Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Will Wonders Never Cease?

I take just about everything Dick Morris says with a grain of salt. When it comes to Hillary, my BS-meter on Morris goes up to a ton. Basically, everything that he's predicted about her politically since 2000 has been wrong.

After seeing him speak in front of a Young Republican group back in 2001, I realized that he had such a visceral hatred of HRC (and a commensurate psychological love/passion for Bill's political charisma) that he was unable to separate his analytic abilities from his emotional involvement in the Clinton universe.

Anyway, even a stopped clock is right once a day. Morris strikes me as being exactly right in his view on why Democrats appear to be lining up behind Hillary:
Democrats today are seeking a warrior, a gladiator, not a president when they cast their ballots in their primaries and caucuses. Angered by the so-called defeat of 2000 and scarred by the upset of 2004, there is an intensity to their desire to win that dwarfs all other emotions and
considerations. They are not nominating a president. They are nominating a candidate. They are not interested in the credentials of a possible president in selecting their standard-bearer; they seek the characteristics of a fighter, a combatant, one who will win.

Hillary’s demonstrated ability to overcome adversity and triumph is the quality that most appeals to Democrats. Were she to star in a reality TV show, it would be “Survivor.” She has taken the worst the Republican machine can deal and overcome it. She has mastered the Karl Roves of our politics and earned the affection of her party’s voters for doing so.

Her battle scars are her accolades. Her ability to come back from Gennifer Flowers, healthcare reform, the loss of Congress, the grand jury subpoenas of Kenneth Starr, the denouement of the truth about Lewinsky, the ensuing impeachment, the carpetbagger issue as she journeyed to New York, the pardon and White House gifts scandals and her early support of the war in Iraq are the real items in her résumé that interest her party’s voters. They care less what kind
of president she would be and more that she probably can become the president.

When she says she can “hit the ground running,” she pretends that she is addressing her vast public policy experience. But it is irrelevant that she was in the White House for eight years. So was the pastry chef. But what is relevant, and inescapable, is that she did lead the president’s crusade to overcome the efforts of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” to bring him down, and
it is that experience which endears her to the base.

The "pastry chef" line, by the way, is a good example of Morris' psycho-babble when it comes to Hillary. He wants to have it both ways: Half his columns are about her power-hungry nature and how she screwed up health-care reform; the other half dismiss her as the functional equivalent of the White House pastry chef. NO first lady is that irrelevant/dismissable in a modern White House -- and Morris knows it.

Still, that aside, Morris' overall point is quite correct: Democrats want competence in their candidate -- not the sort of competence that might contrast with the "heckuva job, Brownie" of the current administration, but the competence needed to take hard hits in the campaign and return fire. Democrats believe that neither Al Gore nor John Kerry had that ability to know when they were under attack and respond to it. They think Hillary does.

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