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January 17, 2006

Hillary not a shoo-in?!

I have always assumed the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008 was Hillary's for the asking, assuming she decided to run. But The Economist's Lexington column makes some excellent points regarding Clinton's political vulnerabilities:

. . .Her strategy was based on the assumption that she had the left under her thumb: that she had enough capital as both a feminist icon and a victim of the vast right-wing conspiracy to move to the centre with impunity. Two things have upset that plan.

The first is the furore over the war in Iraq. Many Democratic activists regard the war as such an abomination-an act of aggression justified by lies and driven by greed-that they cannot have any truck with someone who supports it, even a liberal martyr. The second is the rise of the so-called “netroots”. Mrs Clinton may have the traditional feminist and labour groups in her pocket, but the internet is devolving power from client groups to local activists. The internet left is in open revolt against the Washington establishment, and it looks back on the Clinton presidency not as a triumph that should be repeated but as an error that should be avoided-a time when the party gave in on welfare and public spending and lost control of Congress.

They go on to point out that Hillary will face some formidable primary challengers, most notably centrist former Virginia Governor Mark Warner. While they are not writing off NY's junior Senator, they conclude that her nomination is hardly a foregone conclusion. I urge you to read the whole thing. (If the link above does not work for you, you can read a local copy here.)

A parenthetical aside: why don't we see insightful political analysis like this in US publications? Too intelligent for the mass market? Are all the journos in the tank for Hillary? Is the 2008 Presidential election still beyond the press' collective event horizon?

January 17, 2006 at 08:03 PM | Permalink

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