A Strategy for Clinton

I was watching Pat Buchanan the other day and saw how he framed the election:

1. Obama vs. McCain = election about war. Obama's 2002 speech as Illinois state senator is central to whole Obama campaign. McCainn's POW sacrifice and war hero credentials are central to his whole candidacy as well. So we will have a debate about war, which will lead into national security. McCain will win that election.

2. Clinton vs. McCain = election about the economy. That is Clinton's strength and is emerging as the number one concern of the American people. Clinton has spent the last several years neutralizing the national security issue with the GOP (to chagrin of liberal blogers) The Clinton's are smart enough to frame their campaign as one about the economy. Clinton will win that election.

The key for Clinton is to frame the remainder of the primary around the economy. Obama will try to frame it around his personality. He will try to muddy the waters. This is why in the debate before South Carolina he picked a fight with Hillary. If she had ignored his attack, and talked about how great Bill Clinton policies were in relation to Ronald Reagan, then the debate would have been about the issues again. But Obama succeeded in drawing in Clinton to the fight, and the issues were lost. As Karl Rove gleefully noted, the Democratic Primary had deteriorated into a campaign about race and gender.

In a way, the Democrats strength this campaign season is our weakness. Some of us feel we have the luxury of picking the guy with the great personality, and who stood up against the war in the beginning. But in the general election, Americans feel very insecure about their future, so they will focus more on the issues. The general election will come down to how the issues are framed: economy or war.

The whole basis of the Obama campaign's strength in the Democratic primary, his anti-war stance, is his weakness for the general election. National security will trump a speech given 6 years ago. He will be portrayed as naive and inexperienced. McCain will move to the center and start talking about a withdrawal after he secures the conservatives. Obama will lose that election.

Hillary can frame the Iraq war in this way: How will we deal with the economic impact of the war. Our country has mounting debt from the war, and the Clinton's are experts at repairing the economy. So, in a simple answer about the Iraq war: we all agree about what to do now, so it is the economy stupid.

Tags: clinton, Economy, Hillary, Iraq War, victory (all tags)

Comments

28 Comments

Re: A Strategy for Clinton

Hillary's greatest strength is her command of the economic issues which are America's greatest danger. A falling economy will do more long term damage than we can imagine right now. Just visit different countries around the world that went through economic meltdowns.

by moi moi 2008-02-02 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

Perfectly makes sense!

by American1989 2008-02-02 02:19PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

The problem for Clinton is that the economy is likely to get much, much worse once she gets in office and Democrats are likely to be blamed if she cannot pass universal healthcare and put the economy into a speedy recovery.  

by Toddwell 2008-02-02 02:44PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

Something I admired about Bill was his "no excuses" approach to governing. (Not to be confused with his "all excuses" approach to marital fidelity.) GHWB left him a huge and growing budget deficit, a sickly economy, and a ticking time bomb in Somalia. He had great success turning around the budget and economy, got burned in Somalia, but I never heard him complain once about problems he inherited. In contrast, the recession that plagued the early months of the GWB administration was loudly labeled the "Clinton recession" as if Clinton was some kind of Democratic Herbert Hoover.

I will be so happy when we have an adult as President again.

by itsthemedia 2008-02-02 03:52PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

Wouldn't that be a problem for whoever gets elected?

by LakersFan 2008-02-02 05:23PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

Yes, but I would rather have a Republican take the blame.  

by Toddwell 2008-02-02 06:02PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

WHAT?  So, you are here openly advocating for a Republican president in 2008?    What a lame capitulation that is.  Whether Clinton or Obama, we have to live with the fact that the economy is going to be in shambles by the time a Democratic president will take over.   So what?  Most people won't blame either of them for a weak economy (knowing full well that our economy is turning to crap now, under Bush) so how Hillary (or Obama) deal with it is the telling part to them.  

 To say that you rather have a Republican president take the blame for sustained economic bad news past the end of 2008 is bankrupt. Open advocacy of a Republican win of the presidency to keeps us safe from blame for a bad economy in 2009 is concern trolling of the highest order.

by georgep 2008-02-02 07:16PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

I am.  I want to work to build up our party nationally.  You cannot do that while defending a President of your own party.  Just look at what happened in the 1990's after we had to spend eight years defending the Clinton's.  We lost Congress and Al Gore lost the 2000 election because Democrats had no party infrastructure in most key battleground states.  Thanks to this Republicans controlled all of the government from 2000 to 2006.  Electing Hillary in 2008 will be a short lived victory that will end up crippling the party, just like in the 1990's.  

by Toddwell 2008-02-02 07:34PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

No, what you are saying here is that you are against Hillary AND Obama for president, that you want Republicans to win in 2008 so Democrats aren't blamed for a bad economy in 2009.

What the heck are you doing on this site, then?  We are DEMOCRATS here, and our top concern is seeing a Democrat win the White House.   The CONCERN that Democrats would be blamed if the economy is not rosy in 2009 or 2010 is garbage.

 You are off your rocker if you rather see a Republican win the White House than a Democrat so a DEMOCRAT WON'T BE BLAMED FOR A BAD ECONOMY IN 2009.  

by georgep 2008-02-02 08:13PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

People like you are why Democrats have so much trouble winning elections.

by LakersFan 2008-02-02 08:27PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

I would not count on real estate picking up this year.   I'll be happy if it comes back by mid-2009.  And by "back," I mean levels out and buyers start getting some confidence again.

by InigoMontoya 2008-02-02 08:41PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

That goes with I said about Kyle/Lieberman- though Obama ducked the vote (which will surely be brought up) McCain will say Obama won't protect us or our troops, he is weak on defense and national security and we're not safe with him as President.  I mean, I know people don't think about it, but we have REAL enemies out there.  Mcain is weak on the economy but Obama is weak on details about policy so it might be hard for him to convince people he knows what to do about it.  I personally think he's a weaker candidate than Hillary, who can talk policy points, the prosperous years of the Clinton White House, but also provide a counterpoint to McCain that she is also tough on defense.

We'll get a peek of what America and Democrats are feeling on Tuesday- I don't believe the polls but I will certainly believe the Tuesday results.

by reasonwarrior 2008-02-02 03:26PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

Im almost certain that Obama is a stronger nominee.  Obama will campaign in every state to help Democrats pick up seats while Hillary will work to win Ohio and Florida.  This is not a strategy for building a lasting majority.  

by Toddwell 2008-02-02 03:33PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

How do you know what Hillary will do? Are you privvy to her campaign memos? Are you a mind reader?

Why are you so confident that all those independents and first time voters Obama will bring to the polls are going to vote the straight Democratic ticket? It seems to me that more independents at the polls would mean more ticket splitters.

by itsthemedia 2008-02-02 03:44PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

Maybe, but the problem is that Obama would be working to get these new voters out all over the country from states like Arizona to North Carolina.  The Clinton strategy is different, they focus on a few states and ignore everything else.  

by Toddwell 2008-02-02 04:05PM | 0 recs
nope

Bill Clinton met with Howard Dean several years ago and the Clintons signed on with the 50 state strategy.

by MollieBradford 2008-02-03 05:22AM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

Interesting - your (Pat's) analysis is eerily parallel to the electability argument Kerry used successfully against Dean in '04. Pick me, because my military experience and foreign policy credentials will blunt Bush's national security advantage.

I am not saying you are wrong. Nobody knows for sure how Dean would have fared against Bush, and McCain is not an incumbent, and Iraq is pretty much a settled issue - 60%+ consistently say we should get out.

That's what makes politics so interesting I guess - what's "right" this year may not be next year. Not even hindsight is 20-20 in politics.

by itsthemedia 2008-02-02 03:40PM | 0 recs
Obama's strategy is more like Kerry's

he is counting on blurring the lines between him and republicans and hoping for cross over.  Clinton is talking about how democratic plans and values are right for all americans and hoping for cross over.  Her strategy is actually more like Dean's.

by MollieBradford 2008-02-03 05:24AM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

Presidential elections are always about judgement and values.  Policy is for senators, it's a trap.  Every voter understands this one way or another, especially on election day.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-02-02 04:10PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

Yes, that is why GHW Bush made the '92 race all about character and values, and destroyed that policy wonk Bill Clinton at the polls. Wait ...

by itsthemedia 2008-02-02 05:10PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

Uh-huh.  Ever see the Kennedy/Nixon debates?:


Nixon had been a champion debater and welcomed the opportunity to spar with his opponent on national TV, but as the evening played out, the subtleties of media politics lined up against the Vice-President.

Kennedy had spent a tremendous amount time preparing for this event.  The recent success of his answers on religion proved that television had immense potential for his success.  In addition, a strong showing against the favored Nixon would establish credibility on the issues and further boost public confidence in his leadership ability. The Vice-President also came prepared, but when the debate began, the outcome, was not decided as much by substance as by appearance.

JFK was able to put Nixon on the defensive with his unexpected grasp of the facts, but Nixon held his own in responding to the Kennedy criticisms.  The major story of the debate became the photogenic appeal of the attractive Kennedy versus the sickly look of the worn down Nixon.  Several factors contributed to the poor image of Nixon.  His poor health leading up to the debate had resulted in a drastic weight loss.  A freshly painted backdrop had dried in a lighter shade of gray that blended in with the color of his suit.  During cutaways, the cameras caught Nixon wiping perspiration from his forehead while Kennedy was taking him to task on the issues.  As for Kennedy, he excelled in front of the camera.  When the debate ended, a large majority of television viewers recognized Kennedy as the winner.  To contrary, most radio listeners thought that Nixon had done as well as, if not better than Kennedy had.

1960: The Road To Camelot

by Shaun Appleby 2008-02-02 05:37PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

That was a completely different election.  GHWB had to deal with Ross Perot attacking him for most of the year while Clinton was able to mostly get a free pass.  

by Toddwell 2008-02-02 06:03PM | 0 recs
Clinton has better judgment and

democratic values.  Obama is just trying to blur the lines between him and a preachy religious moderate republican.

by MollieBradford 2008-02-03 05:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Clinton has better judgment and

Everyone gets subjective in their opinions from time to time, myself included, but you carry it to such extremes it seems like drawing a moustache and glasses on a picture of someone in the newspaper.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-02-03 05:43AM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton


Ross perot didnt compete in the crunch time of the '92  campaign. Went off the campaign after the summer  and only came back in the end.  

Clinton getting the free pass- u arent kidding right?

Clinton took off from the convention and never
fallen back. For most of the pre summer he was
sort of 3rd or 2nd at most before the spike he got in NY.

by BlueSea 2008-02-02 06:40PM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

Perot attacked Bush heavily between April and June and pushed him lower and lower in the polls.  Perot did Clinton's dirty work.  

by Toddwell 2008-02-02 07:28PM | 0 recs
nonsense

Perot attacked both candidates...unlike Nader did in 2000.

by MollieBradford 2008-02-03 05:27AM | 0 recs
Re: A Strategy for Clinton

You're making the assumption that war is a necessary and credible component of our foreign policy.  That's exactly the flaw in Hillary's, and McCain's, positions.

by Shaun Appleby 2008-02-03 05:47AM | 0 recs

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