Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Senator Clinton is not running for President

Nearly a year ago, I explained a few reasons why Hillary Clinton will keep her Senate seat as long as possible. The most persuasive reason for me is what I called the "sleaze factor": all of the abuses of power that the Clintons committed during the 1990's that the public hasn't found out about yet, but which will come out if she runs for President in 2008. Running for the Senate in 2000 was only the logical move for someone who spent the greater part of a decade keeping herself a few steps ahead of Ken Starr and the vast Right-Wing conspiracy. Her safe Senate seat is her refuge; think of it as a nice, comfortable villa on the far side of the Rubicon river.

As you might have expected, prominent liberals that discuss Hillary Clinton's chances in 2008 haven't quite given up on the Kool-Aid yet. Joe Klein of Time Magazine also wants to avoid a repeat of the 90's in 2008, although purely to avoid polarizing vitriol:

It would doubtless be a circus, a revisitation of the carnival ugliness that infested public life in the 1990s. Already there are blogs, websites and fund-raising campaigns dedicated to denigrating her. According to the New York Observer last week, these sites aren't getting much traffic—yet. But they will. I remember several conversations with Senator Clinton after her health-care plan was killed 10 years ago, and she was clearly pained—nonplussed by the quality of anger, the sheer hatred, directed against her. That experience would be a walk in the park compared to the vitriol if she ran for President. And while I'd love to see someone confront, and defeat, the free-range haters on the right, the last thing we need is a campaign that would polarize the nation even more. Indeed, we could use the exact opposite—a candidate who would inspire America's centrist majority to rise up against the extreme special interests in both parties.

Susan Estrich, on the other hand, just doesn't get it:
First, Hillary shouldn't run because it will bring out the haters. As if not bringing them out means that they don't exist, or as if giving in to them gives them less power. That's a really weak one. Hopefully, the right will stand up to its own haters. If they don't, the country will. Speaking in crass political terms, the haters help Hillary, they don't hurt her.
Give me a break! The implication that only a "hater" could view Hillary Clinton as anything other than the greatest, most honest and enlightened person in modern political history is completely ridiculous.


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