Saturday, July 07, 2007


Are all Republicans pundits slime? No really, are they? It’s contrary to my philosophy to even think of that question, let alone to ask it. I’m all about unifying this society, and to hurl an insult like that hardly seems like the best way to find common ground.

But seriously, are they? I ask that not because they’re always wrong. I agree with them on the importance of border security, the need for mandatory moments of silence in school, the notion that handouts aren’t the best way to lift up the inner city poor, the incredible value of spirituality for those who avail themselves of it, the notion that fighting al Qaeda should be one of our nation’s highest priorities, the view that Bill Clinton wasn’t simply a victim of a witch hunt but brought a lot of his problems on himself …

But seriously, are they?

I could point to a lot of things about the GOP that drive me crazy, like causing insane wars to go on indefinitely, fighting the principle of progressive taxation, or ignoring the environment. It’s not surprising those stances upset me because those issues are all profoundly important. What’s notable is that every now and then, the GOP pundits pull something silly that really gets on my nerves. And when I say the pundits plural, I mean all of them, in lockstep, as if there’s something in the water Republicans drink that causes one mouthpiece after another to say the same petty, but annoying thing over and over again. Just recently, another example cropped up.

I’m referring to the joint “decision” among America’s conservative spokespeople to anoint Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for President. For months now, these talking heads and columnists have spoken as if the Democratic primary season was history. It hasn’t been “if we run against Hillary,” it has been “when we run against Hillary.” Even though Obama has been kicking her tuchus in fundraising, and even though Gore has most Democrats salivating at the prospects of his candidacy (which could conceivably begin in earnest once the Nobel Prize committee announces the winners in October), the GOP mouthpieces speak as if Hillary’s running unopposed.

Surely, you’re probably wondering why I even care, and yet I do. In fact, I find it fascinating. Why are they doing it? Or more to the point, why are they all doing it? Do they really believe she’s so inevitable, or are they just trying to increase her chances by talking up her inevitability? I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but this time, I have my suspicions. Clearly, Hillary has some pretty formidable primary opponents, especially if Gore enters the fray. If the GOP faithful truly thinks she is inevitable, perhaps it is because they had an Ahab like obsession with the woman, much as they seemed obsessed with her husband for eight years.

Perhaps. But I doubt it. Being obsessed with Uma Thurman? That I can understand. Being obsessed with Hillary Clinton? I don’t think so. Michael Moore might think she’s sexy (ah, thanks for that image, bud – it’s even less appealing than the one you gave us of Wolfowitz), yet I’d guess even Mr. Moore wouldn’t deem her obsession-worthy.

More likely, we’re watching the fruits of one of those infamous GOP power breakfasts. I have no firsthand knowledge that such breakfasts’ exist, but google “Grover Norquist weekly breakfasts” and you’ll see all sorts of references to them. Allegedly, the GOP muckety mucks get together at these weekly events and pick up their “marching orders.” One of those orders, I suspect, was to talk up the chances of Hillary Clinton until the point where she gets the nomination. Then … and only then … will the GOP machine turn on her, and I mean swifter than the fleetest swift boat. This is just speculation on my part, but is it really so far fetched?

You can certainly understand why the GOP would want to face Hillary in November of ’08. Just look at the polls. We haven’t even seen negative campaigning begin in earnest, and still roughly half of the people polled say they would not vote for her. Few Republicans would consider supporting her. Many Independents can’t stand her. But what might be most tell-tale is the number of ABHers.

What, you might ask, is an ABHer? The letters stand for “Anybody but Hillary,” but these words don’t apply to as many people as you might think. Sure, there are Democrats – and I know plenty of them – who really don’t want Hillary to be President and would prefer any other Democrat in the race to her … but they’d reluctantly vote for her if she were to get the nomination. That’s not an ABHer. To be one, you’d have to be a Democrat who is committed not to vote for her in the general election. That doesn’t mean you’d vote Republican; it just means you wouldn’t vote for her.

There can’t be many ABOs (Anybody but Obama), nor ABEs (Anybody but Edwards). Lord knows that with all the publicity about the evils of global warming, there aren’t too many ABGs. And none of this is lost on the GOP leadership. Moreover, they have to know how weak their own candidates are and how much weaker they’re likely to be after eight or nine more months of pandering to the hard right. It’s getting to the point where Mitt Romney’s dog is soon going to strap Mitt to the roof of his car, and not vice verse.

If under these circumstances the GOP is going to keep the White House – assuming they want to – they’ll need to depend on Hillary … and the ABH’s. There are more of us around than you might think.

Go ahead, my fellow Democrats, question our sanity. But if any of you still don’t know about the dangers of electing a leader who is seriously integrity-challenged, more monarchic than democratic, and who refuses for reasons known only to Mephistopheles to admit a mistake, perhaps you’re the ones who need help.

As an ABHer, I have to say that I’d love to vote Democratic in ’08, and the prospect that I might not do so has nothing to do with hatred for Hillary, who I think has been a reasonably good Senator. I simply don’t think the White House is a good fit for her – and that is an understatement. But even stronger than my distaste for her candidacy is my dislike for the idea of one political party trying to manipulate who’s nominated by the other. Personally, I’ve always shown the GOP the respect of listening to what their candidates have to say and hoping that the best one wins – not scheming about how to screw up the process so that the least appealing candidate can get the nomination.

I don't ever recall a previous situation where the GOP pundits went out of their way to proclaim a winner of the Democratic race before it was decided. Let's face it -- if my conspiracy theory is correct, it simply attests to the GOP's desperation. All that I can hope is that Democrats and Independents, whenever they encounter conservative voices in the papers, over the Internet, on the radio, or on TV, will remember that they may be listening to spin, not honest analysis. The GOP has one chance in this race and one chance only -- her name is Hillary Clinton. Hillary might indeed beat them in November '08, but she might also be beaten. I'm starting to think that there is hardly another Democrat in the race, save Kucinich and Gravel, who can make that claim.


Bert Bananas said...

As a staunch Laztheist-Republican, I didn't think there was a chance in hell that GWB could one-up his dad and win reelection. What a dunderhead he'd turned out to be! But then the John Kerry got the Democratic nod. Since GWB ended up 'winning' the election, it's very possible that many of us are correct in claiming that John Kerry was the ONLY candidate that GWB could have beaten.

I think RNC knows that it will take this kind of fluke for their candidate to win again. And the only Kerry-like person around now is Hillary.

Is there a set of 'middle of the road' virtues that could spawn a third party? A list of 'Single Issue' policies that could be cobbled together for use as a furnace in which to forge a majority alliance?

Yeah, I know, dream on...

Daniel Spiro said...

The reason why Hillary might win the nomination is precisely because she doesn't remind people of Kerry. Kerry comes across as a loser to many, if not most voters. And you can say/think what you want about Hillary, but she comes across as a very formidable person -- her intellect, experience, purposiveness, and strength of personality are all viewed as top drawer.

Of course, she has her tragic flaws -- and more of them, it would appear, than her husband.

Bert Bananas said...

Certainly it's possible to list positives about Hillary. But isn't it obvious that the pundits whose focus on Hillary you're lamenting are sitting there salivating about her negatives?

When I make the comparison with Kerry, it's with the hopeful optimism that she winds up a loser, too.

But I'm not a serious politico. I won't really care who wins, so long as there is no serious attempt to enforce the speed laws.

Mary Lois said...

The most irritating element in politics is the notion that we vote for "one who can win" over all other considerations. That horse-race mentality has brought us failure after failure in the Presidency and practically brought disgrace to our country in the world. We don't look for a leader; we assume "winner" is the same thing. Bill Clinton still has the admiration of his party because he has winner written all over him, no matter what else is emblazoned on his face. Hillary would like to cash in on that, and to some degree her handlers have been able to transfer some of his winner-image to her -- but in both cases you have mediocrity masquerading as genius and public relations passed off as character.