Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

There's so much to attack about John McCain, and no Democrat has decided to step up on their own.  I guess it's telling that the first Democrat to do it is Hillary Clinton, who responds (sort of) to an attack from McCain.  John McCain went after Bill Clinton's record on North Korea, with his usual crazy angry dishonest banter.  Bill Clinton rebutted him with a friendly and piffling remark about politicizing national security.

And his wife?  Well, Senator Clinton's advisors chose to return fire using ... McCain record as a POW being tortured Vietnam?

The adviser, speaking of McCain's criticism this week of BIll and Hillary Clinton's posture toward North Korea, said that McCain wound up "looking similar to the way he did on those captive tapes from Hanoi, where he recited the names of his crew mates.""

Clinton later disavowed these comments, which were originally uttered to Maureen Dowd.  I have no idea what happened here.  It's probable that Clinton was horrified at these remarks, upset that her advisor said something so stupid.

But I'm not sure.  And this is the problem with candidates who have no overall rationale for their political work, the technocratic centrists who believe in their own abilities and very little else.  They have no message or direction, and resort to vicious pointless attacks in lieu of actual effective argument.  It's a structural problem, not an issue of political management.

John Kerry was swiftboated because he stood for very little in 2004.  Even if you wanted to go to bat for him, it was basically impossible to do so since he had no rationale for what a Kerry Presidency would mean.  This hurt candidates up and down the ticket.

Fast forward to 2006, and I'll say that I have never heard more groaning about a possible political campaign than I have about Hillary Clinton's run for President.  I don't know if she can win; I imagine that a lot of that has to do with what happens over the next two years.

But can this kind of clumsy political operation be swiftboated?  Absolutely.  Hillary Clinton never steps out of line to say anything of substance.  And when one of her advisors does, she practically swiftboats herself.

UPDATE: Why this post, and why now? Because this is the first attack by any Democrat on McCain. That's a big deal.

Tags: Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, John McCain (all tags)

Comments

42 Comments

Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

Sometimes you're brilliant and insightful and sometimes you're not.

You are letting your dislike of someone --- from Kerry to Hillary Clinton --- color and distort your assessment of who and what they are.

Hillary is not now nor will ever be incompetent.  She is many other things you don't like and she may have policies or political views that you and even I disagree with, but competency is not that thing.

John Kerry did not fight the Swift Boat charges speedily, adamantly or well.  But I am sure that if you step back for a second you know he would have made a fine president.  He had every rationale in the world to run...

Hillary is cautious but she is used to being attacked, she was attacked for 8 years in the white House and now in the Senate, she will fight back.

Believe me this Clinton advisor won't be speaking or advising again.

by debcoop 2006-10-15 10:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

I have to agree with you on this one.

Hillary Clinton is anything but incompetent.  Calculating, sure, but I still believe the Clintons are among the most competent political minds out there.

From what I've read about this incident, it seems to me like this comment was made by some staffer who had absolutely no authority to make that comment, and is probably no longer working for Senator Clinton any more.  Sure, a Senator managing her staff is important and reflects on her, but at some point there's only so much you can do.  If one of your advisors unexpectedly decides to be an idiot one day, you can't take that back, but you can sure fire him!

by Fran for Dean 2006-10-15 10:27PM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

Maureen Dowd is no dummy and there's no way that she's attribute such an idiotic remark to some no-name low-level staffer. This was someone high up, who had access to Hillary, and who is either an idiot trying to score some easy points for their boss, or did this with Hillary's tacit approval. Either way, this speaks poorly for Hillary for running such a loose ship. Is this what her administration would be like.

I'm still reeling from her years-ago act of self-immolation with the Tammie Wynette and baking cookies remarks. All the kissing-up to the likes of Jesse Helms, Tom DeLay and Newt Gingrich aren't going to undo the damage that caused her with the "values voters", and all the political wisdom imparted onto her by Bill isn't going to undo the political hackishness that she is so clearly still exhibiting (e.g. the plantation pandering, the visible shrillness).

Matt is right. Hillary is a hack. She has poor political instincts, operating out of an abundance of fear and caution that no candidate for president has any right to have (e.g. Kerry, Gore, Dukakis and Carter), let alone a Democratic candidate for president, who these days (even after this GOP meltdown) continues to be seen as inherently less likely to be strong and decisive. And going against McCain, she's going to be toast.

I don't want her to run not just because I don't think that she can win, but most of all because I don't think she'd be a good president. She just doesn't have the decisiveness, self-confidence and strength--not to mention political genius--that I and most people want the president to have. I want the next president to be as good as the current one has been bad. That is clearly not going to be Hillary.

by kovie 2006-10-16 02:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

Hey let's all live in a fantasy world. The ideal candidate does not exist. Those that might make excellent presidents may lack the appeal to get them through the primaries. Or they may, like Warner, not want to put themselves forward. It's a tough process that eliminates people for a wide variety of reasons - inability to raise enough money, inability to appeal to democratic primary voters, inability to win a presidential election.

We can all pick huge holes in Hillary, Edwards, Feingold and Gore. As for Clark, Richardson, Bayh, Obama and Kerry we could be here all day discussing their flaws.

And yet one of these contenders is likely to win the nomination.

by kundalini 2006-10-16 04:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

This is false logic. I.e., because no one's perfect, including Hillary, all criticisms of her or any other candidate are illegitimate and wrong, so we should just rally behind her and STFU. That IS what you're saying here, right?

If not, I honestly don't know what point you're trying to make. It's over two years before the '08 electin and we're not allowed to criticize any of the potential candidates, including Hillary? Sounds like the hidden message here is that we're desperate to win back the presidency so we must all refrain from criticizing any of our potential candidates for fear of crippling them in the general election.

Yeah, that really worked out in the ABB 2004 election, when we nominated "safe" candidate Kerry. No, this time around we need to subject all the candidates to the most intense scrutiny--including Hillary--so that hopefully only the smartest, toughest, most capable candidate emerges as the candidate. And that process has been going on for over a year, and will go on until the convention.

I don't accept your premise that because they're all flawed, we should hold back from criticism. Just the opposite, we should criticize them all BECAUSE they're flawed, so that the toughest and least flawed candidate--i.e. the one most likely to beat whoever the GOP puts up--emerges as the winner and our nominee in two years. Political Darwinism works.

by kovie 2006-10-16 12:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

Ditto on this. Just because you don't like Sen. Clinton, there's really no standing to say her folks are out of sync for this one amazingly minor stumble.

by owillis 2006-10-15 10:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

Don't attack my motives, and I won't attack yours.  This was an incompetent stumble, and denying it just makes you look stupid.  It was also the first substantive attack on McCain by any Democrat.  The first.

by Matt Stoller 2006-10-16 04:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

Exactly. Looking the other way or making excuses everytime someone on our side screws up (which this remark clearly was) for fear of weakening them and providing Repubs with talking points is precisely the wrong thing to do. As I explained above, make-nice feel-good party politics only results in weak consensus candidates like Kerry, and we all know how that worked out.

This false and perplexing fear that criticizing the potential '08 candidates creates a circular firing squad that could destroy our chances in '08 only ends up creating the actual and far more dangerous circular firing squad that results when we viciously attack each other for daring to have opinions about and criticizing various candidates, which could well result in yet another "safe" consensus candidate, which will likely guarantee another loss.

Enough with the meta bullshit. This is idiotic. And self-defeating. We need to allow the process to work, which includes criticizing each candidates' weaknesses. Only thus can the toughest, smartest and most promising candidate emerge.

by kovie 2006-10-16 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

Don't attack my motives, and I won't attack yours.

by Matt Stoller 2006-10-16 04:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

Don't attack my motives, and I won't attack yours.

How about if I attack your competence? :-)

I think your thesis is unexceptionable, perhaps even brilliant.  I like it especially so since it's mine. But the problem isn't competence.  It is rather that Hillary Clinton is all about power rather than ideas. It means that Hillary is a conservative just like her husband.

McCain is unvulnerable as a lonely maverick fighting a heroic battle against the establishment.  Unlike Kerry, McCain's war record then becomes his shield if not his sword.

As a suckup to the fanatical fundamentalists on the right, suddenly McCain becomes just another corrupt politician.  Worse than others really because he has soiled the legend.

Hey, there is no need to attack McCain.  He is doing an admirable - for me a sad - job of self-destructing.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-10-16 04:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

John Kerry had every rationale in the world to run BUT he could never articulate what he would do for the country. THAT is the point. And that is what a Clinton candidacy would be like.

Look at Kerry's nutshell arguments and slogans from '04

"Let America be America again"
"Hope is on the way"
"I want to fight a smarter stronger war on terror"

None of these express an overall ideology or clear vision of progressive governance. I'm not saying that pithy slogans define a candidacy, but they do give you a sense of the overall tone of the campaign. Kerry would have made a fine president. I believe Matt thinks so too. But he could not express his vision (if he had one) clearly and neither does Clinton. There was no purpose to the campaign, other than kicking out Bush.

by adamterando 2006-10-16 04:56AM | 0 recs
This Is So Spot On It's Ridiculous!

John Kerry was swiftboated because he stood for very little in 2004.  Even if you wanted to go to bat for him, it was basically impossible to do so since he had no rationale for what a Kerry Presidency would mean.  This hurt candidates up and down the ticket.
Even if you tried to depend on his most emphatic statements--such as ensuring that all black votes would be counted--you had no idea whatsoever if you could count on him to come through.  And the exact same thing is true of Hillary.

There've already been a couple of knee-jerk comments objecting to this diary.  But they don't seem to have actually read the contents, much less digested the argument.

It's like Bob Dylan said in "Motorpsycho Nightmare Blues"--"Oh, no, no, I've been through this movie before."  We all have.  Michael Dukakis, 1988: "It's about competence, not ideology."  But there's no such thing as competence without ideology.  Competence without ideology gives you Michael Dukakis in tank looking like a wack-a-mole.

Competence isn't just technical ability.  It's not just efficiency--doing things right.  It's also effectiveness--doing the right thing.  And you can't be counted on to do that when you have no ideology whatsoever.  In fact, you can be counted on to do just the opposite--to flounder and fold when the going gets tough.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-15 10:45PM | 0 recs
Re: This Is So Spot On It's Ridiculous!

Competence isn't just technical ability.

Yes it is, Paul.

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean--neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean do many different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master--that's all."

Competence for wordsmiths like yourself and Stoller consists partly of using words correctly and aptly instead of trying to be the master like Humpty Dumpty.

I think you are both quite correct in what you are trying to say.  You are just not saying it well and you are missing the point that Senator Clinton probably has no way of correcting her problem without developing ideas.

McCain's complaints about powerful apparatchiks fueled by corporate money is pretty much Feingold's.  Does either of you want to try to knock down Feingold? :-)

When John McCain becomes part of the problem, he is no more.  The Republicans don't want him and then can't even use him.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-10-16 04:52AM | 0 recs
Competence Defined

My post went on to elaborate my point: that competence includes both efficiency (do things right) and effectiveness (doing the right thing).  Mere technical ability is only covered by the first.

To bring this down to earth, I'll give an example from beat I cover--the development of the San Pedro Waterfront under the purview of the Port of Los Angeles (POLA).  There is a landscape architecture firm, Mia Lehrer and Associates (MLA), which has been involved off and on in the process--as well as doing other work, public and private, in the community, and developing good relations with lots of community members.  As subcontractors, they've been seriously screwed around with.  A new regime at POLA persuaded them to get reinvolved, and they played a significant role at a public workshop in July.

But after that, they were demoted again, replaced by a firm with no previous involvement in the process or the community that I am aware of.  In the course of interviewing community members about this latest development, I commented to someone with professional planning responsibility that the new firm seemed technical competent, but out of synch with the long-term process, which they could not possibly understand the way that MLA did.  He then corrected me, saying that no truly competent professional firm would accept work under such conditions--only hacks would.

I realized instantly that he was right.  They could, of course, do what they were asked efficiently.  But they could never know if what they were doing was really effective--the right thing in view of all the relevant factors.  The fact that they were willing to step in and do the job on the terms presented to them was in itself proof that they lacked the competence to do it properly.

To insist that a word be used in a serious manner, reflecting the deeper ramifications of all that it implies is the precise opposite of what Lewis Carroll was lampooning.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-16 07:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Competence Defined

Sure glad we are on the same side, Paul, because you could almost convince me black is white.

I believe it is fair to say Karl Rove remains very competent and will be totally ineffective this November.

Want to bet? :-)

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-10-16 07:25AM | 0 recs
Context Is Everything!

When fighting a nuclear bomb, even the most competent Samurai swordsman would be ineffective.  But this is hardly something martial artists in general are unaware of.  (My sister was a 2nd degree black belt in Aikido, so I got a fair taste of that culture first hand, as well as from literature and film.)

Indeed, the tensions between mere technical excellence and competence to fulfill their cosmic role can arguably be called the most enduring central theme of all martial arts literature.

It even shows up in Buffy, The Vampire Slayer and Angel.

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-10-16 08:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton

Man, I hope Hillary doesn't run.  I don't know who on the Dem side I'm for, but I'm pretty certain it's not her.  For one, I fail to see how she could even withstand a McCain onslaught.  Two, whether it's right or not, I think the Republicans (and their friends in the press) have successfully branded her as a polarizing figure.  Of course, I realize nothing is certain in life, if she faced Senator Frist, for example, she well could win, but it's just impossible for me to see her having a realistic chance at this point.  Oh, and as for the single term Senator Edwards, well . . .

by KC 2006-10-15 11:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

All of these so-called "centrists" who have suddenly begun to emerge from the woodwork where they seem to have been hiding out for the past 6 years, along with the so-called "centrists" who  have been claiming all along to cross the aisle to get things done, need to get together and form their own party, and leave the rest of us alone to actually get things done.

Hillary, McCain, Danforth, Whitman, Whittman, Giuliani, Pataki, Reed, Lieberman, Keane, Hamilton, Warner, Snowe, Collins, Nelson, Nelson, Landrieu, Cantwell, etc., literally need to bolt from their parties and form a third, "centrist" party. Call it the Bull Moose party for all I care. It was about as viable the first time around (despite having a far more credible leader). But just leave the rest of us the hell alone with your palaver about meeting at the middle and ending partisanship.

Screw their brand of unprincippled "bipartisanship". Real political advances are invariably made by principled partisans who find some way to meet in a more or less principled center, and not a faux sell-out unprincipled center, which is what these "centrists" are all about. They want quick and easy shortcuts that make them look good and get those fat corporate donations. We want real solutions for real people, not their bullshit solutions for themselves and their owners.

by kovie 2006-10-16 01:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

The problem is that Dowd put it in the word of a "Clinton advisor", instead of a "Democratic strategist" or some other point of distance. Internal swords out, I'm sure, lol.

by Jerome Armstrong 2006-10-16 03:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

Frankly, I think the comments quoted in the NYT story indicate her willingness to make this a razor fight with McCain if he wants it, and that is fine with me.  What has competence to do with it?

by Bob H 2006-10-16 03:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

Are you kidding me, Bob?

Are you so thirsty for Republican blood that you would jeopardize everything for it. This statement was PLAIN STUPID. Does Hillary Clinton, the sixties anti-Vietnam peacenik, really want to go after John McCain on being a prisoner in Vietnam?

No one would see this as being tough. They would see it as a cruel jab by someone who hasn't earned to right to attack any service person in such a fashion.

I guarantee that this would have become a HUGE story if this were October 2008 instead of October 2006 and the two were facing each other. The story would have shifted away from the substantive argument to Hillary's "viciousness." I know there are Clintonistas who believe, for some unknown reason, that Hillary's image as this shrill, humorless, tough-as-nails Senator actually helps her. But I don't see it helping her with anyone. Republicans will still hate her and Democrats will be disgusted that we have to "hold our noses" YET AGAIN!

I appreciated Matt's comments and believe he made an excellent argument when he wrote, "these technocratic centrists who believe in their own superior abilities and very little else. They have no message or direction, and resort to vicious pointless attacks instead of making an effective argument." Right on!

That's their problem. They don't believe in anything. They are vicious for no reason, and it doesn't play. It's not "liberals" that kill Democratic candidates, it's lack of clarity and vision that does.

Why did she have to attack him personally at all? Why couldn't she have challenged him on the substance of his argument and used that as a segue to defend her own husbands record? Instead the story became a "process" story about Hillary and her staff. That's why what she did was stupid.

This episode does not portend well for a Hillary Clinton candidacy. Good God I hope she doesn't become the Democratic nominee or all our work may be for nothing.

by JackBourassa 2006-10-16 05:18AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

I am very ambivilent (?) about a Hillary race, but maybe someone was sending McCain a message to the effect that "we can play rough, too." Of course, it might have been better to have said something like, "We are not too concerned over the opinions of a man who ditched his wife to marry a heiress so he could use her money to run for office." It would make an excellent contrast to Hillary's standing by her man.

That said, though, I agree with your observations about politicians standing for something. One reason why Sherrod Brown is leading DeWine in the polls in Ohio is that he stands for helping middle class Americans and has shown it while in Congress.

by mrgavel 2006-10-16 03:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

"We can play rough too?"

Ever hear of a boomerang?

by JackBourassa 2006-10-16 05:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

Interesting post for your assertion that McCain is vulnerable. I'd like ot see a concerted effort from across the blogosphere starting now to brand this guy as weak and a loser. We need to start early with him the way the Right started early with Hillary.

by johnalive 2006-10-16 03:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

I'm changing my mind about mcCain being vulnerable.

by Matt Stoller 2006-10-16 03:59AM | 0 recs
McCain WOULD be vulnerable...

 ...if the Dems would stop sucking up to him.

 Maybe they'll be emboldened to do so if November goes well. I can't believe they've let him get away with his "maverick" act for so long.

 

by Master Jack 2006-10-16 04:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

What do you mean.

I have always felt that Democratic politicians are far too admiring of him.  It feeds the image that he is beyond politics.  For Democratic politicians I have a motto, the inverse of what your mother always told you...If you can't say anything mean, nasty or negative about John McCain, just say nothing at all.

Democratic politicians don't need to burnish his image, the press will do it all by themselves.

by debcoop 2006-10-16 06:20AM | 0 recs
It would help...

 ...if establishment Democrats started publicly calling out McCain, as well.

 They remain WAY too deferential to him. And McCain is perhaps the biggest fraud in the Senate, if not in national politics (non-Lieberman division). It's time the Dem leadership began pointing that out.

by Master Jack 2006-10-16 04:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Put aside the subject and argument

Politics is neither a logical nor a linear process. Sure, it seems a tad wacky to gripe about Hillary having some kind of competence issue at this particular moment. But it could still be the right move. If you want to get people to vote, you must first get them to think. The best bang for the buck in that enterprise is simply to toss in a little "friendly fire" grenade that maybe won't kill anyone, but will wake them up fast. This is a very neat tactic.

by blues 2006-10-16 03:52AM | 0 recs
Matt is Exactly Right

Actually, even before Clinton's Office's incompetent response re McCain, I have thought Sen Clinton has a competence problem.  Remember, the entire 1994 health care fiasco was her responsibility.  She was put in charge of this by then Senator Clinton.  The end result was not only a fantastically complicated proposal, but such a politically unpopular one it helped the Republicans win in 1994.

Add to that her "incompetent" foreign policy regarding her support of the Iraq War.  Even now I dont know that she has any coherent-or competent-ideas what to do there.

"Competence" is not the same as "intelligence."  Senator Clinton is very smart, but she is also incompetent.

by Andy Katz 2006-10-16 04:52AM | 0 recs
Maureen Dowd used to be a good writer

But it seems like she's trying to become J.J. Hunsecker between now and 2008.   Pathetic.  She's proven over the past few years that if you're a columnnist who believes in nothing, then nobody cares what you have to say anymore.   She should go back to writing cutesy pieces about George Bush's oedipal complex so her readers can chuckle about it in pilates class.

(McCain is going to be a tough one, but we can stop him. )

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-10-16 05:21AM | 0 recs
Yes, your candidate is incompetent

Stoller is dead on with this post.  Sorry, Hillary lovers.

As for her competence, my only concern is with her competence to be President.  She may be a competent Senator, but that is a very different job than being a competent President.

Competence is a combination of talent and experience.  In truth it is difficult to evaluate Hillary's talent, because she has so little executive experience.

But for a sense of Hillary's skills, let us look at her efforts to enact universal health care, her singular experience in driving policy in the executive branch.  Here is what Brad Delong had to say about that:

My two cents' worth--and I think it is the two cents' worth of everybody who worked for the Clinton Administration health care reform effort of 1993-1994--is that Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House for the rest of her life. Heading up health-care reform was the only major administrative job she has ever tried to do. And she was a complete flop at it. She had neither the grasp of policy substance, the managerial skills, nor the political smarts to do the job she was then given. And she wasn't smart enough to realize that she was in over her head and had to get out of the Health Care Czar role quickly.

So when senior members of the economic team said that key senators like Daniel Patrick Moynihan would have this-and-that objection, she told them they were disloyal. When junior members of the economic team told her that the Congressional Budget Office would say such-and-such, she told them (wrongly) that her conversations with CBO head Robert Reischauer had already fixed that. When long-time senior hill staffers told her that she was making a dreadful mistake by fighting with rather than reaching out to John Breaux and Jim Cooper, she told them that they did not understand the wave of popular political support the bill would generate. And when substantive objections were raised to the plan by analysts calculating the moral hazard and adverse selection pressures it would put on the nation's health-care system...

Hillary Rodham Clinton has already flopped as a senior administrative official in the executive branch--the equivalent of an Undersecretary. Perhaps she will make a good senator. But there is no reason to think that she would be anything but an abysmal president.

Now, that was 14 years ago.  Hillary has likely gained wisdom from that experience.  As President she would have credibility that she lacked as First Lady.

But can't the Democratic Party nominate someone who doesn't require us to take her competence as an article of faith?  And if people on her own side are saying this about her, shouldn't that make any SANE Democrat stop and think long and hard about backing her?   This has nothing to do with liking or disliking her.  She simply has NO track record of administrative success.

by space 2006-10-16 05:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, your candidate is incompetent

Isn't this argument, though, the exact opposite of what Stoller is talking about in this post?  It's not about competence--it's about vision.  Clinton's problem is not her executive experience, but that she does not stand for anything.

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-10-16 07:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, your candidate is incompetent

Not the opposite, just incidental.

You are correct that Stoller chose a poor term, "competence," when he really meant the absence of a core governing philosophy.  Having said that, I agreed with what he was trying to say with respect to both Kerry and Hillary.

Now, it so happens that I DO think that Hillary is incompetent to be president; just because Stoller used the wrong term, doesn't mean that the wrong term doesn't ALSO apply.

by space 2006-10-16 07:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, your candidate is incompetent

So...the Peter Principle, basically.  That's your argument.

by Jeffrey Feldman 2006-10-16 07:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Yes, your candidate is incompetent

Look, I don't get a big thrill out of opposing well-funded Democratic candidates who have high-name recognition to boot.

I wish with all my heart that Hillary was a loyal Democrat who had the political skills to enact liberal policies and fend-off the wing-nut Right.  Unfortunately, I don't see it in her.  I see a fence-straddler who lacks foreign policy judgment and domestic policy leadership skills.  I could even forgive a lack of experience if I believed that she would stand up for the party's principles (see: Edwards, John).

But, you know what? I have an open mind.  If Hillary can convince me between now and the spring of 2008 that she's the real deal, then she'll get my vote.  I don't see it happening, but what the hell?

What I predict, though, is that instead of trying to convince me of Hillary's qualifications, her supporters will continue with their onslaught of entitlement whining.  I will be challenged to make the case against her, as if she should presumptively be the nominee.  I find that offensive and a big, big turnoff.

by space 2006-10-16 10:51AM | 0 recs
Re:

"McCain would be vulnerable ...if the Dems would stop sucking up to him."

In order to really make McCain vulnerable, the BEST thing Democrats can do is continue to "suck up to" McCain.  After all, McCain has to win a primary first.  There's a large, growing number of Republicans in SC who are ready to dump Lindsey Graham because he's "moderate" and "soft on torture," and, most of all, "too much like John McCain."

We should be shouting from the rooftops how moderate John McCain is and how he doesn't fit the Republican mold.  Most Republicans WANT the mold.

by Laurin from SC 2006-10-16 06:08AM | 0 recs
Re: Too clever by half

It will be 2008 not 2004 or 2000.  The GOP is imploding.  The GOP base doesn't have the luxury of picking and choosing. Trust me, they will take McCain if they believe he can win.

This strategy of crafting your message 2 years out to affect the GOP primary is not a good move.

What Democrats should be doing is worrying about rebuilding their image, and retaking their position as America's majority party.  You don't accomplish that by calling McCain, one of the most conservative Republicans in Congress, a moderate. The only way the DEms can lose if they -- yet again! -- refuse to boldly state where they stand on the issues and what their values are.  And McCain belongs nowhere near the Democratic platform.

by space 2006-10-16 10:59AM | 0 recs
My propblem with Hillary on this was...

...not that her staffer mnade the comments about John McCain.

But that she compunded the problem by looking like a pathetic loser and apologized for them.

You think Bish would ever apologize for an inflammatory remark one of his staffers made about a political rival? LOL!

And what thaks did Hillary get for immediately condemning them remark and persoinally apologizing to McCain? A cold shoulder from McCain who didn't even bother to public accept her apology.

No good deed goes unpunished, Hillary. And you made the story even worse for you by highlighting tyhe comment that most people missed in the first place, and then helpoiinmg mcCain out by admitting it was the wrong thing to say.

That was just textbook idiocy on her part.

by Hesiod Theogeny 2006-10-16 06:23AM | 0 recs
Re: My propblem with Hillary on this was...

You think Bish would ever apologize for an inflammatory remark one of his staffers made about a political rival? LOL!

I find it simply amazing that national-level Democratic pols haven't figured this out yet.  The GOP NEVER apologizes.

Now, you can go two ways with this.  You can either hammer the hell out of the GOP when they refuse to apologize OR you can decide that it is good politics to not apologize, and don't apologize for your own sides' gaffes.  But the moron brigade that is leading the face of the Democratic Party can't figure out politics 101.

by space 2006-10-16 07:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

May I ask why John Edwards' name is tagged instead of John Kerry's? I don't see him mentioned anywhere in the post.

by benny06 2006-10-16 09:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Senator Clinton's Emerging Competence Problem

I don't think candidate should always be held responsible for everything their staff or campaign does.

Wasn't it recently that Ned Lamont's campaign in CT paid for letters suggesting Lieberbum never went to fight for Civil Rights in the 60's?  Should we hold him responsible for that?

by MyDD Fan 2006-10-16 09:08AM | 0 recs

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