Archive for Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Dirty, mean campaign ahead

January 24, 2007


Fundraisers on the left and right are salivating now that Sen. Hillary Clinton has declared, "I'm in" the 2008 presidential race. On the left, feminists will likely hail her as the reincarnation of suffragette Susan B. Anthony. On the right, conservatives will portray her as a cross between Lady Macbeth and Bonnie Parker.

Conservatives should be careful. The nonstop attacks on Bill Clinton did not keep him from winning in 1992, nor did his personal scandals prevent his re-election four years later. Using similar smear tactics on Hillary Clinton will only turn her into a victim and cause many not predisposed to vote for her to support her.

Men can't run against a woman the way they run against other men. Former Republican Congressman Rick Lazio learned the double standard voters apply to a female candidate when he challenged her in 2000 for the New York Senate seat she now holds. During a debate, Lazio left his lectern and invaded her personal space to make a point. Many voters saw a man trying to physically intimidate a woman and Lazio lost the debate and the election.

Some conservative Web sites are already claiming Sen. Clinton will unite the Republican base like no other Democratic candidate. Maybe, but that base is too small to counter what surely will be a surge in female voters. A recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll found that six out of 10 women were likely to support Clinton in her run for the White House.

A major advantage for Republicans is that Hillary is not her husband. She is aloof and calculating, while he can be warm and engaging. We have seen his temper - most recently in an interview with Fox's Chris Wallace - but we have only heard about hers. Will the public accept this kind of behavior from a woman who wants to be president? Will such behavior be seen as strength or character weakness?

In an interview with the London Sunday Times, Clinton's campaign manager, Terry McAuliffe, compared her to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. "Their policies are totally different," McAuliffe said, "but they are both perceived as very tough." Hillary Clinton and Margaret Thatcher are as different as Phyllis Schlafly and Gloria Steinem. Toughness in the pursuit of bad ideas is as unhelpful as weakness in pursuit of good ones.

In her videotaped announcement, which emulated Sen. Barack Obama's announcement of his presidential candidacy last week, Sen. Clinton ticked off the issues about which she is ticked off, because she says the Bush administration has failed to deal with them. They include health care, Social Security, Medicare and Iraq. The Bush administration has attempted to address all of these, but Democrats have blocked any progress. It's an old political trick. You work against success and then blame failure on the president.

The Clintons have a well-oiled political machine that neutralizes people who get in the way of their pursuit of wealth and power. Sen. Clinton sounded as if she is ready to haul out that machine again when she said, "I have never been afraid to stand up for what I believe in or to face down the Republican machine. After nearly $70 million spent against my campaigns in New York and two landslide wins, I can say I know how Washington Republicans think, how they operate, and how to beat them."

Media reports speak of this being the most "diverse" presidential race ever with a woman, (Clinton), a black (Obama) and a Hispanic (New Mexico's Bill Richardson). But this is not ideological diversity, as all are liberals. This race shouldn't be about race, gender, or ethnicity, but ideas. The big media, so far, have tossed Sen. Clinton softball questions. Handlers have been able to get away with limiting questions to pre-approved subjects. The public will demand more from her and the media in a presidential campaign.

There has never been a campaign like the one the country is about to experience. The focus should not be on gender or any other side issue, but on who is best qualified to defend the country against its many enemies, foreign and domestic.

Look for the dirtiest, meanest and most costly presidential campaign in history in pursuit of the answer.

- Cal Thomas is a columnist for Tribune Media Services.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 1 month ago

"They include health care, Social Security, Medicare and Iraq. The Bush administration has attempted to address all of these, but Democrats have blocked any progress. It's an old political trick. You work against success and then blame failure on the president."

This shows how absolutely detached from reality Cal is. Bush had Republican majorities in both houses of Congress for the first six years of his presidency. If he failed to implement his agenda, it wasn't the fault of Democrats.

Bush's life history is to screw up everything he touches. Sadly, this now includes his presidency.

Richard Heckler 11 years, 1 month ago

Middle Class can and should take absolute control of our government for the middle class is the most powerful influence on the USA planet. Remember the wealthy are only 1% of the population so middle class rules with votes and spending. A change in voting and financing of elections is the only way. Elected officials do not want change. USA citizens NEED change! No more special interest financing of campaigns.

We the people demand these issues be placed on the 2008 presidential ballot: National Healthcare for All

""Ironically, few Americans understand that a relatively small number of consumers, roughly 5 to 10 million have the economic power to severely damage the American and global economy. Spending cutbacks could be become contagious. Leaving out the working poor with little discretionary spending, the amount of discretionary spending by millions of middle class Americans with ample disposable income is sufficient to threaten economic growth and the economy. A major reason is that there is a large "multiplier" associated with consumer spending, meaning that every dollar spent has a large ripple or cumulative impact through various sectors of the economy. One person's spending is another's (actually many others') income. The multiplier can range from four to six. For example, cut consumer spending by $250 billion and it can easily reduce the national GDP by $1 trillion. If the middle class does not soon use its consumer spending power, it will surely lose it as its discretionary income evaporates, because the war against will be won by the Upper Class.

Economic civil disobedience for the foreseeable future has much more power to change our nation for the better than the political act of non-voting. The goal of the economic strategy is to obtain enough reforms and improvements in the political system to restore the effectiveness of voting at some later time. Now, in our perverse society, dollars are more powerful agents of change than votes. In truth, as has been evident for many years, we cannot vote ourselves out of a corrupt, oppressive and delusional democracy that uses military and economic weapons of mass devastation on a global scale for the benefit of elites, while pretending to be the world's best democracy. The truth of all this defines the case for a populist Second American Revolution. We must motivate some millions of Americans that are so fed up with current conditions that they will eagerly join a loose network of American Insurgents for Democracy, not fighting with weapons in the streets, but by withholding their dollars from the economy.""

drederick_tatum 11 years, 1 month ago

So its going to be the jihadis and the commies vs. Hillary Clinton. Whew..... I was worried there for a second.

budwhysir 11 years, 1 month ago

So, what is the range of middle class nowadays

budwhysir 11 years, 1 month ago

With the upcoming political debates, I find it interesting that we are trying to change the ways that politics are inacted. Politicaly speaking, when politics are inacted, there are several view points to be seen. Many we may disagree with, many others we may take into consideration.

Anyhow, if politics will become a dominate factor in our political society, we must follow, and become politicaly active in our political endevours. This includes but is not limited to our political correctness, our political assertivness and our political agreement.

All of this in a political sense will ensure a political correctness that will far exceed our political shortfalls.Politicaly speaking of course.

budwhysir 11 years, 1 month ago

RT I know the real truth and understand your position, if such a post should occur, I will be right here in your corner to help in your political speaking.

I think that some people just dont get where we stand in our political correctness. We will be ready to debate our stand point

budwhysir 11 years, 1 month ago

A clean campaign????? Not sure I have ever seen one. When looking at politics, things just wouldnt be the same without a little mud slinging. Politics is not a clean job. It is true that one must wear a three pc suit while working in an office, but keep in mind that there are plenty of people working behind the scene to keep things cleaned up.

Moderate politics will show that a clean race is very boring and nothing beats being able to find out what person was up to 15 years ago. Politicaly speaking

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