April 23, 2006

Hillary Clinton vs. Al Gore

There is a theory floated by some Democrats like Rep. Rahm Emmanuel (head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) that Hillary Clinton can win the Presidency if she carries the Kerry blue states (250 electoral votes) and then only picks up one other state like Ohio (22 votes) or Florida (27 votes). You need to win 270 electoral votes to win the Presidency.

The flaw in this thinking is that Hillary could carry the Kerry blue states. In the same way that many Democrats were cooled off by a McGovern candidacy in 1972, many Democrats would also turn away from a Hillary candidacy (or sit on their hands), especially if the Republicans run an apparent moderate like McCain.

Worse, Hillary could not possibly rise above the din of invective, distortions, partial truths, and uproar that would accompany her everywhere she would go. The onslaught against her would make the entire Bill Clinton Presidency look like a tip toe through the tulips. Her personality, her abrasive style, her husband, her feminism, her record -- all would work against her in a country that is, at heart, worried about security, which is naturally conservative (small "c") and not given to revolutionary political decisions. And let's face it, her very femaleness would not be an asset for the majority of voters especially in what is perceived as a time of war. It would be very unlikely for American male and female voters to elect a non-military serving woman to the Presidency under these circumstances. It just is not going to happen.

It simply is not time for a female Democratic President like Hillary Clinton, no matter how much liberals and progressives may think it is, or how much Rep. Rahm Emmanuel wants it to be. Condoleeza Rice would stand a much better chance as a female Presidential candidate for the Republicans, but I don't think even that will happen.

If, through some wierd set of circumstances, it became a Condi vs. Hillary race, I think Condi would win, given the perception of her eight years of service on the battlefront in the war on terror. That is how significant I believe Hillary's feminism and lack of military service would adversely affect her campaign. The American people, by 2008, may believe, in even more significant numbers than now, that the Iraq War was a mistake, but they will also still believe we need to be strong in the face of terror and other real threats. Hillary will not make them feel safe.

There simply is no one as powerful as Al Gore to run as the Democratic candidate in 2008. He has all the experience of serving as a United States Senator, of serving as the Vice President, and of already having run once for the Presidency and, thereby, learning from his mistakes. Although he should not personally exploit it, the increasing view that he had the Presidency taken away from him by a biased Supreme Court in what is now widely believed to be a questionable Presidential election in 2000, would also work in his favor. Many Americans could easily look back on the last eight years and imagine much better things for America than George Bush has given us.

Gore has stayed on message about the environment, he has been consistently opposed to the Iraq war and has offered concrete approaches to resolving American involvement there, and he has raised the esteem in which he is held throughout the world, a Presidential characteristic even many Republicans realize is needed for America in the years ahead. Hillary has had a muddled, lukewarm pro-Bush Iraq position that convinces no one. She tries so hard to straddle some issues (like flag-burning), it is obvious to everyone and is reminiscent of the Kerry waffling.

Gore would bring to a campaign beautifully aged and ripened political positions and voice. There is no Democrat who would be as formidable. Just on the one issue of global warming, which the American people are beginning to see with their own eyes and feel with their own skins, he would be utterly unbeatable. Over the next two years, the increase in tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters will amplify this realization. Gore can talk about these coming crises like no other candidate could.

Here is what Al Gore has said, in an interview after giving a speech at an economic forum in Sweden, about how his Presidency would have been different from the Bush years:

We would not have invaded a country that didn't attack us... We would not have taken money from the working families and given it to the most wealthy families....We would not be trying to control and intimidate the news media... We would not be routinely torturing people.

In this interview, he does shy away from any Presidential aspiration, but he also does not rule it out.

Hillary Clinton, as the Democratic Party Presidential candidate, would be a monumental mistake.


Kvatch said...

Though I certainly don't want to see Clinton run, neither do I want to see Gore run. The Clinton era is done, and both are too tied to that era for another run at the Presidency. We need to move on. Unfotunately, for my own part, I only seem to be able to identify whom I don't want to run and am having trouble identifying whom I do wznt to run.

Dicky Neely said...

I too think Hillary would be pilloried!
I don't have faith Gore could win.
Who to carry the banner?
I like Barak Obama but that would take a momentous shift in public awareness to happen!

Howling Latina said...

Hillary is a sellout.

And yes, I think Gore would be an excellent choice.

In any event, whoever wins the nomination should be a person with international experience and who unequivocally opposed invading Iraq.

That leaves Gore, Clark or Feingold.

Personally, I think Gore is the better choice. History would be on his side.

I believe that each time a candidate lost by a very narrow margin, he came back to eventually win the presidency. At least that's the way it happened with Nixon.

Mimi said...

Stephen, I think your analysis is perfectly on the mark. It is IMPOSSIBLE for Clinton to win and, at this point, Gore is the only person with anything close to the stature needed. The sorry-ass Democratic party had just better rally 'round and get crackin' or we're going to slide even further into the Republican abyss...
(I found it interesting that in your entry you referred several times to the women mentioned by their first names, but never wrote "Al" for the man. I'm not carping, just making an observation. Surely this was unconcious, but maybe it subtly supports your major points.)

Josh said...

Having spent the better part of my life living in Virginia and seeing his star rise, I think that Mark Warner, Virginia's former governor, is one of the best, albeit more obscure, choices. A Democrat from a southern state whose fiscal conservatism reversed Virginia's sorry state of affairs, I believe Warner's name will become increasingly prominent as we move closer to the election.

scout said...

"Hillary's.... lack of military service would adversely affect her campaign."

Didn't stop Bush and Cheney now, did it? tgrgkszs

senipah said...

"Hillary's.... lack of military service would adversely affect her campaign."

That's what advisors are for. And she'd probably actually listen and take their counsel!

J.D. Ryan said...

I think although it's different baggage, Gore has a lot of baggage, almost as much as Hillary. The press would have a field day on him again, and unfortunately, in this country, style oftem matters more than substance. Gore is never going to be able to connect with the Joe-sixpack vote he needs - he uses too many big words. I know, it's pathetic that someone's intelligence would count against him, but this country unfortunately has a nasty and quite prevalent anti-intellectual streak.

I really do respect Al Gore. But in some ways I feel about him the same way I feel about Kerry - if you can't beat the worst, dumbest president in the history of our nation by a significant margin, something's really wrong, and you aren't going to get my vote again.

I do feel a bit of despair about the next election. It's the Mondale factor.. I'm really tired of mediocre Dem candidates who I don't even find remotely exciting. And, God, I hope Hillary loses in the primary. She is unelectable.

DecemberFlower said...

I 100% agree with you, Stephen.