Mark your calendars. There are now 300 shopping days until Christmas and 980 politicking days until the 2008 Presidential election. Despite the lack of imminence of either event, people are already shopping and politicking. (Is there really much of a difference? Caveat emptor.) According to crack political strategist (which is no more than a political strategist on crack), Karl Rove, â€œanybody who thinks that [Hillary Clintonâ€™s] not going to be the [Democratic] candidate is kidding themselves.â€? This quote comes from a recent book by Bill Sammon called Strategery: How George W. Bush Is Defeating Terrorists, Outwitting Democrats, and Confounding the Mainstream Media. (Sammon, who does not swim upstream, is senior White House correspondent for the Washington Times and a political analyst at Fox News, which should tell you something about his political leanings.)
Roveâ€™s comments about Hillary Clinton apparently irked the Senator, as she fired back by alleging during a recent radio interview that the Presidentâ€™s advisor â€œspends a lot of time obsessing about me.â€? Be that as it may, his suggestion that Ms. Clinton was the likely Democratic nominee seems less a prognostication and more a calculated hope. Having helped George W. Bushâ€”despite his many shortcomingsâ€”attain the highest office in the land not once but twice, Rove has learned that the means to such ends is being mean, sullying the opposition and using innuendo and misinformation to alarm the electorate and sway their vote. It worked against Gore and Kerryâ€”who, granted, did not do much to aid their own causeâ€”and it will likely work against Senator Clinton, whose very name unsettles middle America and whose equivocating positions on the war in Iraq, abortion, and other issues make her decidedly vulnerable to future attack. It is not just those, like Rove, on the far right side of the aisle that recognize Clintonâ€™s weaknesses. Many on the left are voicing their displeasure with the Senator, as well. Molly Ivins wrote a column a few weeks back in which she said the following:
Enough. Enough triangulation, calculation and equivocation. Enough clever straddling, enough not offending anyone. This is not a Dick Morris election. Sen. Clinton is apparently incapable of taking a clear stand on the war in Iraq, and that alone is enough to disqualify her. Her failure to speak out on Terry Schiavo, not to mention that gross pandering on flag-burning, are just contemptible little dodges.
Ivins goes on to talk about the need for and paucity of â€œreal leadershipâ€? in the Democratic Party. It is difficult to argue with her. Aside from such diamonds-in-the-rough as Russ Feingold (whom, in a previous post, I expressed support for), the Democrats would seem to have little of substance to offer other than â€œweâ€™re not those guys.â€? The time has come for a candidate who has the courage to stand on their principles and speak the truth, even if it may be unpopular to some. Hillary Clinton and Karl Rove are betting that the centrist-pandering leadership in the Democratic Party wonâ€™t have the stomach for such a candidate. Letâ€™s prove them wrong. The future of this great democracy depends on it.