Today the Blogosphere is buzzing with the news that people are advising Hillary Clinton not to run for President. Some discuss her future as the Democrat’s Senate Leader. I have written earlier about some of this here and here. Why is she considering this? There are several theories:

  • She is too divisive. Her candidacy would energize the right like almost no one else. Note that this is a question about her electability. The Times of London article recasts this a little as a positive:

    “I would not be surprised if she were to decide that the best contribution she can make to her country is to forget about being president and become a consensus-maker in the Senate,” said a leading Democratic party insider. “She believes there is no trust between the two political sides and that we can’t function as a democracy without it.”

  • She misunderstood where the Democrats would be on the war. This has opened a gaping wound on her left flank. The Washington Times has an excellent story on the subject:
  • “She has to move to the left on the war,” said John Zogby, president of an international polling firm. She “risks losing a chunk” of the liberal vote if she doesn’t.”

    “The anti-war crowd is going to have no choice than to bang on her record — to go after her,” said Republican strategist Scott Reed. “They’ve all been emboldened by this Lamont exercise.”

    When asked Friday about the war, Mrs. Clinton said, “I’ve been a constant and consistent critic. I’ve also tried to work within the fact that this president has made decisions and a series of strategic blunders. … I have a situation that I’m trying to figure out how we’re going to deal with.”

    Leaning against a pickup truck on display at the fair, the anti-war Mr. Tasini said, “People are furious about the war. It’s the precise reason she doesn’t want to debate me. She’s obfuscating where she stands on the war.”

  • Finally, Democrats don’t really seem to like her after all. (and the schedule has been given, in essence, to John Edwards)

It is interest to note that there are 3 or 4 other high name ID candidates in this race right now: John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, and John Edwards (who has to be considered the Democrat’s frontrunner now). A brief comparison of the GOP candidates with Hillary:

  • Newt Gingrich. He has the same electability problem. It is unclear how much the base actually likes him because familiarity with him has faded over time. And enough people have forgotten some of his apostasies and he has been able to flip on those issues (like immigration).
  • Rudy Giuliani. Clearly no electability problem. In the current set of candidates, the base seems to like him. But it is clear that the base has not been fully informed about his positions, especially with regard to red meat issues like abortion, gay rights, and gun control. Will he be able to build enough of a relationship with the base before they find out about these apostasies? Or will he be able to change the subject in a way that they approve of, that this can be overcome? (this is the “security more important than moral issues” theory)
  • John McCain. Clearly no electability problem either. The base seems to be somewhat torn by him. And in many ways they are misinformed by him. In his case, the question will be whether he can overcome perceptions of him. In some ways, the time for McCain to stop embracing the President and start criticizing him from the right may be approaching, but he can’t do it until after the election. He has the advantage that the press will cover anything that he says.

Related Posts

European Parliament

The timing of TTIP

I wrote a piece on the current politics of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the EU-US trade deal, with a colleague of mine from Hill+Knowlton’s Belgium office. It is mostly just a review. Read more…

Career

I joined Hill+Knowlton Strategies

POLITICO Influence reports on my new job: ALSO FIRST IN PI… Hill+Knowlton Strategies added Soren Dayton, an experienced digital communications and public affairs strategist, as a senior vice president. Dayton comes from Prism Public Affairs Read more…

India

On net neutrality

The net neutrality debate has picked up in India based on “zero-rating” or the idea that a service could be provided where the user didn’t pay for the data. I have long wondered how organizations Read more…