How to beat Hillary in 2008
By Rachel Alexander
Republicans are looking toward 2008 with increasing unease. Hillary Clinton's name recognition gives her a towering edge over any other Republican or Democrat candidate. Americans are ready for a female president, and Hillary is a logical choice, having more visibility than even any potential male candidate.
Nevertheless, Hillary's ascendancy can be overcome. She is assured to win the Democratic primary, but will have problems winning the general election. Her principal weakness? She is conspicuously lacking in charisma. As we have learned progressively since the arrival of television, personality counts considerably in national elections. How else would little-known Bill Clinton have emerged as the Democratic frontrunner in 1992, beating out better-known Democrats like Bob Kerrey and Richard Gephardt? The Republicans learned their lesson and nominated George W. Bush next, whose folksy demeanor was arguably the determining factor in his races against Al Gore and John Kerry. Undecided voters and independents decide elections. Many do not follow politics closely, acquiring their information from news sound bites. A few television clips of Hillary Clinton droning in her monotone, schoolmarm voice about "the children" or government healthcare will tune out all but her most allegiant supporters.
It is puzzling why Hillary has not corrected this weakness. She must realize her husband's charm was responsible for his career advancement - and hers. One would think she would take classes on how to improve her appeal. She no longer has Bill's coattails to ride on; he can be little more than a shadow in the background when she runs for President. The reality is Hillary probably cannot change her disposition. She has a bitterness to her, an angriness, that she does not want to set aside. It is such a deep part of who she is that she is unwilling or incapable of suppressing it. It is part feminist resentment and part anger toward her husband for his infidelity and apparent ease obtaining success. She begrudges the fact that her advancement in politics is mostly a result of her connection to him. She cannot leave him, because he still opens doors for her that wouldn't otherwise be opened (he will secure the Democratic presidential nomination for her), and she cannot be sure her popularity will remain as high if she abandons him.
Hillary is predisposed to releasing her bitterness in careless remarks like "the vast right-wing conspiracy," describing the House of Representatives as "run like a plantation," criticizing women who stay at home "baking cookies" instead of pursuing a career like her, and praising the "white suburbs" of her youth. These offensive remarks only exacerbate voters' negative perception of her.
Hillary is generally a dislikable person. One never hears people exclaim, "I just love Hillary Clinton!" There is something disturbing about her that most people can't put their finger on. Those who observe Hillary regularly know what it is. As Carl Cannon in Washington Monthly put it, perhaps voters will realize that "her marriage is a sham, and…she's an opportunist." For Hillary, holding public office is not about principles - it is about status and power.
New York Times best-selling author Edward Klein quotes a Hillary insider, a former campaign staffer, in his book, The Truth About Hillary, "She has this unbelievable ability to be a liar. She is soulless." Dick Morris describes some of these lies in his book, Rewriting History. Hillary has lied about how she got her name, how she met Bill, and about Chelsea Clinton jogging near the World Trade Center Towers on 9-11. These weren't just exaggerations, or suspected mistruths, they were lies that have since been distinctly exposed. Hillary told reporters that she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest - but he didn't climb Mt. Everest until 1953, five and a half years after Hillary was born. Prior to that, he was an unknown beekeeper. Hillary has a problem telling the truth. This may not bother the consciences of her friends on the left, but it will disturb the swing voters in Middle America, who want honest leaders and the best for America.
There are other weaknesses of Hillary's that can be exploited as well. Hillary has tried to position herself toward the middle since becoming a Senator. Or has she? The liberal group Americans for Democratic Action gave her a 95 per cent rating in 2004, the same score as Barbara Boxer and socialist Representatives Jim McDermott and Bernie Sanders. The National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) gave her a 100 per cent rating in 2003. Her 2004 rating from the American Conservative Union? 0. She was one of only 10 Senators to receive a score of 0. Other Senators receiving 0 included Ted Kennedy, John Edwards, John Kerry, and Joe Lieberman. Hillary's lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union is 9 per cent. This is lower than Diane Feinstein's lifetime score of 11 per cent. It is only slightly higher than John Kerry's lifetime score of 5 per cent and socialist Bernie Sanders' lifetime score of 6 per cent.
Hillary received an 8 per cent rating in 2004 from Citizens Against Government Waste, the same rating as socialist Bernie Sanders', and lower than Ted Kennedy's and John Kerry's 25 per cent, as well as Barbara Boxer's 29 per cent. Hillary received a 10 per cent rating in 2005 from Americans for Tax Reform - the same score as Ted Kennedy. She received a score of 0 from the Christian Coalition in 2003, and a 14 per cent from the Family Research Council - the same score as Robert Byrd and Washington state's liberal feminist Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell. Hillary's 2003 score from the Eagle Forum was 13 per cent, just one point higher than socialist Bernie Sanders' 12 per cent, and the same as Barbara Boxer, Chuck Schumer, and Maria Cantwell.
Hillary favors universal healthcare, and when she was put in charge of it at the Clinton White House, failed miserably. She has received a 100 per cent rating from the American Public Health Association (APHA) for her pro-government health record in the Senate.
Hillary is not a moderate, she comes from the liberal wing of the Democrat party. Media reports that she has been trying to position herself more to the middle are simply incorrect. The only issue she has moved to the right on is Iraq, reflected in a few of her votes, which isn't saying much, since Democrats in Congress are divided on the presence of troops in Iraq. Other than Iraq, her record on foreign policy and defense is really quite liberal. The Committee for a SANE Nuclear Policy (SANE) gave Hillary a 100 per cent score in 2003 for a pro-peace voting record. She has voted for an international nuclear test ban treaty.
Her record on Israel is troubling. Although she has tried to pull back from her pro-Palestinian positions, because she is lacking in principles her maneuvering is seen as pandering for votes. It is hard to forget that Hillary was on the forefront of calling for the creation of a Palestinian state in 1998 - even before the Clinton White House had announced its support for one. As White House First Lady, she chose to attend a meeting of the Palestine National Council and praise Arafat. It is difficult to trust someone whose opinion on such a problematic issue swings from one extreme to the other.
A recent Fox News poll found that 44 per cent of registered voters expressed that "under no conditions" would they vote for Hillary. Only half as many voters said the same thing about Rudy Giuliani or John McCain. This leaves a lot of undecided voters that Hillary must pick up in order to win. Considering there are usually less than 10 per cent undecided voters in presidential elections, Hillary will not only have to pick up more than half of them, but 100 per cent of her Democratic base. In hypothetical matches polled, Giuliani beats Hillary by 11 percentage points, and McCain beats her by 13 percentage points. It is critical that Republicans put forth a candidate in 2008 with charisma. This is the decisive area in which they can beat Hillary. She can lie about her record, but she can't hide her sullen disposition in a sound bite.
Rachel Alexander is the founder of the wildly popular Intellectual Conservative.
Get weekly updates about new issues of ESR!
© 1996-2013, Enter Stage Right and/or its creators. All rights reserved.