Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Can Hillary Win? (I'm afraid so.)

There's been a lot of talk about the signals Hillary's been sending that she's almost certainly planning to run for president in 2008. But can she win? Susan Estrich has convinced me that she can. (And I can't believe I'm saying that.)

Today in this column, Estrich makes a compelling case that Hillary could actually win the White House.

The conventional answer to the Hillary argument is that she's too polarizing ever to get elected. But Hillary is not a polarizing figure among Democratic primary and caucus participants. She is the most popular figure in the country in that group, and particularly in a multi-candidate field when you're the only serious woman running, that's a substantial advantage. There will almost certainly be an "Anybody But Hillary" contingent, and it won't be short, and it won't be pretty, but if you're looking for a winner, look to New York.

As for the general election, the fact that John Kerry, who is certainly no more appealing than Hillary, almost won, proves that it can be done. Under the direction of the best campaign manager in American history, the Hillary Clinton campaign will make none of these mistakes. Strategically, it will be brilliant. Tactically, it will be flawless.

I know, . . . I know . . . It's a scary thought. At one time I would have welcomed Hillary's candidacy if only because I didn't think she'd have a chance, and because it would be amusing to watch. But now I'm not so sure.

But there's still another candidate the Democrats might choose. (Pleasepleasepleaseplease.)

Addendum: Of course, the question of whether Hillary can win depends mainly on who the Republicans put forth in 2008. But Hillary will get that 15 percentage points from the media alone.


At 10:48 PM, Blogger Mark Sides said...

One little problem with her analysis. John Kerry did not almost win. It was not a landslide, but it also was not particularly close in the end. Kerry was also not a polarizing figure in the way that Hillary will be. So that's problem number two with her argument. Problem number three is that Susan Estrich has not been right about anything since approximately 1998, so who really cares?

At 10:54 PM, Blogger Drew said...

I believe you, Mark. Help my unbelief!

At 2:22 PM, Blogger Daddypundit said...

While I think Hillary would have no trouble winning the Democratic nomination, I have serious doubts as to whether she could win the Presidency. John Kerry did well this fall in part because of the mainstream media that was willing to do anything to get him elected. But as the influence of big media starts to wane it becomes increasingly difficult for a candidate to control information. Blogs are going to play an important part in future elections and there will be plenty of bloggers out there watching Hillary's every move and holding her accountable for everything she says and does.


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