Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Re-Running With Hillary

During my period of inattention, voters in the near primary states have been paying more attention. And, while Hillary still leads on national polls -- in places where serious attention is finally being paid, She Who Must Be Nominated is having a bit of a stumble.

One reason for this, I humbly posit, is not Hillary trying to beat up on a 5-year old Obama, or planting interrogators, or any of the other stuff and nonsense. But a real reason for her slide may have something to do with her being insufficiently the anti-Bush. A topic we suggested back in March, when NO one was paying attention, and which we respectfully serve up again below the fold.

From March 19, 2007: Some thoughts which have been rattling around in my aged head for several weeks and probably not ready for prime time . . . .

If History is any indication, 2008 should be a banner year for the Democrats on the National level. Granting that History may be as irrelevant to the outcome of Presidential elections as to Baseball's All-Star game, the same History which bodes well for the Democrats might have an asterisk named Hillary.

When public opinion of a sitting President falls to the miserable failure level, one often sees a switch of the political Party in residence at 1600 Pennsylvania. Some examples include when FDR (D) wasted Hoover (R), in the early 30s; twenty years later when Ike (R) spanked Stevenson following Truman's second term (when, as the Dubya gang likes to point out, Truman's job-approval were Bushian low-20s); in the 70s it happened twice, first when Carter (D) took over from Ford/Nixon and then four years later, when Reagan sent Carter to early retirement.

But, looking at the men who occupied the White House on Election Day and the men who replaced them on Inauguration Day suggests that the electorate might have been looking for more than a change of Party.

By '32, Hoover was seen as weak-minded and incompetent, FDR as strong, capable, dependable. Truman was perceived as stubborn and irascible, hard to get along with -- taking over the steel mills, recalling MacArthur. Ike, well, EVERYone Liked Ike. Carter was the nuclear-engineer-smart, calm, trustworthy gentleman from the South, taking over from the decidedly untrustworthy, ungentlemanly, Nixon regime, with his unelected Veep, Ford, viewed as less than smart and perhaps a little untrustworthy himself. And, finally, the in-control, clear-eyed Reagan taking over for a Carter Administration adept at fumbling domestic policy and international relations.

These caricatures of the day suggest that, in response to what is largely perceived as a "failure presidency", the voters may have been looking as much for someone perceived as offering an opposite set of characteristics, as for an opposite party.

There need be little breath spent on arguing that the Bush Administration is widely-perceived as a decidedly failed Presidency. While the ultimate historical judgment might, as it did with Truman, change given time and distance (yeah, right), today Bush struggles to avoid setting new lows in approval and performance.

So, looking to 2008, what are the popular-perceptions about why Bush is such a miserable failure?

Seems too easy, but a list of some of the problems that most would probably say contribute to the failure of this Administration would have to include the Iraq Invasion, Bush's seemingly endless ability to create divisions and generate impassioned detractors, and his, if not dishonesty, then at least the lack of candor, or political posturing, informing all he does or says.

Recognizing that the deck becomes stacked by which elements one lists, but the Hillary Problem, and the problem WITH Hillary, is that she might not be stacking up very well on the electorate's unconscious lists of the "problems with George" -- she might not offer the great unwashed enough of a change in character to lead to a change in Party in the White House. She was a supporter of the war then, and is insufficiently repentant. Is she divisive? If you have to ask, you haven't been paying attention. Is she perceived to lack candor, as being political and calculating? Did you see her in Selma? Does she root for the Mets or the Yankees?

Just looking at it this way, if it is even close to something real, doesn't it help explain Obama's popularity? Hillary may not be enough the un-Bush to give the Democrats what History suggests may be theirs in 2008 as long as they don't screw it up.



9 comments:

Steve said...

Couldn't agree more. The nation is desperate for a democratic candidate to make a stand. This is the only reason an unelectable candidate like Dennis Kucinich is still the race.

We know he wont be president but at least he seems to passionately believe what he's saying.

Gort said...

If the Democratic nominee is anyone but Hillary it won't even be close.

OT, what happened to the rest of your stuff? Or is it just my browser.

A Big Fat Slob said...

Hey Gort, I hope it is your browser, let me know if you are still having problems.

As to your comment, I think you mean that if it is anyone but Hillary the Dems will roll over any Repug candidate. And I tend to agree.

But, if you mean otherwise, elaborate, please.

Happy Holidays, pal.

A Big Fat Slob said...

Steve, I knew Dennis back in the day when he was working hard to destroy Cleveland by being too ideological and inflexible. He alienated even those who would have been his natural cohorts. Voinivich, who succeeded Dennis as Mayor deserves a great deal of credit for the revival of that city.

That said, I very much appreciate Dennis' role in this primary -- he is helping to keep the field faithful to traditional Democratic principles and showing up Hillary for the "liberal right winger" that she is.

Unfortunately, although most main street Democrats probably are closer to Dennis on more of the issues than they are to any else running (including your BFS), he still has the wiff of an inflexible ideologe about him, which is turning people off. We are coming off two terms of ideological inflexibility, and it has left a bad aftertaste in everyone's mouths.

Thanks for stopping by and participating.

Gort said...

I'm using IE6 and all that is visible is your last 2 posts.

And yeah I meant the Dems will win big if the nominee is anybody but HRC.

Wren said...

I agree too, Slob. But honestly, I want to like Hillary. I liked Bill, and I liked her when she was First Lady. I liked how she broke out of the "mold" and made her role mean something. It was good to witness. I cheered her all the way.

But I don't like her now, in spite of myself. As a woman, I'd love to see a woman elected president. It's time America caught up with the rest of the world in that regard. A female president could engender subtle changes in the way America does business with the world, in its diplomatic relations, and in many other areas.

But dang, Hillary isn't the woman for the job. She showed bad judgment in her support for the war in Iraq, which she refuses to come clean about. That alone bothers me more than I can articulate, since anyone with half a brain knew from the start it was a baaaaad idea. And since declaring her candidacy, she has struck me only as another slimy pol who talks and talks without saying anything substantive. I end up growling when I listen to her. And, although it's probably irrational, I'm truly against supporting any more nepotistic presidencies.

If Clinton wins the nomination, I'll vote for her because, well, I'm sure not going to vote for a Republican. But I'll be holding my nose, and I'll be disgruntled. And with Hillary as the candidate, I'll be far less sure of a Democratic win, which we desperately need.

Hope you're minding your heart and mending, Slob.

A Big Fat Slob said...

Agree with all you say, Blue. As per.

And thanks for your kind words. It is a long, woeful tale of deception and betrayal. But, the big learned lesson is, as bad as what was practiced on me was, the worst harm was done by the years of self-deception. It led me to the precipice of the altar. I am grateful for the lifting of the veil, but it doesn't make the loss any less real.

It has been a month today since things began to become known to me. I am so much better now than then, but still have some recuperation to do.

My children will be joining me for the holidays and that will be balm. Friends, near, and far, as you, have been most helpful as well.

Being anonymous here to all but four or five trusted souls (and, alas, one no longer trusted), has permitted some relief as well.

Peace.

A Big Fat Slob said...

Gort,

I loaded the page with IE and had the same problem. Also, with IE, most of my links were not working. I have no idea what the problem is and if anyone has a suggestion, I'm open to it.

Maybe I need to get away from Blogger. Perhaps in the new year that can be a project.

Fearguth said...

You've been tagged. http://bildungblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/sean-hannity-and-rudy-giuliani-cheap.html

Seasons greetings!