Today, Hillary Clinton NY Senator and close friend of Yasser Arafat’s widow announced that she is a candidate for President. Dick Morris says that the success of the Obama and Edwards campaigns in the early going, not only have made her come out “not that way!” earlier than she wanted and will make her move more to the left than she wants. While he still believes she will be a very strong candidate he believes Clinton’s leftward move might hurt her in the end. We can only hope.
Dick Morris and Eileen McGann
Pressured by former North Carolina Senator and Vice-Presidential nominiee John Edwards’ bold foray into her own backyard — when he challenged her silence over the war during a speech at Riverside Church, the shrine of liberalism — and by Sen. Barrack Obama’s formation of an exploratory committee, Hillary has rushed to signal her intention to run for president. She has told friends that she hadn’t seen why she should wait until the fall of the year before the election, as her husband had done, to announce. But she was so panicked by the Edwards and Obama initiatives that she announced her candidacy on a Saturday! That’s the worst news day of the year and the Clintons usually reserve it for announcements concerning their scandals. And the latest Rasmussen Poll shows her plummeting down to 22 percent with Obama at 21 percent and Edwards up to 15 percent. Her campaign staff has been flatfooted, and her reaction to the Edwards’ offensive over the war has been slow. When she should have been in the U.S. protesting Bush’s speech, she was in Iraq posing for photo ops. Edwards is winning the race to the left — the key place to be in the Democratic primary. Hillary’s assertion that she would vote for the troop cap only begs the question of what she would do if Bush, as Commander-in-Chief, sends in the troops anyway. Would she then vote to cut off funds — to make him respect the Congressional intrusion into the powers of the president? She says not, and probably would not do so. So Hillary will be reduced to what are essentially symbolic actions against the war, while Edwards, who is comfortably out of the Senate, can go as far to the left as he needs to go in order to win the primaries. (The latest Fox News poll showed Democrats back a total cut-off of war funding by 59-33). Will the role of Ned Lamont in the upcoming primary be played by Edwards while the role of Lieberman will be shared by Hillary and — depending on how he votes — Obama? We all know how that primary turned out!Bear in mind, however, that Hillary was similarly awkward in the opening months of her New York State race for the Senate in 2000, committing blunder after blunder until she got her act down pat. But the fact is that Hillary has not run in a real election in her life. She was just about unopposed for the Senate last year and drew wet-behind-the-ears former Congressman Rick Lazio as her 2000 opponent rather than the heavyweight Rudy Giuliani. And Hillary has never run in a Democratic primary in her life (unless you count her nominal race in 2006). Her inexperience and the age of her staff is showing. She and they appear at a loss to adjust to the fast moving pace of modern politics. Dick is always saying, as he approaches 60 years of age, that 60 is the new 50. By the same token, 2007 is the new 2008. And Hillary seems not to have grasped this fact. By the time the Iowa caucuses are held, the race for the nomination will be over, just as it was in 2004. Remember how Howard Dean surged out to a lead in September of 2007, months before the first votes were cast, and then lost his lead to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., in December, 2007 amid a barrage of negative publicity? By the time Iowa voted, it merely mirrored the results of the American-media primary, which had already been held the autumn before. Will she win? Probably yes. Still — she has the capacity to draw out a large number of voters who have not previously cast ballots. In 1996, 49 percent of Americans of voting age participated in the presidential contest. In 2000, 51 percent did. In 2004, the percentage was up to 55 percent. Increasing turnout is the central fact of presidential elections these days. Karl Rove’s ability to maximize the turnout of white married couples and single white men was the key to Bush’s victory. The president got 12 million more votes in 2004 than he got in 2000. But Kerry was also able to attract almost 6 million new single women to the polls who did not participate in 2000. They formed a large part of the 9 million extra votes Kerry got that former Vice-President Al Gore did not. Hillary, to a great extent, and Obama to a lesser degree, can impel large numbers of new voters to flock to the polls in the primaries and the election itself, which gives them a huge advantage. But, to win, Hillary better get used to the pace of politics in 2007!