Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Hillary Can Win the Presidency

That's not me talking, that's Carl Cannon, the son of Reagan biographer Lou Cannon, who begins his argument by pointing out that people thought Reagan couldn't win, too. Regardless of your view of Clinton, Cannon certainly makes a convincing case that she can win the primary, but he doesn't convince me on the general election. Here's his pitch (and notice the kicker):

The fact is, there are a thousand movable parts in a presidential campaign, but the two most indispensable are (1) a candidate with charisma, money, and a broad following in his or her party; and (2) a ticket that espouses values and policies that Middle Americans agree with. A candidate, the polls now suggest, like Hillary Clinton.

Or John McCain.

Leaving aside McCain for the minute, is Hillary's primary victory set in stone? Cannon seems to think so:
Of course, the question is not whether she can win the primary. Most Democrats concede the primary is probably hers for the taking. "I don't know how you beat her for the Democratic nomination," former Sen. Bob Kerrey told New York magazine. "She's a rock star." But that, as the cognoscenti see it, is the problem. She can't lose the primary, and she can't win the general election. And so they look vainly for an alternative - Warner? Biden? Bayh? Oh my! - always circling back to the same despairing fear of another four years in the political wilderness. Democrats have raised this kind of defeatism to a high art. But it's time for Democrats to snap out of it and take a fresh look at the hand they've been dealt. Hillary Rodham Clinton can win the general election no matter who the Republicans throw at her. The Democrats just might be holding aces.
That's rather overstating it, I think (though Cannon is right about the defeatism of the Democrats - it's apparent in almost every arena). Hillary is a 'rock star' only among the Democrats...for a huge chunk of the country, she's evil incarnate. You could also say that about Bush...but Bush has won two national elections. Hillary starts from a smaller base; and she can't just hold Democrats, she has to win Independents...

Could Hillary win? In a word, yes...but I still think she won't...

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