Hillary: The Nomination is Hers to Lose

Everyday we hear more and more about Hillary angling for a presidential run in ’08. Monday, I noted here that Jeanine Pirro is poised to run against Hillary in the ’06 Senate race. Personally I think it’s a bit early for Hillary to be pushing for ’08, it appears I’m not alone…

Nearly all Americans have an opinion about Hillary Rodham Clinton, the junior senator from New York, and if she runs for president, as expected, she will begin her quest for the Democratic nomination well ahead of her rivals. On one point, still with 2-1/2 years to go before the first caucuses or primaries, political analysts agree: The nomination is hers to lose.

She could yet lose it, they add. Just as Democratic voters had second thoughts about Howard Dean’s “electability” on the eve of the 2004 Iowa caucuses, so, too, could the earliest primary voters in 2008 get collective cold feet and opt for a safer choice. “There may be a ‘eureka!’ moment early in 2008, when Demo- crats find a more moderate candidate who can actually win in November,” says Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.

Hillary, while having name recognition, comes with a lot of baggage–most pollsters agree with that…

“She’s got name recognition, she has a solid constituency, and she has a targeted women’s constituency,” says John Zogby, an independent pollster based in Utica, N.Y., who has watched Clinton campaign. “As first lady, she started out with being a hero to women working outside the home. During the latter part of the ’90s, during [the Monica Lewinsky scandal] and impeachment, she became a hero to traditional wives. Whether she orchestrated it or not, she got people to admire her.”

Still, her challenge in the general election would be stark: While most nonincumbent candidates start as a bit of a blank slate, Clinton would come out of the gate with high negatives baked into a significant portion of the American psyche during her 14 years in the national eye. The latest Gallup numbers on her, from May, showed that 39 percent of the public viewed her negatively. That same poll found 47 percent of registered voters either “not very likely” or “not at all likely” to vote for her in the 2008 general election.

I’m personally not at all ready to start thinking about ’08 and as much as I would love to see a woman in the White House, I just can’t imagine that some “red state” voters are ready for that prospect, particularly the fundamentalist types that are still stuck with the notion that a woman’s place is in the home. Again I am not alone in my thinking…

As a national candidate, though, Clinton would have to adapt to the more TV-oriented, tarmac-to-tarmac format of general elections. Another challenge: Stumping in the “red” Republican parts of New York isn’t the same as venturing into the red states of the South or Mountain states where Democrats have struggled.

“I kind of doubt she’ll be able to” win over red America, says James Campbell, a political scientist at the University at Buffalo.

We Democrats have a lot of work of work to do if we are to gain ground in ’06. All these projections about ’08 before ’06 has even come to pass are a bit much. Let’s keep our eyes on the ball.

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12 Responses to Hillary: The Nomination is Hers to Lose

  1. blackbird says:

    I would vote Green before that Repug.

  2. Nick says:

    I can’t stand that two faced bitch. She may have grown up in Illinois (as a Goldwater Republican), and yeah she lives in New York, but she’s what folks in the Depression Era South used to call “Grifters.”
    Grifters would go around the country side selling worthless items and money-making schemes to the town folk. Then they ran out of town (on to the next town) before people realized they had squandered their money on lemons (figuratively speaking). T
    The Clintons are grifters no question about it. No they don’t exhibit the racism that existed in the 1930s South (and America). In fact their THE prime examples of equal opportunity grifters:whites and racial minorities, suburban/urban, rural, liberals, moderates, southerners and nonsoutherners, middle class, working class, the poor, all been snookered by the (thankfully) former Grifters-in-Chief.

  3. Nick

    Remember the movie “The Grifters”. Great movie. Apt … very apt.

  4. NativeTexan4Kerry says:

    Well, dont worry. We’ll defeat Hillary in the primaries.

  5. Nick says:

    One thing the article does get right, its hard to see Hillary winning any states that Kerry lost (even the narrow losses like Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, and New Mexico). Frankly, I’m not sure that some of the more (culturally, not necessarily economically) conservative states that Kerry won would vote for her, e.g. New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Is there anybody out there that can make a semi-plausible case for a red state Hillary would win?
    Is there anybody on this blog that lives in a red state that has any kind of knowledge of how Hillary would play in their home state? Hillary would probably win here (in Maryland). On the other hand, given the demographics here, if you can’t win Maryland and your a Democrat, you really have no business running. (Kerry got 57% here, it would’ve been more if turnout had been up like it was in the South).

  6. Ron Chusid says:


    While she isn’t my choice, I wouldn’t write off Hillary off. 2008 will not be 2004. She will have a better chance than Kerry did in 2004 in many states because she won’t be running against an incumbent. Instead the declining popularity of the Republicans could give her more votes than Kerry. Just today someone working in my house saw my almost life-sized cardboard Kerry cutout and said he voted for the other guy, and now thinks he made a mistake. I bet by 2008 there will be lots of people who want to vote for the other party (and I also bet that an increasing number of people won’t admit they voted for Bush).

    Hillary has an uphill battle, but she is working towards picking up votes from those who aren’t currently supporters. She is working to avoid harm in both areas where Republicans gained support–national security and “moral issues.” This may or may not work, but it is far too soon to count her out.

  7. Noisy Democrat says:

    I agree we can’t count her out. I’m just getting very, very tired of people assuming she already has the nomination. I don’t know anyone who plans to vote for her in the primaries. I also get tired of people assuming that all women will support her. The women I know are able to think more deeply than just looking at gender, and none of them support Hillary.

  8. florida dem says:

    I don’t have any beef with Hillary. I think she has the right to run and should run. If she miraculously got the nom, I would support her. However, I just don’t see rural, blue collar white males, even if they are Dems, voting for her. Look, the Hillary hype is all about a simple formula:
    Anticipation of a good, historic news story + Clinton Nostalgia = High Ratings which translates into big $$$$$ for media outlets. The Clinton name practically guarantees high book sales, tv ratings and a forest of newspapers being sold.

    Also, the GOP machine knows Hillary would not win in a general election matchup that’s why they are primarily behind all the Hillary hype. They are planting the seed that Hillary is “the one” too make Dems think she’s our girl for 08 and to get us all excited so we’re stupid enough to nominate her so they can slaughter her in a general election. We all know, at the very moment she wins the nom the College Repubs signs supporting Hillary would suddenly change to read: “What Did Hillary Know & When” and “What About Vince?” in a flash.

    Will Dems be able to see thru this in the primaries? I hope so. What I’m worried about is that Hill’s people are just as fanatical as the Deaniacs. In fact, they are worse because there are more of them and, collectively, they have more power and influence. If Hillary loses the nom, these folks won’t take it well at all and, it could be like 2004 all over again. The nominee will have to wind up spending way to much time placating the supporters of the supposed favorite.

  9. Nick

    I’m originally from the MA/NH border. I can’t imagine folks from rural NH voting for her. JK was a different story for them. He’s proven himself to be a friend to NH for the past 20 years in the Senate.

  10. Florida Dem

    ““What Did Hillary Know & When”… LOL! I can hear it now, “she was there”.

    I like Hillary actually, but not for president. As a woman I can relate to her on some levels. I have no problem with the moderate side, it’s other issues that bother me. Like her support of WalMart, as Nick mentioned.

    Plain and simple, like I said in this piece, it’s too soon for al the speculation. She should nip it in the bud, but we know she won’t.

  11. Teresa says:

    She won’t run. She’s got big trouble ahead with Pirro, and her chances, which weren’t really there at all, will be nil, after the repubs get through with her now. I’m relieved.

    She’s been criminally investigated already, and this will be a no go for ’08.

  12. just john says:

    blackbird: Please DO vote Green!

    As a registered NYS Green, I’m eagerly looking for somebody to run against Clinton, even if it means running myself. Among other campaign issues: William Jefferson Clinton’s culpability in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children in the 1990s.

    Bill Clinton was Bush version 1.5.