Snow White and the Eight Dwarfs
by hwc, Mon Oct 22, 2007 at 10:38:56 AM EDT
Disclaimer: My tenth in a series of the partisan candidate diaries. I am not associated with any of the campaigns, just a long-time observer of Democratic presidential politics and the father of a college daughter.
Snow White and the Eight Dwarfs
In sports, they say that a feared opponent has "gotten into the head of a player", meaning that the player so fears the opponent that it starts to play mind games. Ask a defensive back in the NFL about Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. Or, take a quick look at last night's Republican debate.
According to the Washington Post, it was "Clinton by a Mile".
The score from Sunday night's Republican debate in Florida was as follows:
Hillary Clinton: 33
Barack Obama: 0
John Edwards: 0
That, of course, is the number of times that each was mentioned by GOP candidates or the questioners during the debate. As is clear, there was no contest. Obama and Edwards were completely absent in the hour-and-a-half debate.
The New York Times, had a slightly different Hillary count from the debate. They counted 15 "Hillary Clinton", 34 "Clinton", and 27 "Hillary" mentions.
Ana Marie Cox, over at Time Magazine's Swampland, liveblogs the Hillary mentions as a drinking game and realizes she's over the legal limit by the end of the first half hour:
8:08 PM First Hillary mention of the debate! DRINK!
8:28 PM McCain gets in a HillaryCare reference! Drink! He suggests that anyone interested in nationalizing health care visit Canada or England. Does he mean the countries that have been infant survival rates than us, or just the ones that lose a smaller percentage to heart disease?
8:33 PM Too many Hillary mentions to count. At least I don't need to drive home.
8:46 PM Fox tips its Hillary hand (thanks, Rupert!): "All of you, I repeat, all of you, are losing to her." BOOS! Also, I LOVE that Fox is showing the polls numbers for how badly each of them would lose to her. This is just giving them all a chance to pull out their best HRC jokes and applause will follow. It will not help their poll numbers.
8:52 PM On Hillary's Woodstock museum earmark: McCain didn't go. "I was tied up at the time." I think we get to chug on that one.
Josh Marshall, at Talking Points Memo, does a video mashup of the Hillary obsession with a running scoreboard:
Don't miss the Frank Lutz focus group at the end, including one poor women who tried to speak but couldn't because her head started spinning around and around as she spewed green split pea soup from her mouth and three more at the back of room who were wresling to control gloved hands like Dr. Strangelove:
"I think people have very long memories about Bill Clinton and what it was like to live through that hell."
"Hillary Clinton does not have American values."
"Hillary Clinton is just nothing but socialist and communism."
"She'll end America as we know it."
I think it is more than fair to say that our girl Hillary has well and truly gotten in the heads of the angry white men in the Republican party. She has them in a full-blown tizzie and that is the best thing that could ever happen for Democratic Party chances in November 2008. Why?
I would suggest three reasons:
1. By attacking her every waking moment of every waking day, the Republicans are providing a blueprint for their fall campaigns. Penn, Wolfson, and Bill will take this playbook and use it to prepare a brutal gameplan to counter every strike. Even more, the Republicans outlined positions against Social Security, health care, and reployment from Iraq that are wildly unpopular with the electorate. The red-meat audience boo'd Ron Paul for saying he would pull troops out of Iraq.
2. Their efforts to demonize Hillary won't work. If Hillary Clinton is anything on the campaign trail, it's disciplined, focuses, serious, competent, and prepared. When voters see her, on TV or in person, they may or may not like her. They may or may not support her. But, they don't see some wild, crazy monster. Thus the opposite. It is Romney and Rudy who appear to be frothing at the mouth when they speak of Hillary.
3. I keep saying this, but gender is the overriding dynamic in the 2008 election. 54% of the voters are women and the majority of those support Hillary Clinton and the idea of a history-making election. There is an emotional attachment to the election the first female President and this emotion will become even stronger once Hillary is the nominee. These angry white men attacking the female candidate, not on policy issues, but like crazy abusive husbands is going to trigger a deeply emotional response. Not just among women, but among other groups who have felt the rath of what Bill O'Reilly calls "the traditional white male power structure". The two Republican front-runners, Rudy and Mitt, are already at the point of "pulling a Lazio" and alienating wide swaths of American voters. They think they can use attacks on Hillary to energize their base, but their attacks are actually more likely to energy women voters (54% of the electorate), African American voters, Latino/a voters, Asian American voters, gay voters, and so on and so forth.