Democrats & Liberals Archives

She Swears She's Not Running

From the NY Times 1/18/03 Penned by my second only to Molly Ivins and who’s barely in front of Paul Krugman, favorite columnist Maureen Dowd

“Some contemporary writers and politicians have tried to dismiss the anguish of those years as an embodiment of 1960s self-indulgence. In fact, there are some people who would like to rewrite history to erase the legacy of the war and the social upheaval it spawned. They would have us believe that the debate was frivolous, but that’s not how I remember it.”

(I’d really enjoy reading some thoughts about my piece from the Republican side.)

Please read more.

Hillary knows that the Republicans wants their opponents to react to the conservative agenda. To debate on their terms. It's a classic forensic style. Make your opponent play on your turf by defining your opponent and the issues.

Republicans portray Democrats as the "intellectuals" who are a bunch know it alls and want to tell everyone how to live their life. We know that liberal political animals love to wax passionate about this program or that regulation. And we know they want to ban cigarettes, hamburgers and guns. Indeed the opposite is true, but the Republicans have defined their opponents.

Since Republicans know that liberals love to argue and explain endlessly why they are right, they push the buttons on all the issues about which Democrats feel so passionately. The Republicans have defined the terms of the debate.

Hillary knows this game and has yanked the chains of the Republicans by stating that the debate is about The Culture Wars and not all those boring issues that voters don't understand. She knows discussing The Culture Wars gets the Republicans hot under their starched white collars. Hillary can argue the '60's peace, equality and justice thing very well. She know it plays to her core and to fair minded, realistic middle and working class voters. She has also defined the neocon Bushies as mean old white men and separated them from moderate Republicans. Strategically, that allows support for some of her positions by moderate baby boomers who still have ideals about how our society should work and how we should treat each other as humans and US citizens.

She also knows that since she essentially supported the war and kept her mouth shut it will be difficult for the Bushies to label her as soft on terrorism. That helps with folks that the Bushies have scared the bejeezus out of, making them feel safe with her. Kind of maternal, I think.

Stylistically and politically Hillary is going down a different path than the other candidates. She is distinguishing herself from her primary opponents. While they make the public tired of listening to them fight among themselves, she'll be out there making the case that really matters.

She is defining the Republicans in ways people already understand and challenging them to debate the subject of her choice. Knowing how strongly Republicans feel about The Culture Wars and how they know what's right and good for this country, they will have a hard time controlling themselves and engage Hillary in that debate. They will lose.

Having had a little experience in debate and public speaking, I suspect Hillary is setting the Republicans up. If they go for the bait, and anything that comes out of the mouth of a Clinton is like fresh chum to Republicans, she could reel them in like a lifeless rubber boot.

Posted by grover at June 19, 2003 11:01 PM