Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Center Wins

Analyzing Hillary
by Charlie Leck

I've received several more responses about the few blogs I've written lately about the three very acceptable Democratic Party candidates for President. These responses were from people who appear to be Democrats or who want to vote with the Democrats in 2008. There continues to be the nagging feeling that Senator Clinton would be a successful President but not a successful candidate. My regular reaction is to view that concept as Republican Party propaganda. It is extraordinary that the GOP is succeeding in making people think this is true.

Consider the two propositions here. (1) Senator Clinton would be successful as a President. (2) Senator Clinton cannot get elected.

Both of the above are very possible; however, if more than a majority of the voters truly believe she can be a successful President, and wish to vote for her, that is going to show up in the national opinion polls. Once the polls were to show that Senator Clinton has a 7 or 8 point lead over her Republican opponent, the feeling of confidence that she can win will spread among those who wish to vote for her.

I am convinced that the "Hillary can't win!" theme is driven by the Republican Party. They do not want to run against her. They would much prefer to run against Senator Obama or Senator Edwards. Why?

(1) Hillary has the money! (2) Hillary has a vast volunteer army! (3) Hillary has the muscle, in terms of a blue ribbon, experienced campaign organization! (4) Hillary has Bill Clinton.

"Let me be perfectly clear," as a former President used to say before he'd tell one of his whopping lies, I am not saying that Senator Obama or Senator Edwards cannot win. They can, too. My point is that I think it would be a shame if supporters drifted away from Senator Clinton just because they begin to believe this ludicrous Republican propaganda.

Let me expand on my comment about the influence of Bill Clinton in this election. Dozens of the best political minds in the country, from both parties, call Bill Clinton one of the best political strategists of the last century. I agree with them. A couple of years ago I carefully read the former President's autobiography, My Life. As a matter of fact, I read it through twice – quickly once and for pure pleasure and then a second time in a plodding, studious fashion. Clinton adored President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. He was a young man when each of them was murdered and he grieved enormously. He modeled his political style after them and he learned his political philosophy from studying them. The keystone of his political strategy became that which the Kennedys also adopted: "The center wins!" That doesn't necessarily mean that the winning candidate has to be the most centrist. It means that he, or she, has to appear to be closest to the middle.

If you understand and accept that Senator Clinton, under advice and guidance from her husband, is following that same strategy, then you can understand some of her recent positions on issues. Other candidates are charging that she is too supportive of the President. They claim she wants to go too slowly on the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. She has modified her approach to universal health care. She is not in attack mode.

Senator Clinton is seeking the center ground. Bill Clinton's belief is that the candidate who appears closest to the center ground wins! Forgive me for repeating myself there, but it is a crucial point to understand about the current campaign among the Democratic candidates for President.

I think we will see this Clinton strategy right through the Democratic Convention. Should she win the nomination, she'll continue the procedure throughout the remainder of the year against the Republican nominee.

Here's the one way Senator Clinton could lose. Her organization is huge and is basking in money. It may become unwieldy. The head may not realize what the tail is doing. We are seeing some of that in the current issues concerning questionable financial contributions. Just how are financial contributions being accounted for? The tail may know and the head may not. That is a dangerous situation that needs to be both managed and monitored carefully. The Senator does not need to engage in corrupt campaign financing practices. She knows that! So does the head of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean. So does her campaign manager, Terry McAuliffe. There may be workers who don't care that they don't need to do it. Their excitement comes from doing it anyway!

I continue to look at all three candidates carefully. I want the one who has the biggest chance of winning in November of 2008 to get the nomination. Stay tuned.

Do not buy into the Republican propaganda about Senator Clinton's inability to win! Hillary Clinton can win!

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