Hillary Ahead of All Others in Ohio

Cross-posted at http://francislholland.blogspot.com/

Darrel Rowland of the Columbus Dispatch reports today that Hillary Clinton is ahead of all of her competition, Democratic and Republican, in the crucial battleground state of Ohio, which is one of the states John Kerry lost in 2004.  http://www.columbusdispatch.com/news-sto ry.php?story=243445

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Swing States and the Dems

We talk a lot here about electability - both the myth and the reality. It seems like the best way to discuss electability is to go through the swing states, one by one, and see who could win there.

I'm going to make two big assumptions. The first is that the electoral map will be broadly similar to 2004. In other words, Giuliani isn't swinging New York, there isn't another terrorist attack, and so on. The swing states are the same. For that reason, I'm going to count any state won by both Gore and Kerry as safe. I know that they aren't - especially Minnesota and Wisconsin - but if we can't deliver those seats to any of the three major candidates, we've got bigger problems. In any case, that's 248 electoral votes.

The second assumption is that the candidates run a good enough campaign along their current lines. I'd consider Kerry's campaign to have been well run - could've been better, but he did decently against an incumbent president during a war - so this isn't a particularly high bar. I'm just not going to factor in likelihood to make a big gaffe or to hire fools. Hillary will run a DLC/motherhood campaign, Edwards a populist campaign and Obama will be hopeful platitudes masking progessivism.

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Announcing Online: 2008 presidential hopefuls turn to the small screen

Crossposted from Reelpolitik.

Today's announcement by New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson continued the trend of 2008 presidential contenders kicking off their campaigns accompanied by an online video. Like former Governor Tom Vilsack, former Senator John Edwards, and Senators Chris Dodd, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton; Richardson addressed supporters, skeptics and the world through the blossoming medium of political web videos.

The contenders' videos show differences in rhetoric - to be sure. I'll leave discussion of that to a million different blogs, and the traditional media. What interests me in the release of these announcement videos are the differences in how each campaign uses the medium.

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Clinton is In

Just announced. "I'm in and I'm in to win," she says on her web site:
The stakes will be high when America chooses a new president in 2008.    

As a senator, I will spend two years doing everything in my power to limit the damage George W. Bush can do. But only a new president will be able to undo Bush's mistakes and restore our hope and optimism.

Only a new president can renew the promise of America -- the idea that if you work hard you can count on the health care, education, and retirement security that you need to raise your family. These are the basic values of America that are under attack from this administration every day.


And only a new president can regain America's position as a respected leader in the world.

She will be hosting a series of live web chats over the next several days to solicit input and support. "Starting Monday, January 22, at 7 p.m. EST for three nights in a row, I'll sit down to answer your questions about how we can work together for a better future. And you can participate live at my website."

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The Clinton Presidency - Getting the Facts Straight

Chris Bowers asks what really defined the Clinton presidency? It's a hugely important question, so I will try to take a small bite on economic issues by reminding people of one thing: his formula for winning elections as a challenger in 1992 was not, as Washington insiders have tried to claim, some vindication for running to the mushy corporate faux "center." He ran as an economic populist.

It was Bill Clinton who, in his campaign's landmark economic speech, said "I wouldn't have done what [George Bush Senior] did and give all those trade preferences to China" and said " I'd be for [NAFTA] but only -- only -- if [Mexico] lifted their wage rates and their labor standards and they cleaned up their environment so we could both go up together instead of being dragged down." It was Bill Clinton in that campaign who said "I expect the jetsetters and featherbedders of corporate America to know that if you sell your companies and your workers and your country down the river, you'll be called on the carpet."

On this topic of Clinton, Taegan Goddard of Politicalwire angrily emailed me after my earlier post today, insisting that no, Clinton ran as a pure free trader, and thus implying that today's Democratic presidential candidates should follow that model. Sadly, Taegan never bothered to check what Clinton actually said on his campaign (all he had to do was click the link in the relevant section in the post). Instead, he forwarded me a statement from Clinton in 1996 where Clinton himself (after capitulating on NAFTA) tries to pretend he never ran on populist themes in 1992. And then, inadvertently, Taegan sent me some other quotes of Clinton in 1992 actually declaring that as President he would "demand fair trade policies if we’re going to provide good jobs for our people."  

I guess I can't blame Taegan or most of the political chattering classes for swallowing whole the revisionist history that claims Clinton's 1992 campaign was a rebuke of populism, rather than a vindication of it. There has been a whole corporate-funded cottage industry whose goal is to whitewash the historical record and pretend Bill Clinton's success in 1992 was due to him supposedly pushing a platform kissing the rear end of Corporate America. But the facts just don't bear that out. Clinton's 1992 campaign proved that populism is the way for a Democrat to run a successful challenger race.

Now, obviously Clinton on many policies abandoned his populist platform. On trade, one of his first major legislative initiatives was pushing NAFTA - the deal he promised not to push unless it included labor or environmental standards. He also spearheaded the fight for China PNTR - again, a deal with none of the human rights protections he promised in 1992 would be needed to get his support.

That said, Clinton also made a major contribution to the fair trade agenda through crafting the Cambodia and Jordan trade agreements, which for the first time included better protections for workers. The fact that he didn't demand such protections in other deals is certainly a commentary on his lack of backbone. However, his success in getting at least these two pacts through laid the framework for an alternative trade policy in the future - and that's no small accomplishment. The question is whether congressional Democrats pick up from Clinton's successes on Cambodia and Jordan, or whether they pick up from his failures on NAFTA and China PNTR. We'll soon find out.

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