only choices.

Anonymous said...

Ronin,

If her last name was NOT Clinton, do you really think she'd be the front-runner?

Sorry to disagree, but I think if her last name was not Clinton, she wouldn't even be a senator -- especially not from a state she never lived in.

Other than Deval Patrick and Rahm Emmanuel, who from the Clinton Administration has established their own political careers? If Leon Panetta wanted to run for governor of California, he could be competitive, just because people have good memories of him. Other than that? I'm racking my brain.

The Clinton Administration served as more of a talent pool for the cable news talk shows and lobbying firms than for future political leadership.

Revenant said...

It's not like she was just knitting sweaters as First Lady.

Of course, if she *had* been, at least she'd have some nice sweaters to point to as an accomplishment. As it is now, her only accomplishment as First Lady was giving right-wing pundits the term "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy" to sarcastically throw around. The few times she was actually given real jobs to do she was an embarassing failure.

Besides, even if she *had* managed to achieve success as a First Lady, touting her role as Bill Clinton's wife also draws attention to the fact that she basically slept her way to power; it is hard to respect a person who owes their success to their spouse. Just ask Kevin Federline.

Ronin,

[re: Hillary's lack of charisma]
And Richard Nixon, George McGovern, Hubert Humphrey, Lyndon Johnson, Al Gore, George Bush (either one), Bob Dole, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Michael Dukakis were?

McGovern, Homphrey, Gore, Dole, Ford, and Dukakis all lost. Carter won because he ran against Ford, Johnson because Kennedy was assassinated and the Republicans nominated a then-fringe politician, Bush Sr. because he ran against Dukakis, and Bush. Jr. because he ran against Dole.

So based on past experiences, Hillary's lack of charisma won't be a problem so long as the Democrats plan on losing. If they plan to win, her only prayer is if the Republicans nominate some zero-charisma nobody -- which, given the field of likely candidates, is extremely unlikely.