President Hillary Clinton! Did that get your attention?

Never underestimate your enemy. That is the most dangerous thing that a person can do in any adversarial context. Disturbingly, this is exactly what many opponents of Hillary Clinton have done in casually brushing off her chances of becoming our next president.

The superficial logic supporting this position goes like this: only the most partisan and out-of-touch people (read: Democratic primary voters) could ever support someone like Hillary and she will never be able to win the general election. This position seems to be bolstered by the contrast between the radical Senator from New York and the extremely moderate nature of the current front runners for the Republican primary.

This position has been popular among conservatives since Hillary's presidential ambitions first became transparent long ago. Far from being the ignorant banter of college undergrads engaged in their insufferable and intransigent debates, nationally known authors and talking heads have voiced their collective opinion that a Hillary primary win means a Republican victory in the election that matters. For example, earlier this year Michael Medved succinctly described her as "eminently beatable."

The fatal flaw in this reasoning is that it was all heard years ago when Hillary first announced her intention to run for Senate. A 1999 Wall Street Journal headline reads: "New York GOP Welcomes Hillary Clinton Race."* The article goes on to describe the joy with which state party leaders greeted news of the out-of-state first lady's entry into the race. This seems downright foolhardy in hindsight but every day this type of hubris is still spewing from influential conservatives.

Although the 2008 presidential race is still in its infant stages, there is already much about which to be concerned for Hillary's opponents. She has held a steady lead in the polls of Democratic voters since the beginning. Another popular fallacy is that her campaign has lost steam and will soon be overrun by the legions of young voters supporting Barak Obama. While it is true that the freshman Senator from Illinois has come the closest of all Democrats to unseating Hillary from her perch on the top, in reality he has only challenged her in terms of poll numbers on a limited number of occasions.

Obama's poor performance in the candidate debates has hurt his image as a silver tongued statesman and his lack of a policy agenda (other than surrendering in Iraq) has turned away even more people. Hillary, on the other hand, carefully scripts and rehearses every statement she makes and is currently supporting whatever policies are most likely to get her elected.

If Clinton really were on a continuous downward slope she would have fallen behind in the race and descended to the status of also-ran. Instead Hillary Clinton's political career resembles the mythological Hydra; every time it finally seems defeated it emerges anew with redoubled ferocity. Only this time, Hercules has his back turned.

It has been 17 months since Senator Lindsey Graham warned that "those who underestimate Hillary Clinton do so at their own peril." It seems that few have heeded this warning. Reasonable politicos have had 8 years to get real about the potent potential of the Hillary machine. It is long past time that we all stop underestimating Hillary Clinton and start facing the very real prospect of Hillary Clinton being inaugurated President of the United States in January 2009.

* (Cummings, Jeanne. "New York GOP Welcomes Hillary Clinton Race." Wall Street Journal - Eastern Edition 233.35 (22 Feb. 1999): A20. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 9 October 2007.)

Posted by Andrew Breza at October 8, 2007 8:08 PM
Comments
Comment #235624

As you can probably guess from my own post, I agree that Republicans “misunderestimate” Clinton at their peril. There is a real analogy to how liberals used to think about Bush. It was hard for us to accept that a lot of people didn’t see him as a fool. (Now most people do, but it’s too late…) This time, the shoe is really on the other foot. Republicans think Hillary is an unlikable witch, but there is little evidence that other people agree with them.

Posted by: Woody Mena at October 8, 2007 8:23 PM
Comment #235625

Welcome Andrew.

I sometimes wonder why those on the right feel the need to be confrontational when it comes to describing any opponent from the left.
Why is it that the right sees the left as the enemy and vis-a-versa?
I truly don’t get this.
And unless the Republicans find some wonder-boy of their own, Hilliary may just pull this off.

I also don’t get that any reference to Iraq that isn’t in lock-step with the Republican agenda of wasting human lives and capital that we (America) doesn’t have, is for surrender.
Those on the right seem less interested in actually winning the war, and doing whatever it might take to do so, than they are in not losing.

Posted by: Rocky at October 8, 2007 8:28 PM
Comment #235626

“and the extremely moderate nature of the current front runners for the Republican primary.”

HAHAHAHAH!!! Thanks for the good laugh.

Posted by: Richard Rhodes at October 8, 2007 8:28 PM
Comment #235627

It’s a strange world in which a corporate-centrist like Hillary Clinton can be described as a radical.

Posted by: Gerrold at October 8, 2007 8:53 PM
Comment #235632

Really Andrew
I am with Gerrold. HC is the most conservative Dem out there. Name one radical position she has taken.She is pro-choice.That is the law of the land. She thinks that sooner or later(mostly later) we should get out of Iraq. Her healthcare proposal keeps insurance companies involved,etc. etc.Radical she ain’t. Outside of a fear of powerful women ,why is the right so terrified? Personally,she does not get my primary vote because she is too centrist. The solutions to our major problems do not lie in the middle of the road. I doubt if you will like the direction we need to take to solve them.Beyond that I will enter a pact with you to not vote for anyone from New York in the primary.

Posted by: BillS at October 8, 2007 10:03 PM
Comment #235635

Gee Woody,

Could it just be that your party is always wrong? Meaning, G.W. Bush was an idiot, and Hillary will make a good president? Cuz, like, she’s not? :-)

Posted by: Max at October 8, 2007 10:27 PM
Comment #235636

The American Conservative Union, which bases its evaluations on congressional votes, gives the following ratings to Republican contenders:

Tancredo 97.8
Brownback 94
Hunter 92
Fred Thompson 86
McCain 82.3
Ron Paul 82.3

Romney, Giuliani, & Huckabee do not have ratings, since they have not served in Congress.

“Extremely moderate”? What an utterly ridiculous statement. If anyone can back up the application of the term “moderate” to the Republican contenders, please provide evidence. Good luck with that!

Giuliani comes closest. On social issues, he is pretty much in synch with moderates and even liberals. However, his stand on Iraq is out of touch with what the majority of Americans want. I realize politicians all bring their own baggage to the table, occasions of personal failures, character flaws, and so on, but by the standards of many people, the character and personal history of Rudy Giuliani is pretty objectionable.

Hillary Clinton is the “enemy”? What on earth?

Her congressional voting record is liberal, but a few notable votes, stands, & statements cast her as the most centrist/moderate of the Democratic field. In addition, she is raising enormous amounts of money, primarily from corporatists.

Anyone watching debates cannot help but note that Hillary conducts herself very, very well. She is poised and intelligent, and as much as her triangulating approach pains me, she manages to project a “presidential” aura in public.

No, I do not want to see her as the Democratic nominee. No, I will not vote for her in a primary.

But since Republicans seem incapable of running a viable candidate, and since they seem incapable of raising money (with the exception of Romney, who has significantly funded his own run), it is easy to see how Clinton could win.

Posted by: phx8 at October 8, 2007 10:51 PM
Comment #235641

“Yawn”!

I oppose Hillary because she is another Clinton.

I’d oppose any of W’s relatives because they are his relatives.

This is not a monarchy!

We don’t have royalty!

There is no king or queen!

Now, convince the electorate of that!

Lindsey Lohan or Paris Hilton would be front-runners if they entered the race tomorrow!

Posted by: KansasDem at October 8, 2007 11:58 PM
Comment #235666

Andrew, your concerns over Hillary being elected President are well founded. After all, the same voters that elected and reelected GW Bush are going to be voting again. That means another monumentally huge mistake like Hillary is very possible. Good article.

I personally believe on the peripheral issues she would be a considerably better President than GW Bush. But on the issues that really matter to America’s future, economy, debt, health care inflation, campaign financing, the 2 party grip on the electoral process, and making safety nets sustainable, she will be a monumental failure. The one area where she is likely to be a vast improvement on major issues is in foreign policy. But, forget about national security. She thinks they are one and the same, and that is foolish in the extreme.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 9, 2007 9:41 AM
Comment #235669

“Centrist” to a Republican means anti-abortion, pro-war, Southern Baptist NRA member. By that measure, Romney is left-leaning and Guiliani is practically a heathen. Everything is a matter of perspective. :-)

I shed a bitter tear over the slow, quiet death of Obama’s campaign. I agree with Mr. Remer that Hillary is far too centrist/corporate for me, and he would have been a breath of fresh air. I haven’t quite given up hope, but let’s put it this way: I’m a Cub fan, I never give up hope.

On a serious note, I have to disagree with Andrew’s basic theme. I think that Hillary running will actually improve conservative voter turnout, since there is still so much bottled-up rage at her husband on the Right. I think the general election will be much closer than most people think. That is, unless Guiliani is nominated. The hard-core Christian Right dislikes him enough that they may just skip voting . Choosing between a three-time divorcee, pro-choice, pro-gay Republican and Billary might cause them to burst into flame.

L

Posted by: leatherankh at October 9, 2007 10:41 AM
Comment #235691

Leatherankh… yep… bottled up rage at Hill from the left, you may be correct… and I think there may be enough bottled up rage from the left to make that a wash.

It is the independent vote that will decide this election… I just wish they knew the power we have!

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at October 9, 2007 2:53 PM
Comment #235692

or cared…

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at October 9, 2007 2:55 PM
Comment #235709

What the voters of this country expect more than anything else is to see positive indication that our government has a plan for redeployment of our troops. If that does not happen between now and election time and Hillary gets the dem nod she will be a shoo in. The republicans will be viewed as obstructionists with an agenda leaning far from the wishes of the people. This characterization currently exists in the minds of many voters. If it is prolonged it most likely will be the confirming catalyst needed to guarantee that Hillary will be our next president. Not necessarily because she is the best candidate but because she is the one with the most money that is getting the most positive press.

I would guess that the larger percentage of voters are politically lazy and tend to lean towards the most advertised candidate and the one they might consider the lesser of two evils. The amount of people who actually study the candidates and educate themselves as to who would be in their view the best candidate is most likely a very small percentage. Causing their vote to be of little consequence in the total scheme of things. Taking into consideration the latter along with the moral, ethical, and functional failings of the last seven years of republican rule, things do not look to bode well for the republican party, period.

Posted by: RickIL at October 9, 2007 6:10 PM
Comment #235940

For Release 9 a.m. EDT

October 03, 2007

Voters Only Care About Giuliani, Clinton and Obama

Leading Emotional Response Polling Used to Predict Candidate Viability

GAINESVILLE, FL — October 3, 2007 — More voters feel that former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is the “hottest” presidential candidate, according to a new type of non-verbal poll conducted by the leading company for predicting consumer behavior based on “Emotional Temperature.” Only Giuliani, Sen. Hilary Clinton and Sen. Barak Obama arouse enough visceral excitement in voters to sustain them through the long primary process, concludes the SenseUS™ poll conducted by AdSAM® and Itracks, conducted September 15-21, 2007.

“Our poll correctly shows how intensely voters feel about each candidate, both positively and negatively,” said Jon Morris, PhD, president of AdSAM® and professor of advertising at the University of Florida. “Giuliani leads all candidates in terms of Emotional Strength, which is most important now to the GOP as only 31% of Republican voters are enthusiastic or excited about their party”

Proven Method for Disproving Conventional Wisdom

The viability of former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is called into question by the poll. Although he performs strongly in many traditional preference polls, 56% of Republicans feel “ambivalent” or “uninterested/unexcited” about him.

“To sustain a long campaign, a candidate must inspire strong feelings in voters,” Morris said. “In addition to Giuliani, Obama and Clinton, the only other candidates to register positive Emotional Temperature were Sen. John McCain and former senators Fred Thompson and John Edwards.”

The SenseUs™ candidate poll used the same AdSAM® methodology the company employed in 2006 to prove that ads that use sexy models in national women’s magazines are not compelling or effective at motivating female readers to buy. To measure the Emotional Response the participants were asked “How does (name of each candidate)make you feel? . The participants were then shown three rows of manikins – an icon-like figure - that represented their emotional reaction. Then they were asked to select one on each row. The first group of manikins represented pleasure, the second arousal or engagement, and the third control or dominance.

What Most Polls Miss

According to Dr. Morris, most polls focus heavily on rationale measures, which only reveal half the story, as every human response is a combination of rational and emotional processing. Previously, the AdSAM® method has been used in over 600 proprietary studies worldwide and incorporated into research of many FORTUNE 500 companies.

About AdSAM®:

AdSAM® specializes in Emotional Response measurement. The cross cultural technique has been used in over 26 countries in communications, marketing and other research.

About Itracks:

Itracks is a leading provider of data collection for market research. Information on the company and industry trend summaries are at www.itracks.com and www.itracksnews.com.

Media Contact:

For a copy of the Executive Summary of the SenseUs poll please contact Conrad Morris at (800) 563-8654 or email conradmorris@adsam.com

Posted by: Conrad Morris at October 12, 2007 10:36 AM
Comment #235974

She’ll be the Democratic Presidential nominee; however, there’s no way This “woman” is going to get through to 50% of the American people (taxpayers).

Posted by: rahdigly at October 12, 2007 2:02 PM
Comment #236106

Woody,
If all you Dems think Bush is an idioit (and he is not)just wait until Hillary is elected(God forbid), and you will find what a true idiot really is.
Diane

Posted by: Diane at October 14, 2007 10:32 PM
Comment #236141

rahdigly,
“there’s no way This “woman” is going to get through to 50% of the American people (taxpayers).”

You almost got it right. There is no way “this” woman will be president. The public already sees her as the megalomaniac she is. For her, it’s all about power.

Posted by: Snardius at October 15, 2007 1:11 PM
Comment #238551

OBAMA CAPTURING HEARTS OF INDEPENDENT VOTERS, CLINTON’S NEGATIVES SURFACE AS DISGUST; GIULIANI MILDLY POLARIZING

Gainesville, FL., November 16, 2007 ¾ With the Independent voters representing a strong and uncommitted population, many frontrunners have more work to do to create a positive emotional impact to get elected. Hillary Clinton has strongly polarized these voters. Approximately 21 percent feel Disgusted and another 15 percent Uninterested/Unexcited toward her. On the other hand, Barack Obama’s negatives are cast more as Ambivalence.

On the positive side, both Obama and Clinton produce nearly equal percentages of Interested/Excited and Warmly Accepting feelings among Independent Voters. They both have just over 30 percent.

This is according to SenseUS™ Emotional Response Polling that measures the emotional connection between potential voters and presidential candidates. The SenseUS™ survey uses tools specifically designed to accurately measure how voters feel about the candidates. These feelings are leading indicators of voter behavior.

Independents, who account for about 30 percent of the electorate, expressed excitement over Obama’s desire to withdraw troops from Iraq because it makes his opinions very transparent. However, these same voters also expressed concern that he is not ready to be president.

Overall, Independent voters favor the Democratic candidates and party over the Republicans (see SenseUs™ Emotional Temperature®). There is not one Democratic candidate they like less than the Republican Party.

“Interestingly, the same survey method used here to gauge feelings of Independents, predicted a few months ago that Rudy Giuliani would close the gap between himself and Clinton with voters overall, something that more traditional polls have only started to show recently,” said Jon Morris, PhD, president of AdSAM® and professor at the University of Florida.

While most polls show Giuliani in the lead over other Republican candidates, SenseUs™ reports that Independents have more intensely negative feelings about him, 15 percent, than other Republican candidates. John McCain and Fred Thompson produced negative feelings below 10 percent.

Giuliani’s ability to produce Interested/Excited and Warmly/Accepting feelings among Independents is at 19%. This is 10 points below Clinton and Obama. Creating feelings of interest and warmth will require that Giuliani turn on the charm and reinforce positions on issues favorable to Independents.

According to Dr. Morris, “other polls are asking potential voters to predict their behavior well in advance, something that many are not ready to do. SenseUs™ focuses on emotional reactions, something that is contemporaneous.”

In addition to using this emotional response technique for many FORTUNE 500 companies, Morris and his colleagues have been investigating the brain’s ability to process emotion. This procedure incorporates the AdSAM® technique and fMRI or functional magnetic resonance imaging to detect emotional activity in the brain.

SenseUS™ uses the AdSAM® technique of emotional response and the Itracks gathering system. Full results and analysis of these findings and previous results, are posted on the SenseUS’ blog: www.SenseUS.net .

###


Posted by: jon morris at November 16, 2007 5:21 PM
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