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Hillary In The Mail

I have to share a few great emails received in response to my post yesterday about Hillary's "electability." Longtime, left-leading reader RY argues that Hillary will fall short:

I haven't talked to one activist Democrat--not one!!--anywhere in America (and I'm pretty well connected and talk politics all the time) who thinks Hillary will win and will support her nomination. This is both pragmatic and ideological, but mostly the former. Liberal Dems will compromise, as you say, with a Warner or Bayh if they think those guys can win (they both have a lot of work to do to prove that) but NOBODY thinks Hillary can win no matter what she does. She just has too much baggage--so why lose with someone who is basically a centrist anyway because the country is convinced she's a liberal? (Beside the GOP will raise a half billion running against her and Bill--Lady Macbeth married to the AntiChrist).

Where Lehane is delusional is in his notion that interest groups will support her--not labor. She's a rich kid from the Illinois suburbs who was on the board of Walmart--she's never understood anything about class in America--except patronizingly toward the very poor, and, again, the same problem obtains: She can't win, so why help her get nominated? Some professional feminists will, of course, support her, but many shrewd rank and file feminists I know will not for the very same reason: She can't win. Bill might help her get a chunk of the African-American vote if she can last into the states with a large black voting%--but she lacks his charm and natural affinity with black audiences, so I don't think her hold on black voters will be as great as her husband.

Right now she's a money/hype machine, but I don't think she'll last past the end of March. Look for a name you haven't mentioned who will get strong labor and black support--as well as have a funding base--to give her and Warner a run from the left (but not the hopeless left, like Feingold): John Edwards.

Democrat BW agrees and also sings the praises of Edwards:

I agree for the most part that Hillary is unelectable in 2008. I also agree with the premise of your post that Democrats (like me) want someone who can win now more than ever. I think that you left out one red state Dem who needs to be remembered.

John Edwards would enter the Democratic primary with higher name recognition than the others that you mentioned (Bayh, Warner, or Vilsack). In addition, he has credibility with the Democratic base that Feingold doesn't have. He is probably to the left of Feingold on economic issues (especially when he talks about poverty). His problem in the Democratic primary will be the War in Iraq. He doesn't need to say that the war was a mistake, but if he can steal Joe Biden's talking points about how the post-invasion was mishandled, I think can win over most of the anti-war crowd. At the end of the day, the anti-war argument will be death to the Dems in the general.

Finally, on the other hand, conservative reader JJV says Hillary is unstoppable:

Given the way the Democrats run their primaries there is no way to stop Hillary for the nomination. She will begin as the frontrunner. She will have a tremendous organization in Iowa, but if Vilsak runs no one will expect her to win there and most candidates will abandon it. In New Hampshire she only has to match Kerry, not win. Thereafter, she will either 1) win outright or 2) come in second. The Democratic primaries are not winner take all. So in each state she will be amassing delegates. She will be the only woman in the race and can count on feminist support for that alone. She has Bill's connection to the mighty black constituency of the Democratic party. She will have at least some Labor. By the time the weeding process has knocked all but three out of the race she will be in the front of the pack and picking up at least 35% of the vote in every state. She will take New York in a landslide, Connecticut and New Jersey as well; and probably Illinois. Who is going to appeal to California more than she?

There is simply no way anyone can catch her after she wins a few big ones. The money and the men will not be there. Feingold can tap away at 10-15% of the hard left, Gore or Kerry (but not both) can garner similar numbers from the Left and Center, once one is weeded out. Warner and Bayh can dicker over the tiny moderate/conservative wing left in the party. Once one has been knocked out the other has 15% tops to play with. Again and again, the Lion's share will be Hillary's.

The super delegates will break her way. If she gets even half of them she wins. Amassing delegates is the name of this game. Given New York and its tri-state area as her base and mighty fortress geographically, the feminists and African-Americans demographically, and the fact that she is a celebrity as is her husband in an age that worships celebrity I would bet against Kim IL Jong II losing the next North Korean election before I would bet against Hillary losing the Democratic primary.

Political junkies all want it to be an interesting topsy-turvy primary but it won't be. Napoleon's dictum that God is on the side of the larger armies works in politics too. Hillary will lead her Grande Armee to victories uncounted, and find no Russia until McCain in the Fall.

Whether you agree with the analysis or not, that is a brilliant finish. If you've got thoughts on the matter, send 'em through.