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Wag the Blog: Are GOP Attacks Helping Hillary?

Time and time again in yesterday's Republican debate, the leading candidates attacked Hillary Rodham Clinton and the direction they said she would take the country if elected president in 2008.

In The Fix's debate winners and losers post, we put Clinton in the winners category, since being lambasted by Republicans seems a sure-fire way of bolstering her credentials in the eyes of the Democratic base.

Clinton herself has made the attacks from Republicans part of her pitch for the nomination, telling voters that Republicans are afraid of her because she knows how to take them on and beat them. As far back as February, Clinton told a gathering of New Hampshire Democrats: "I know what [former House Speaker Newt] Gingrich [R-Ga.] tells people privately, I know what [former House Majority Leader Tom] Delay [R-Texas] tells people privately, I know what Karl Rove tells people privately," she said. "I'm the one person they are most afraid of. Bill and I have beaten them before and we will again."

But, even as her Democratic rivals raise questions about whether Clinton is too divisive to win the White House next year, could attacks by the likes of Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney reinforce the doubts about Clinton in the minds of Democratic voters? Democrats are desperate to get the White House back in 2008. Will primary voters opt for a "more electable" Democrat?

For today's Wag the Blog question, we want to hear from you. What is the effect on Clinton's campaign -- if any -- of being the focus of repeated Republican attacks in these debates? Is there a short-term (nomination fight) versus a long-term (general election) effect? If so, are they different?

As always, the best and most thoughtful responses will be given their own post. Have at it!

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 10, 2007; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Wag The Blog  
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Comments

While there has been lots of news coverage about Billary Clinton's debate double speak about driver's licenses for illegal's, who come to this country, no one has focused on her response to questions about reforming social security. She said she has a plan to save social security; however, she will not tell the American public what her plan is until after she is elected President. The last time some one running for president had a secret plan, (to end the Vietnam war)it was Richard Nixon. So now we have Billary Clinton copying tactics espoused by the only President forced to resign instead of being impeached. Does she really think the public is so stupid that it will fall for her secret plan? It is time for the liberal media to be objective about her statements and stop giving her a pass on her statements. Smart democrats should dump her because their party will lose the White house in 08, if she is the Democrat candidate. They should realize that Billary Clinton has the highest number of people who will never vote for her. Her negative polling is 45 to 50 percent, which is a historical record for any Presidential candidate. Also her husband was elected 2 times with less than 50 percent of the vote.
Wake up and smell the coffee Democrats or you will spend another 4 years in the political wilderness. Do you really want to spend another 4 years debating the meaning of the word is? The Republicans will have a field day with her past scandals. The only reason her and her husband, of convenience, are not convicted felons is that they consistently used the phrase "I can't recall" more times than anyone can count, whenever asked tough questions during those scandal investigations. Pretty amazing that they couldn't remember anything, especially when they credit themselves with being the smartest couple in the world. They will only get away with being the smartest couple in the world if everyone else can't recall all of their scandals like renting out the Lincoln bedroom for 50k per nite. The office of President deserves some one who is honest, not some one who will look the American public straight in the eyes and lie. Bill Clinton was not impeached for sex, as their political machine would have you think, he was impeached for lying under oath, which is a felony. Americans should just say no to Billary!
Charles in Lahaina, Maui

Posted by: ellisc007onMaui | November 12, 2007 4:43 AM | Report abuse

Hillary is exactly who the Republicans want to face in the fall of '08 - - just having her on the ballot will energize the hard base of neo-cons the got Bush-Cheney into the Whitehouse twice. Whenever I hear 'well it looks like Hillary is inevitable', I can't help but think there is a right wing neo-con just loving the idea and continuing to spin that perception.

Posted by: juren | October 17, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I think a lot of the Republicans think they are indeed helping boost HRC to the Democratic nomination--they want to faceoff against her in the general. In my opinion, however, they'll be getting what they deserve: she's been through the fire many times before, so attacks on her record are unlikely to cause any new damage, and this "what a disaster her program will be!" tack only works so far as voters believe it. Since she'll be standing right there refuting the lies, I don't think voters will be swayed (if they would otherwise vote for her). One of the main strengths HRC has in this election is a platform that's largely what most voters are looking for. The only way opponents have of making her seem like an undesirable candidate is by misrepresenting her policies, and we've seen her undeniable ability to counter that tactic.

Posted by: Budikavlan | October 12, 2007 3:27 AM | Report abuse

I doubt die hard Democrats (the ones who will be voting in the primary) are really paying that much attention to what the Republicans are saying. And if they are, I'm sure it won't influence them much.

Posted by: fulch | October 11, 2007 8:40 PM | Report abuse

This is a bit long but PLEASE READ: JacksonEuler you are completely right! If the Democrats are excited about Hillary - and the reason for her high poll numbers have always been because of favorable feelings towards her/her husband - then they should go with her. If they try to go with someone who's "electable" but about whom they are cautious or don't like at all then they will lose because they won't be passionate enough about getting this person into office and that will not inspire Independent voters (who are looking to vote Democratic this next election cycle) to follow their lead. To me, the primary race is really between Clinton and Edwards. No offense to the Obama supporters; for many reasons including the fact that I'm a black male, I definitely think he presents a viable change in direction for the Democrats and for this country. But his candidacy is the only one I am somewhat skeptical about in part due to the spectre of "electability." As electrifying as he's purported to be in person, he has yet to effectively neutralize the experience argument against him, which would no doubt dog him in the general election. Don't get me wrong: I would still vote for Obama enthusiastically if he became the party's nominee and am still debating doing so in the primaries. But sending him into the general election with the issue of experience still hanging over his head would give every person on the right, left, and middle with any reservations about a liberal-leaning black man as commander-in-chief a plausible excuse not to vote for him under the guise of his "lack of experience" without feeling racialist/racist. That's his main detractor since it would appear he has just about everything else required for the job: he's inspirational, good-looking, smart. JFK-esque or Messianic, depending on who you listen to. :) But it is a very potent detractor given the issues the nation faces at home and abroad. What so many people find appealing now - that he is outside the mainstream - could be a setup to what happened to Harold Ford in Tennessee less than a year ago in his run for the Senate [the charges made against him in spite of him offering the many of the same sterling credentials that have people lining up behind Obama was that in spite of it all, he (Ford) dated (white) girls and he was not "a real Tennesseean", note the implication]. It happened before and without successfully nullifying this liability it would happen to Obama. Sorry, but Obama would not win any more easily than the rest of the candidates. If he can defuse the experience issue, then the nomination and the election might still be his for the taking. But let's be real: the GOP is not attacking Hillary because they're afraid of Obama; they are not above re-running the kind of subtle smear campaign that worked on Harold Ford, as evidenced by the fact that Giuliani hired the same people who created those ads against Ford to work for his campaign. So I'll turn to Clinton and Edwards. If the party unites fervently behind either one of those candidates they have a good shot at winning the election. Again, it won't be easy - presidential politics never is - but the Republicans are attacking Hillary because 1) as a centrist candidate she has the best shot at beating whoever the Republican nominee is, 2) politics is also perception so if they can reinforce the idea of her as negative then then she comes across as weaker than she really is, and 3)...well, they just feel comfortable running against a Clinton. It's what they know; they can rehash or threaten to rehash all that old stuff from the 90s. The other possible contender for the nomination, John Edwards, has run a bit to the left and would be harder to embrace by conservative-minded voters; nonetheless, as a Southern Democrat with passion to spare, he is still a formidable candidate. The GOP is hoping that if they stir up enough anti-Hillary sentiment they can potentially stop her before she becomes the nominee or depress and demoralize the electorate enough before November 2008 to give them a fighting chance. Everyone already knows that this election will essentially be the ultimate referendum on the Bush presidency and that it has the potential to be cataclysmic for the Republican Party. They also know that none of their nominees are "true" conservatives and hence none will be able to energize the party's base on their own. Their best shot at keeping the White House is to make the 2008 election about Hillary Clinton and stir up enough dissent on both sides to keep her out of the Oval Office, therefore keeping the White House in their hands by default.

Posted by: Jacketkid2 | October 11, 2007 5:12 PM | Report abuse

The Republican attacks are not doing much, every couple of weeks they do another head to head poll is released against the Republican running for office leaders and the gap widens. Does anyone believe that these muckrakers can dig up anymore slim to throw on this lady? She has taken the right wing's best shot and 70% of the American public knows where these guys are coming from and that they full of feedlot byproduct. The Republican's worst nightmare is that Hillary will not make Al Gore's mistake and bring out Bill to campaign for her. Bill left office with a mere 58% approval rating. After having the Bush Administration to compare the Clinton Administration to, his approval rating has risen to 68%.. The Republican's are running scared. The Republican's can breath easy in knowing that Chelsea will not be forty and eligible to run for president until 2020.

Posted by: bradcpa | October 11, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

CC,
"What is the effect on Clinton's campaign -- if any -- of being the focus of repeated Republican attacks in these debates?"

I don't think that there is any effect because i don't think that what the candidates are saying about her constitute "attacks". They may be taking issue with what the current democratic front runner says, thinks and believes but that is not attacking. Why is it that when the Dems talk about Bush's "failed policies", "cooked intel" or "lying" its ok but when a Republican talks about Hillarycare, it's an attack?

Posted by: dave | October 11, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Attacking Sen. Clinton is helping her, and in the long run, hurting Republicans. Because they tried to knock Bill off in the '90s the attacks against Hillary today have such a "been there, done that" quality to them. By the time we get to the general election, voters will have completely tuned out anything Republicans have to say about Hillary. Even if they come up with some new lie to smear her with, nobody will be paying any attention.

Posted by: jheath53 | October 11, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Generally, I think the attacks against Clinton have strengthened her primary campaign by perpetuating the view that she's the presumptive candidate. It's true the attacks underline the argument that she's divisive, but she's also seen as effective and in the final analysis this combination will likely be preferable to someone who's liked but ineffective, or even liked and unproven.

In the run-up to the general election, where things will get really nasty--and all the nastier for her being a Clinton--she may well benefit again for having the thick skin of an experienced practitioner. In fact, because she's a Clinton she is likely to receive more vitriolic and distasteful attacks than the other candidates, which, combined with her being the first major female candidate (with a chance to win) may make her especially sympathetic to independent voters.

Id est, it will be easier for the opposition to be overly hateful of her because she's a Clinton, and it will be easier for undecided voters to be sympathetic to her because she's a woman.

Posted by: mcintire78 | October 11, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

The Republican field of male, white White House candidates is very unattractive. By pandering to the GOP base, they have allied themselves with bush policies that have proven disastrous. This bunch doesn't even pretend to sign onto compassionate conservatism. Strange to me that the whole of the GOP seems so out of touch with reality.

Hillary is looking better and better. I am sure the Republican candidates would like people to sign onto their charicature of her, but it is not happening. The GOP succeeded in painting Gore as less than truthful, on diminishing Kerry's war reputation, and they are working on Hillary. But Americans are saying, "Fool me one, . . ." That dog won't hunt this time around.

Posted by: Rose4 | October 11, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

I apologize if someone already pointed this out, but I'm coming into the discussion late and I don't have time to read *all* the posts.

The Rove Maneuver is to attack, vehemently, the one you *want* to face in the general election to bolster their credibility and get them nominated. The GOP feared Edwards the most in 2004, so they went after Kerry with a vengeance and I think it worked. He got the nod, then they took him apart as the prototypical northeastern liberal egghead elitist (ignore the fact that Bush is, in fact, also a northeastern elitist, transplant to Texas notwithstanding).

So, we can assume that the GOP views Obama and Edwards as the stronger contenders, and want the "weaker" Clinton to be the nominee. This, I think, will prove to be a historic miscalculation. Clinton is polling ahead of every GOP hopeful. Actually, it may not matter so much, since all of the top three Dems are polling ahead of the top four Repubs. Even Gore, who isn't even running, beats three out of four. All data is from Pollster.com's trial heats, which aggregate various poll data.

I think that the GOP keeping the White House is a pipe dream. It's all about Congress, and even that is just a matter of how many seats in each house the Dems will add.

GOP diehards can deny all they want, and claim polls are skewed (they are) or irrelevant, but both sides pay big money to polling firms for a reason.

Posted by: jasonda | October 11, 2007 5:41 AM | Report abuse

Rudy and Mitt are attacking Hillary for two simple reasons, both of which involve the GOP battle. 1. Hillary is the front-runner among the Dems, so she is the star to shoot at. (The GOPers would just as easily attack Obama or Edwards if they were the front runner). 2. Hillary is demonized in the GOP base, so attacking her plays to the conservative primary voters. It's really as simple as that.

I think it will have no real effect in the Dem primary. It would make a difference for someone like Richardson or Dodd to get attacked, boosting their profiles among Dem voters. But it dosen't help or hurt Hillary.

As for the general, if Hillary is the nominee, she will be attacked. But any Dem nominee will be attacked. What the GOP preceives as a weekness of her's is actually a strength. She's been around so long and is so well known. Those who hate her won't vote for her less because of GOP attacks. And those on the fence already know who she is, so they probably won't be swayed very much by GOP attacks because they would already be in the hate-Hillary camp.

The GOP has the uphill climb this time around. Mitt and Rudy (NE Repub liberals) are having to flip and flop all over the place to appeal to the remaning Bush-lovers, who make up most of the GOP primary voters. But whichever one survives will have to do political yoga to bend back to the center.

And if Hillary is the Dem nominee, she can remind GOP voters what their nominee's real stands are. Plus, she make a convincing case to those who hate her: "you can vote for someone you don't believe in, or you can stay home and have me to hate for at least the next four years." Considerng how much conservatives love to hate Hillary, my bet is the many might take her up on that offer.

Posted by: cbl-pdx | October 11, 2007 2:17 AM | Report abuse

Given the context of the attacks in relation to Hillary's surging poll numbers, I would say the attacks are helpful to Clinton. In the last month and a half Clinton's numbers have steadily risen to the point where she has a massive lead in national Dem primary polling and a strong lead in the early primary states except Iowa. She once trailed the top Republicans in head-to-head matchups, but she is now either running even or ahead against all of them.

The fact that the Republican candidates are focusing their fire against Clinton in the wake of her upward poll movement shows they are concerned. And they should be, given the superior fundraising and campaign infrastructure Clinton has assembled compared to the Republicans. This simply reinforces her argument of being a strong candidate.

Posted by: Lloth8 | October 11, 2007 2:02 AM | Report abuse

GOP attacks are first and foremost helping Romney and Giuliani, who are using them to portray themselves as the frontrunners, and making Thompson and McCain look increasingly irrelevant. Indeed, the latter two cannot afford to spend their time attacking Clinton since they have to work their way up the Republican race. Full analysis of this dynamic:
http://www.campaigndiaries.com/2007/10/after-debate-gop-race-looks-like.html

Posted by: campaigndiaries | October 11, 2007 12:52 AM | Report abuse

This seems to boil down to negatives, and HRC is the best armored Democrat in the field. Everyone (who is honest) already has an opinion of HRC. The GOP has little ammunition left with which to smear, and the independents are less likely right now to buy another swift-boating routine. I don't see HRC's negatives going much higher, but Giuliani, Romney, Thompson??? There's a whole world of negative attacks waiting for these guys, and HRC doesn't have to do it. Libs seem to oiling the machine, and I expect the undecideds (most of which are not yet paying attention) will tune in next January to exciting new chapters in the annals of Republican (im)morality. And remember: the conservatives stand to fall a lot farther in the public's estimation of morality. Like her or hate her, most of us already know how we feel about HRC's moral terpitude. Not so with the GOP contenders. She has to coast, and they have to gain (independent) ground.

Posted by: russellb | October 10, 2007 11:07 PM | Report abuse

When are the democrats going to learn that they have to go with their convictions or they will lose every time. IN 2004 the party's heart was with Dean but voters went with Kerry b/c they thought that his military service would innoculate him from attacks on his foreign policy creditials as well as his patriotism - how ironic then that it was the Swift Boat attacks on his military experience that sank him. If you like Hillary (and I personally do although I like Biden better) then stand up and say so and then work your ass off to get her elected. But if you sell your convictions for "electibility" then you will lose no matter.
Just a thought...

Posted by: JacksonEuler | October 10, 2007 11:04 PM | Report abuse

We Dems are falling into the GOP's trap.

Again.

Given her high negatives and polarizing image, Hillary Clinton is the only potential Democratic nominee (besides Gravel and Kucinich, who aren't serious candidates) who could LOSE to a Republican.

You know, if you're Charlie Brown, after awhile you can't keep blaming Lucy for pulling away the football if you know it's coming ...

Posted by: doxieman122 | October 10, 2007 10:44 PM | Report abuse

And on another note, it is still very apparent that Republicans are still playing Rovian politics. They are sticking to so many issues where they are on the wrong side of a healthy majority of Americans (The War, SChip, Clintonism) and hoping that it ignites their base. Here's hoping that's no longer how it works and that 2006 was the model.

I think they are wrong to attack the Clintons as a whole, considering Bill's time in office is garnering a 2/3 approval rating. They can stick to just hillary. Because even a lot of Republicans are looking fondly back to the 90s when a Clinton was in the White House and the country was a well-oiled peaceful machine.

Posted by: llowe | October 10, 2007 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I see them as mostly a good thing. I don't see how they harm Clinton in the primary, since Democrats don't tend to vote with their brains in the primary anyway (snuffing out the "electability" argument).

But I do think it helps tremendously in the general. Republicans look like the rear guard nasty naysayers while Democrats don't feel the need to attack Republicans and are generally looking to the future. I think it sets up a nice contrast for Hillary in the general, presuming she's the nominee. I can just imagine "All you've been doing for a year is attacking me, but what vision for the future have you offered?"

Posted by: llowe | October 10, 2007 10:09 PM | Report abuse

vwcat: I find your comment a little puzzleing. Who is your party?? Doesn't seem to be dem.

Posted by: lylepink | October 10, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I used to be Jen but they wouldn't let me use it. :(
I think Hillary has nowhere to go but up, as she has already done. She has been demonized for a very long time, but as people listen to her speak, they're saying, uh, remind me why I was supposed to hate her again? She doesn't seem to be to the left of Mao....
Whereas, in the Republican field, all of the major candidates, as far as I can tell, carry heavy drawbacks, each one of them. My personal prediction is that they'll go with Giuliani in what they think is the best shot to beat Hillary. Maybe Giuliani will pick as VP one of the true blue conservatives to try to "balance" the ticket. The true blues will resent this, and the polling will always show Hillary at least several points ahead, and they will decide to go with a third party candidate since they're not going to win anyway. This is my hope. I am not a Hillary supporter among the Democratic field, but the difference for the Democrats is that we don't care as much as the Republicans. We are mostly just thrilled that it is against the law for Bush to run again. The one thing that I really, really, do like thinking about another Clinton presidency is payback. Oh, suffer all the smug pundits. What chaps my drawers, though, is that once AGAIN a Democrat is going to have to dig the Republicans out of the financial hole they put us in and are not going to get one shred of credit for it. They're going to keep up with "tax and spend", as if that were somehow less responsible than "spend it on the grandkids". Okay, I'm done. Thanks.

Posted by: Jenn2 | October 10, 2007 9:33 PM | Report abuse

The Republican candidates are not dumb. They know HRC has the organization, money, name recognition, and a popular, former president advising her. Guliani, Romney, and Thompson wants to attack Hillary because they want the GOP base to know how they would be beat her on the issues. My advice to HRC is run against the status quo. Run against Bush rather the wannabes. People are sick and tired of Bush and war. It's Bush, stupid.

Posted by: rogden71 | October 10, 2007 9:14 PM | Report abuse

I think it really depends on how Obama's campaign uses this. If Obama can point to the Republican attacks as proof that Clinton is too partisan and more of "the same old" Washington regime, it could potentially damage Clinton's campaign. On the other hand, if Obama does not step up, it could have the opposite effect and allow Clinton continue with her campaign's image that the nomination is a foregone conclusion.

Posted by: maaraj | October 10, 2007 9:03 PM | Report abuse

Since I am already registered it is not a problem to post.
The GOP knows it helps her and that is what they are hoping for as all the republicans are praying the democrats will be stupid enough to vote for her.
My hope is that my party proves they are not stupid and they vote for a real candidate and not a sequel. a bad sequel.
come on dems, vote for a real democrat and not a DLC republican lite like Hillary!

Posted by: vwcat | October 10, 2007 8:26 PM | Report abuse

The effect will be that the United Sates will elect it's first female president in 2008. You know what I think? We will be happy we did

Posted by: jahearn | October 10, 2007 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Women see the attacks on Hillary as identical to the ones they have been putting up with from men in their homes and in their work. They don't like it. It reflects ill on her attackers.
It doesn't help that Hillary is, by any sane assessment, a remarkable intelligent and hard working person. Women see injustice in these attacks.
What these attackers forget is that more than half of the voters in the US are women and of all voters, women vote in greater numbers than men. In addition, there are plenty of men who admire Hillary and are willing to vote for her.
The only way they can win by attacking her is to do a "Swift Boat" type advertisement on her. The problem is that Hillary comes out swinging when candidates start planting false information about her. She won't keep a stiff upper lip like John Kerry did. She understands politics better than anyone else in the contest from either party.
I think she will win and that her enemies should beware of spitting into the wind.
I was particularly shocked about Huckabee's remarks about how she has her lips firmly planted on the backside of George Soros. (http://washingtontimes.com/article/20070925/NATION/109250050/1002)
I find myself wondering not about Clinton's relationship with Soros, but about the integrity of a supposed Baptist preacher. If I were a member of his church I would have left it for one with a less foul mouthed pastor.

Posted by: bghgh | October 10, 2007 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I must commend CC for the new posting comment requirement. This has been needed for a long time. A couple posts stood out for me in that they have said in effect what I have been saying all along. "Hillary is the one the repubs fear the most." I have been checking Polls this week and find Hillary is leading in double digits everywhere except Iowa, and she is ahead there by a few points. Wisconsin and Pa. could be the states that actually decide the 08 Election, both were won by a few K in 2000 and 2004. I added Pa. in June to my count, [309] for Hillary in response to a Wes Clark supporter, who I also think is the choice for Defense by Hillary. Very good day for thoughtful comments.

Posted by: lylepink | October 10, 2007 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Mark. Very interesting.

Posted by: tjmaness | October 10, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

should be "sixth ranked" in my 6:02P post.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 10, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

tj, she said that HRC had been gradually dropping in her estimation as she watched the forums. She had seen most of them.

Said she understood the "front-runner" tactic of not offering ammunition to opponents, but thought HRC carried it to extremes; e.g.: HRC's refusal to discuss the social security tax base at a recent forum was probably to avoid hearing one more sound bite about being a tax-and-spend D. That approach finally wore down this woman's patience. HRC dropped from third ranked D to fifth ranked D on the Kyle-Lieberman vote.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 10, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

The reptilicans have to attack somebody. If they have to run on their records Guliani and Romney are not qualified to represent the base. Nixon thought Thompson was friendly but dumb. McCain has abandoned his principles and became a loyal Bushie. People in this country are not stupid enough to put this kind of ineptitude back in office. The democrats could nominate a cheese steak sub and still win against this group.

Posted by: vwallen | October 10, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

I think it may be a two-edged sword. Certainly the GOP canidates help fix Clinton as the inevitable nominee in the minds of many. But of course, that raises expectations, meaning any seeming slip from this inevitability, such as not finishing first in Iowa, will hit her harder.

Posted by: AlaninMissoula | October 10, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Mark:
You say "now believes". Do you happen to know what changed her mind?

Posted by: tjmaness | October 10, 2007 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Blarg at 3:27 P.M.made a telling point. I think his "Chris Dodd" parable is perfectly descriptive of the functional advantage of publicity in electoral politics.
--------------------------------
I must add this: a former supporter of the R's presumptive opponent, a woman with a strong personal following in Austin, no longer supports her, although the woman will vote D, no matter what. The woman now believes that all five of the candidates who are not Kucinich and Gravel are better choices. I learned this today and was quite surprised.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | October 10, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

If Clinton's policies are determined solely by who has the deepest pockets, shouldn't she be under the sway of Germany and Japan? Those two nations should be able to outbid India and China every time.

Posted by: tjmaness | October 10, 2007 5:27 PM | Report abuse

The republic party is scared to death of Hillary that is why they keep attacking her.They hope to stop her nomination because they know they can't beat her in a general election and all you right wingers know it in your heart of hearts,that's if you have one.Keep going the way you are and you will get crushed again in the 08 elections and become the permanent minority party you deserve to be again.

Posted by: lindamdoyle | October 10, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

simple - MONEY. Hillary Clinton, for example, receives the bulk of her campaign funds (and she and Bill made their personal fortunes from providing outsourcing and guest workers for U.S. corporations....go check it out by doing a YAHOO search) either from those countries, businesses from those countries, or American mutlinationals that profit from sneding our jobs and technology to those countries. If you want some *reeally* interesting reading, the same search will show that the bulk of the Democratic and Republican leadership does the exact same thing. It is a rare one, indeed, that hasn't sold out this country for a buck.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | October 10, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

The GOP "attacks" on Hillary Clinton (which will pale by comparison to what's unleashed if the Democrats nominate her) serve them well by helping to intensify Clinton's "presumptive nominee" aura.

1) They get to show Republican voters how tough they will be while fighting the Antichrist, er, Hillary.

2) The GOP's drumbeat for Hillary helps ensure that she WILL be the nominee. Of the top-tier Democratic candidates, she is the one they have the best chance of beating.

3) The attacks also help Hillary by continuing to focus mainstream media attention on her and further energizing HER base.

Democrats should pay close attention: WHY do Republicans want her to be the Democratic nominee? Think about it!

These polite, trite little "attacks" over policy differences and the old "us vs. those dangerous tax-and-spend liberals" argument? Believe me, they're holding their fire until the Democrats formally cast their lot with her and have nowhere else to turn.

Posted by: editrix | October 10, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

How could any politician be in the pocket of China, India, Saudi Arabia and Israel simultaneously? China and India are major regional rivals, and Saudi Arabia and Israel can't stand each other. I would think that anyone trying to do the bidding of all four simultaneously would be paralyzed with indecision.

Posted by: tjmaness | October 10, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"....contrast her with the "good," homemaking Republican wives club..."

Ummm, what planet are you on? The R's have a collection of second/third trophy wives who hardly fit into your kitschy Betty Crocker imagery.

Posted by: judgeccrater | October 10, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Hello. MArk in austin. Are you there? Or where you just trying to impose your fascist agenda on this site?

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 10, 2007 4:58 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if this is what o'reilly had in mind when he incited violence against columbia u. Do you think he is satisfied? Or does he want blood, do you think? He has been trying to get teh president amoung others fired over there. Is this what he had in mind. Like what they did with the duke case? like what they did with the jena 6. Why do they had this country? Why are they waging war on us? Who can stop them if now US?

"Noose found on door of black professor at Columbia U... "

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 10, 2007 4:57 PM | Report abuse

The gop is pushing hillary. All day everyday on fox. All day everyday on drudge. Getting money from fox news and rupert murdoch. China ties. The yale plan. I could go on all day. Hillary is a closet republcain. Her ties are to India, china, isreal, big drug, saudi arabia. Just like bush. When did OUR politicains loyalty include foregin nations. Can someone please explain how choosing money or an outside influence over the good of you rcountry, is not treason? does anyone have an answer to that? We are registering now, so we can have real conversations, right?

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 10, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I think this helps her a lot. Her previous policies are not exactly red meat for anti-trade unions and the antiwar movement, but she has cast herself as the candidate who can "fight" and "defeat" Republicans. This is nonsense. She had nothing to do with Democratic victories in 1996 and 1998, but plenty to do with the landslide defeat in 1994. She handpicked a state with two million more Democrats than Republicans and faced no serious challenge because Giuliani didn't run against her. Once handed that seat, she voted for the Iraq War resolution, the Patriot Act, and No Child Left Behind. She has put no challenge up to the most egregious abuses of power by the administration and wrongheaded policies of the Republican congress. Her only notable fight against Republicans is her health care debacle, and that's hardly a reason for Democrats to jump on board. Her message, however, seems to be carrying the day for some incomprehensible reason.

Posted by: steimelkb | October 10, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I think this helps her a lot. Her previous policies are not exactly red meat for anti-trade unions and the antiwar movement, but she has cast herself as the candidate who can "fight" and "defeat" Republicans. This is nonsense. She had nothing to do with Democratic victories in 1996 and 1998, but plenty to do with the landslide defeat in 1994. She handpicked a state with two million more Democrats than Republicans and faced no serious challenge because Giuliani didn't run against her. Once handed that seat, she voted for the Iraq War resolution, the Patriot Act, and No Child Left Behind. She has put no challenge up to the most egregious abuses of power by the administration and wrongheaded policies of the Republican congress. Her only notable fight against Republicans is her health care debacle, and that's hardly a reason for Democrats to jump on board. Her message, however, seems to be carrying the day for some incomprehensible reason.

Posted by: steimelkb | October 10, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

jade7243 writes
"The key for the Democrats running against her is to pile on without looking like they were first to hit a girl, and to not show too much glee in doing so. Hillary is a big girl and she is playing rough with the big boys. If she's going to dish out some punches, she should be prepared to take a few."

She's playing it both ways. Upon being criticized by Senator Obama for her votes in favor of war, she counter-attacks by accusing him of giving up on the 'politics of hope'. Apparently actually discussing one's opponents issues is now included in the 'politics of personal destruction'.

Point being, rather than explain why her approach is the better one, with regards to Iraq or Iran, she chooses to change the subject and attack Obama. Do we really need another four years of antagonistic politics? I prefer a President who's looking for solutions, not looking for fights.

Posted by: bsimon | October 10, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

YOUR NOT GOING TO GET RID OF ME THAT EASY maR IN AUSTIN. :)

I am posting news and facts. I stand by what I say. It's th eliars and propogandsits who should be the one's worried about who they are. I am a truth proclaimer. What do i have to fear?

Posted by: RUFUS11_33 | October 10, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

With enemies like Giuliani and Romney, Hillary doesn't need friends, but she's keeping Bill's famous Rolodex in perpetual motion anyway -- just in case. If she attends to affairs of state with comparable diligence and foresight, maybe, just maybe, we can begin the long climb out of the hole into which the War President has led us.

Lies, Damned Lies and Bushspeak.

Posted by: holywoodog | October 10, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

They haven't helped her with me any.

These attacks will just make Hillary try to out-warmonger the repugs in order to prove them wrong...and make her even more of a lite republican than she already is.

Because she doesn't fight back with proving them WRONG ABOUT THE ISSUES - she fights back by proving she ONE OF THEM.

Posted by: ccatmoon | October 10, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Allow me to take the contrarian's view: No, the GOP's attacks don't help Hillary. The primary agent propelling the Clinton campaign right now is the relentless and breathless "It's a lock," coverage that the media is giving Hillary, almost to the point of failing to provide any substantive coverage of any other Democratic candidate. But to respond to Cilizza's question with a bit more detail, consider this:

The Republican attacks expose Hillary's vulnerable flank. As they lambaste her healthcare plan, her support of the war, her relative inexperience (eight years as unelected First Lady) and contrast her with the "good," homemaking Republican wives club, they provide a glimpse of the former First Lady's heretofore "unmentionables." (Monica, Paula, Gennifer, travelgate, the vast right-wing conspiracy, the healthcare debacle, her "ambition," carpetbagging the NY senate seat, her triangulation of any opinion she holds, the accents, the cackle, to name just a few.) The Republicans aren't just whispering among themselves, but letting everyone in on all the details. As their attacks become more visceral and mainstream, they (the Republicans) make it okay-- even palatable-- for the Democrats to attack hard as well. For all of Hillary's negatives, the Republicans are able to compound them with Bill's. What Hillary considers her greatest asset -- the former President -- is the millstaone that weighs her down.

The key for the Democrats running against her is to pile on without looking like they were first to hit a girl, and to not show too much glee in doing so. Hillary is a big girl ("I'm your girl" we are reminded;) and she is playing rough with the big boys. If she's going to dish out some punches, she should be prepared to take a few.

The Republican attacks help soften her up for the knockout.

Posted by: jade7243 | October 10, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Of course they are! Rove admitted that almost identical early "attack light" ads were desigedn to enable Kerry to win the 2004 nomination. The GOPers rightly regard Hillary as the candidate with the most baggage and the easiest to beat in the general election. Most voters will be looking for *any* excuse NOT to vote for her. If Hillary is the nominee, unless the Republcian's nominate someone who is a complete nutcase like Romney or GIngrich, they will win.

Posted by: MikeB | October 10, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

The comments on this blog are evidence that the attacks help her. Normally, the comments are full of anti-Clinton vitriol. Today, people are talking about how great she is.

Posted by: Zach | October 10, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the GOP candidates are helping Clinton any more than the political reporters who are constantly talking about Clinton and nobody else.

Posted by: J | October 10, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Let me see. The often repeated myth is that Hillary Clinton is "unelectable because the Republicans will attack her".

Which Democratic candidate, when nominated, will the Republicans not attack?

Republican frenzy is most rabid against their strongest opponent. Their comments against the other candidates is tepid because they believe that the general populace will discount them.

Therefore, if we truly believe in the Democratic Party and what it stands for, we should be simply listening to the conservative pundits and vote for the person they hate the most.

Posted by: Ron in Georgia | October 10, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

What does it hurt? Everyone and there mother KNOWS Hillary is hated in some quarters. Democrats don't seem to fundamentally care about that right now. And attacking Hillary is like them attacking the Democratic quasi-incumbant.

She responds and looks like a fighter.

It's win-win-win. And it drowns out the other candidates looking for air.

Posted by: Rhoda | October 10, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Putting aside the issue of whether or not HRC would be a good president, yesterday's GOP debate is a precursor to what the nation is going to have to put up with if she's elected president. My main reason for not supporting her is that I am sick of the vitriol the vast right wing conspiracy has for HRC (acknowledging that a majority of the attacks are unfounded). We've got some serious problems in this country (ie Medicare, SS, the Deficit) and nominating HRC is simply going to create roadblocks to desperately needed solutions. My apologies if I've offended anyone.

Posted by: Chris | October 10, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I lean Democratic, would prefer Obama (or Edwards) but it's working for me. It adds to the mountain of evidence that she will clinch the Democratic nomination.

Posted by: DC Pete | October 10, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Given how badly the Bush years have stained the Republican party's credibility, I think the Democrats could trot out a cocker spainiel as their presidential candidate in 2008 and the cocker spainiel would get 45% of the vote.

I can't see any Democrat losing in 2008. Forget how polarizing Hillary is, have you seen her fundraising advantage? Have you watched the disciplined campaign she has been running against, what is it now? Eight challengers?

I don't want Hillary to win the Democratic primary. She is one of my least favorite Democrats running. But the Democrats will be united behind her as they seldom have in recent memory if she wins and the revulsion that a lot of Independents feel towards her will be overwhelmed by a desire to go back to the Clinton years after the disaster of the Bush years.

Posted by: J. Crozier | October 10, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

"They only attack her because she is, as the most recent polls demonstrate, THE candidate who can beat them and they would like to put an end to her campaign before she obtains the Democratic nomination."

Take another look at those polls. In every poll I've seen, all of the Big 3 Democrats are beating all of the Big 3 Republicans. The only exceptions are polls that show Hillary tied with or losing to Giuliani. If you have polls that show Obama and Edwards losing to Republicans, I'd like to see them.

Posted by: Blarg | October 10, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

What is the effect that the Republicant slamming of Clinton has on the campaing? NONE. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

Here's why: Because this is what political campaigns are for! Everyone seems to know this but the guys, like you Chris, who are supposed to be the professionals.

The Democrats will attack the Republicants, and vise versa. That's kinda how things work. So what's the huge deal now? Why all of the "does it make her stronger" stories? It's nonsense.

Here's something for the Republicants to consider - the latest national polls show Hillary Clinton's so-called "negatives" have dropped, are continuing to drop, and are the 2ND LOWEST among ALL of the candidates of BOTH parties.

Clinton is absolutely right - and you've been diligent in neglecting it - when she says that it doesn't matter who the Democratic nominee is, by the time the election rolls around, the Republicants are going to do what they do best - that is, smear, smear, smear - and that nominee is going to have high negatives no matter who they are.

The whole question of electability is nothing more than intellectual laziness. Of course she's electability. All of the guys (and this gal Clinton) are electability. They've all proven it by getting, well, elected before. And when it comes to Clinton, she has proven quite well - in TWO senate races - that she can attract both independents and moderate Republicant voters.

And she's going to prove it again in November 2008.

Posted by: corbett | October 10, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

When I was only days out of college, I went to work as an assistant to the Republican governor of a Southern state. He was an experienced, battle-tested, and wise politician. Looking back on him, I often think of him as a politician with the common-sensical wisdom of a contemporary Willie Stark. Early on, when I was still a novice (and an idealistic one at that), I did something which allowed the state's attorney general (who was of the opposing political party) to raise a lot of hell in the press. I thought the governor would be irate at me; instead, he stuck his head in the door and smilingly said, "They only yell when it hurts." In my subsequent decades in politics I have learned the truth of that old saw. And so it is with Hillary: with so many Republican candidates fighting as ferociously as they can for the nomination, it would be foolish to ascribe to all of them some concerted Rovian plan to demonize her during the primaries in order to soften her for the general election. They only attack her because she is, as the most recent polls demonstrate, THE candidate who can beat them and they would like to put an end to her campaign before she obtains the Democratic nomination.
What effect will this have on her primary electability? Little more than Obama and Edwards can make of it--which to date has been little. Nor will it have little effect in the general election because each and every one of the GOP hopefuls has baggage as well, such as Guiliani's pro-life position and Romney's Mormonism AND his changing positions.

Posted by: Charlie Z | October 10, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

The repeated attacks on Hillary could produce a "Dean-in-Iowa" effect. Voters tell pollsters that they are planning to vote for the candidate with an air of inevitability. However, they still have lingering concerns about the candidate. Once inside the voting booth, they decide that they can't bring themselves to vote for a person who they feel is either unqualified or unelectable.

A competitor may not need to beat Hillary in the pre-Iowa polls. Maybe they just need to convince voters that there is a viable alternative and hope that shallow support for Sen. Clinton will take care of the rest.

Posted by: Springfield | October 10, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

i know the gop loves "I know you are but what am I". But this is blatent lies spin discrediting and propoganda. HE is the pimp. The dittoheads are his hoes. Bending over backwards to make him millions. What a crock. the more I read the more i think this fascist needs to be off the air. Who are his advertisers? Anybody? Who is in the business of giving lying propogating fascists a platform? Anybody know?

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

I think it's obvious that Hilary is the opponent that they're most worried about. However, I don't think in the long run it's going to have much of an impact on Hilary's campaign. I think the republican field is absolutely terrible, I wouldn't vote for any of them, so regardless, I'm going to vote for whomever ends up being nominated on the democratic side. The Bush era has taken the country so far to the right that it'll take years of democratic rule to move back to the center.

Posted by: Red | October 10, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Chris Dodd is running for the Democratic nomination, just like Hillary. As far as I know, no Republican has mentioned him by name while campaigning. And I bet he'd be thrilled if they did. If Giuliani was standing there on stage insulting Dodd, and then all the media outlets talked about the Dodd/Giuliani feud, that would be great for Dodd. It would get his name into more headlines, and make people pay attention to him.

And that's why these attacks help Hillary. They help get her news coverage, and she doesn't even need to do anything. Every minute of airtime devoted to attacks on Hillary is a minute that doesn't go to Obama or Edwards or Dodd. For that matter, it's a minute that doesn't go to discussion of Hillary's actual policies. Coincidentally, this is a column that also doesn't talk about other candidates or Hillary's policies. So thanks for contributing to the non-stop Hillaryathon.

Posted by: Blarg | October 10, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The gop's got balls. But only dittoheads are buying it. Not enough.

"RUSH: It's a fascinating analogy. I'm a preacher that the pimps have to go to the prostitutes for in order to keep them quiet.

CALLER: Yeah. The pimp's job is to speak bad or evil about the preacher, and the preacher's job is to speak bad about the pimp. The pimp is a truly bad guy, and the reason why the pimp has to speak bad about the preacher is because he's trying to keep the prostitutes from going over to hear the preacher and get them converted. And so I was saying that's what's going on with blacks in America, and the Democratic Party in particular, the way they're -- you know, they're the pimps, and we're in the middle being the prostitutes."

Posted by: rufus | October 10, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

These peole are nuts. Ship them to eastern europe and let them be tough guys all day.

"CALLER: Yes. This is the Eric Woods guy that you said was the best call that you've ever had in your time of hosting this show. I'm the guy who said mental -- that Democrats, or liberalism, is a form of mental illness and I told you about that blacks, the analogy between the slave, the slave master, and the liberator -- or the pimp, the prostitute, and the preacher -- and you're one of the main preachers that these people have to go after. That's why they're doing this thing with the soldier stuff. They have to go after the preacher, and you're the foremost preacher that the pimps have to go to in order to keep the prostitutes on the -- all within the harem here, Rush."

http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/home/daily/site_100907/content/01125109.guest.html

Posted by: from rush's show | October 10, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Giuliani is going to get close to 100% of the 28% who still support the war and whose political agenda is limited to "whatever the liberals hate."

These jokers are all trying to be George Allen or Ronald Reagan. Allen is history and it's not 1980 anymore.

Posted by: Chris Fox | October 10, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, just imagine Rudy as president.

'nuff said!

Posted by: Wil Burns | October 10, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Someone commented that Republicans treat Clinton the same way Democrats treat Bush. That may be true. However, there is at least one major difference - the complete and utter distaste for Bush, the worst president in US history, is entirely justified. The dislike of Hillary Clinton is not.

By the way, to the conservative commentator who thinks of Guiliani as his man - my god, when will you people ever learn? After the trashheap the Republicans have made of this country in the last six years you are going to do what? Vote for another Republican? For once I would like to have the election decided by voters who THINK.

Posted by: nyrunner | October 10, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

They do bring into focus one aspect of the Clinton machine that I admired when Bill Clinton was president - the ability to defend against attack, and at the same time, frame the issue of the attack in a way that the public/press could relate to.

I don't know if Hillary Clinton is as adept at this as her husband is, but she has certainly proven to be able to defend herself.

Posted by: TEL | October 10, 2007 3:18 PM | Report abuse

No, Republican attacks have only helped Clinton, since a recent poll published in the Washington Post, showed that the leading GOP candidates have higher negatives than Clinton, and of the major Democratic candidates, only Barack Obama has lower negatives, and only a few points at that.

When anyone who understands the effectiveness of the Republican slime machine looks at the entire situation, Clinton seems to be the by far the strongest Democratic canidate because she
has years of experience in fighting back and winning against the Republicans, whereas any different Democrat could well be like a political virgin, led to slaughter administered by the vivicious, dishonest smears of the GOP and their puppets. Remember the Swiftboating of Kerry!

Posted by: Doug | October 10, 2007 3:13 PM | Report abuse

These clowns obviously didn't learn from failed candidate Rick Lazio: The US is still in many ways a chivalrous country and doesn't look kindly on the bullying of women.

Posted by: Loudoun Voter | October 10, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. All the GOP attacks on Sen. Clinton can only help her.

Posted by: Eric | October 10, 2007 3:06 PM | Report abuse

"Sen. Clinton is divisive, in some of the same ways President Bush has been."

Um, no, Clinton, nor her husband, has turned off parts of the Constitution. Neither Clinton would start a war based on lies about intelligence supplied by a criminal Vice President. The Clintons, of course, wouldn't be as weak and lame as Bush, who's allowed Cheney to run his presidency. The Clintons wouldn't continually give tax breaks to the rich and corporate, while screwing the middle class.

The Clintons WILL, however, care about the downtrodden and poor, and WILL get the U.S. national healthcare. Bush et al, of course, could give a flying crap about anyone not rich, white and Christian.

No, the Clintons aren't anywhere CLOSE to being as divisive as Bush. I'm sure you're trying to forget, but even through the "vast,right-wing conspiracy" that impeached Bill, his approval ratings remained in the 60s.

What's Bush's rating? Cheney's?

Nice try. Now, go catch up on what's really going on.

Posted by: Steve | October 10, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I watched that debate yesterday and each time the nasty tone of attack on Senator Clinton came up I was so anxious to vote for her and enjoy the look on their face as she is sworn in as our next President.
Everytime they use her name in vein it makes you realize what insecure MEN they really are much like the playground bully in grade school.They never tell the truth about her position and plans.That is basic dishonesty and they don't seem to care if they are telling the truth or not.If there are any Independents out there they certainly will vote for a WINNER and that is definitely Senator Hillary Clinton.Mr. Rudy has no respect for women that comes through loud and clear as well as his behavior in his personal life.Great way to see the character of each man.
I hope they don't see the light until she wins the election.Americans have been fooled in the last 2 elections.This time we want the best person to represent us around the world and at home serving all Americans with good policy bringing the DIGNITY back to our country.

Posted by: De | October 10, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Yes
Because payback is a b*itch

Posted by: Anonymous | October 10, 2007 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I think the constant campaigning as the Anti-hillary candidate in the end will hurt her campaign. Americans if nothing else don't like be told what to do. The idea that Hillary is the inevitable nominee really gets under some people's skin. And a good amount of those people live in New Hampshire and Iowa.
If the GOP and Hillary's campaign continue to harp that Hillary has already won it will drive off enough primary voters, who don't want to be told what to accept in their nominee, into the waiting arms of Obama or Edwards, which will then propel them to victory (that and the Gore endorsement whomever may get it).

Posted by: Andy R | October 10, 2007 2:50 PM | Report abuse

At least we know the Republicans have already spent a decade digging up dirt on Hillary, and she has survived the attacks, so there is not likely to be any new surprises.

It's important to remember that millions of young, middle- and lower-class women have not voted in past elections, so turnout decided the elections of 2000, 2002, 2004, etc. Women are likely to be much more motivated to vote for Hillary, and to make history by electing the first woman President, and their participation will more than offset the turnout effect among the Hillary-haters in the conservative base.

When voters select a President, the deciding factor is much more about "character" than individual "issues" or "policy positions."

You might think the health-care-reform fiasco of '93-'94 works as an argument against Hillary, but polls show that voters view that experience and her subsequent career as adding to her qualifications for the presidency. The insurance & drug companies smeared Hillary when she tried to reform the health care system, but she learned lessons from that character-building defeat. She has bounced back and voters respect her for that (plus, the system is worse than ever, so people realize she was right and the insurance/drug lobby was dead wrong). That's the kind of character-building experience at the federal level that her major rivals for the Democratic nomination simply do not possess.

Posted by: Progressive | October 10, 2007 2:46 PM | Report abuse

"Are GOP Attacks Helping Hillary?"

Yes, they are. The attacks are arguably helping Hillary more than the attackers. The attackers are still trying to win their own nomination, but having the most effective anti-Clintonism is not going to be the boost their own campaigns need to spring into the lead.

Meanwhile, the attacks are helping Senator Clinton's campaign, which has been pushing her as the 'inevitable' President in 2008, since she first announced for the Senate in 1999.

Posted by: bsimon | October 10, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans treat Hillary the same way the Democrats treat Bush; the embodiment of all that is evil and wrong with the country. She becomes a symbol of a (fictional) monolithic political philosophy, and therefore a convenient shortcut for the attackers.

Posted by: JD | October 10, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

This entire argument as to whether Clinton is electable is bogus; the recent Quinnipiac poll shows her ahead of Giuliani, Romney, Thompson and McCain in FL, OH and PA.

Those are THE swing states and if she is winning there, there is no chance that any one these GOP candidates have a chance of winning!

Posted by: American | October 10, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

As a matter of campaign tradecraft, GOP campaign consultants' attacks on Sen. Clinton (some of them delivered via GOP Presidential candidates) are sound tactics.

Sen. Clinton is divisive, in some of the same ways President Bush has been. She is fundamentally contemptuous of people who disagree with her, and possesses a really ferocious sense of personal entitlement that she does not hide well. In an normal election year, she would be the weakest of the major Democratic candidates (Obama would be the strongest) because more people have already decided they dislike Clinton than they have the other Democrats.
GOP attacks on Clinton are also useful for Republican candidates with moderate to liberal records, as they serve to reassure conservative Republican voters.

The Republicans' problem is that this is not a normal election cycle -- and that the reason it is not is their own Republican President. President Bush's unpopularity is just crushing, and no major Republican candidate has yet made much of an effort to distinguish himself from Bush. What this means is that just about any Democrat would enter the general election campaign next year with an overpowering advantage. The Democrats could nominate Joe Torre, Joe Gibbs, or me, and still have a huge edge over any of the Republicans now running.

2008 is the one election cycle where a candidate as easily disliked as Sen. Clinton is could win. The Republicans can't complain about this; they decided they wanted to be George Bush's Republicans, and they have made a second Clinton Presidency possible.

Posted by: Zathras | October 10, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I think that the GOP candidates especially Giuliani are just trying to rally the base and I say especially Giuliani because he needs all the conservatives vote he can get in the primary after that I think it will focus more on the country than attacking but, that might be a just wonder of mine. I am a conservative but, I have already locked my self with my candidate in the GOP. Rudy Giuliani

Posted by: Rafael | October 10, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

The repeated attacks by the Republican candidates on Clinton only serves to strengthen her position overall, both long term and short term.

In the short term, it helps her because it reinforces her aura of inevitability. Afterall, if the Republicans are going after her this early, they all think she is going to be the nominee. It plays well with the Democratic base who have never had a favorable impression of Republicans personal attacks anyway, and it will move them to identify more closely with the victim, in this case Clinton.

In the long term, we all know that the Republican race will eventually go negative. Once Clinton the Inevitable has the nomination sewed up, she can repeatedly harangue the Republican Party while the Republicans are still quarreling amongst themselves. Additionally, the Republicans bringing up some of her positions, such as her stance on Iraq, may actually help her in the general election because her stance is what the majority of the country actually believes anyway.

JX
elephantbiz.com/2007/10/clinton_the_inevitable.html

Posted by: John Xavier | October 10, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

why cannot the MSM cover things like this? The only Obama mention in the paper today was about his wife's car accident, and Hillary gets above the fold. I am so tired of the "inevitable" rhetoric:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/linda-hansen/barack-obama-rallies-rock_b_67480.html

Posted by: Jo | October 10, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

I don't see what these attacks could possibly do to harm her. Anybody who hates the Clintons based on sheer principle is probably not going to vote for any Democrat. Meanwhile, it gets her name recognition and reinforces the (false) idea that she is inevitable.

In 2004 many independents voted for Bush over Kerry because they did not like him personally. Now, three years later, many of them are regretting that decision. Maybe this time around they will learn that casting a vote against a candidate they agree with but dislike is not the best basis for a vote.

Posted by: corinthian | October 10, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

It seems as though the Republicans are still practicing the Rovian tactics of the past: that is, attack the candidate early who they want to run against in the general election. Running against Hillary would do wonders for mobilizing the Republican base. that is especially important if this truly the election cycle of the pragmatic republican voter.

Posted by: John Hinshaw | October 10, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

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