Monday, May 07, 2007


The Rubicon That Must Be Crossed by the "Anyone But Hillary" Crowd --
There exists on the left a certain sentiment of "Anyone But Hillary." In this era of party unity, it isn't talked about much, but it is obvious from the Daily Kos straw poll that she is not an exciting candidate for a good segment of the Democratic Party.

Recently, Markos Moulitos wrote in the Washington Post:


In person, Clinton is one of the warmest politicians I've ever met, but her advisers have stripped what personality she has, hiding it from the public. Some of that may be a product of her team's legendary paranoia, somewhat understandable given the knives out for her. But what remains is a heartless, passionless machine, surrounded by the very people who ground down the activist base in the 1990s and have continued to hold the party's grassroots in utter contempt. The operation is rudderless, without any sign of significant leadership. And to top it off, a sizable number of Democrats don't think she could win a general election, anyway.


Take this in conjunction with the comments of blueflorida highlighted by Chris Bowers:


This has been described before many times but to put it in the simplest (Brooks-ian)terms: there are the children of 1972, the children of 1992, and the children of 2000. The children of '72 transformed the country culturally but were inept at the nuts-and-bolts of electoral politics and were oblivious of a conservative counter-revolution happening in less-urban parts of the country. They have been stuck in the attic by the children of 1992 for about 20 years, but were let out (with conditions) by the children of 2000.

The children of 1992 have nothing but contempt for the children of 1972, holding them responsible for the catastrophic presidential defeats of '68, '72, '80, '84, and '88. They currently dominate the party leadership and they hold as articles of faith the perception that modern America is basically a center-right nation that only votes for Dems if Dems confine their progressive message to pocketbook topics and embrace a basically conservative posture on crime and national security issues.


We've spent more than six years lambasting George W. Bush for not only being an incompentent, but surrounding himself with incompetents. Even if you take the Atrios line of liking Hillary but hating the people she surrounds herself with, you're left with a potential administration filled with retreads and apologists for Bill Clinton's presidency.

Earlier, Chris Bowers wrote back in February:


Hillary Clinton is extremely popular among the Democratic rank and file. The only way to defeat her is to have someone who is a more preferable choice, not someone who is merely an acceptable alternative. Democrats overwhelmingly like Clinton, and as such are only going to turn to other candidates they like even more, not other candidates they dislike less.


Bowers concludes that Obama and Edwards must build each other up, rather than tear each other down, but he misses the boat. Obama and Edwards must tear Hillary Clinton down to have a chance. And the first to fire a strong salvo at Hillary Clinton will have a chance to dominate political news converage.

And here in front of us is the Rubicon. Once crossed, there is no turning back. Its crossing can be delayed, but it has to be crossed inevitably if one seeks the prize. At some point in time, the "Anyone But Hillary" crowd must go on offensive, even if their chosen candidate or candidates do not. And in doing so, they should strongly consider throwing overboard the triangulating legacy of Bill Clinton and the "generation of '92". The Clinton years were not a great time for the Democratic Party and their mediocrity seems favorable only when placed next to the stunningly flawed Bush administration we have now. But (barring a spectacular and fortuitous collapse) no one is going to overtake Hillary Clinton without taking her down.
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