Patterico's Pontifications


Asymmetrical Votefare

Filed under: Accepted Wisdom,Politics — Dafydd @ 4:33 am

Accepted wisdom: the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination is Hers for the asking.

But what if it isn’t? Why should it be? What magic quality would She have to raise herself above all those who have hewed more wood and hauled more water than She, for many more years than She, and to much greater effect?

In other words — why Hillary?

Let’s start with the obvious: she is a senator. Senators of course get nominated (set the Wayback Machine far, far into the mists of the past, all the way back to 2004). But you must have noticed they don’t win. Only two candidates since 1900 have gone from the Senate, with no “higher” office (governor, vice president, conquering general) to the presidency: Warren G. Harding and John F. Kennedy. (By election, I mean; Gerald Ford is an anomaly.)

Both were heavier hitters than Hillary Rodham: Harding was a major force in Ohio politics for many years, serving in the state Senate and as Lt. Governor and running unsuccessfully for governor before being elected to the U.S. Senate; and Kennedy, of course, was the surviving scion of one of the most politically powerful and connected dynasties in Massachusetts and was a hero of World War II.

By contrast, Hillary’s resume is that she is married to the guy who used to be president, and she carpetbagged her way into the Senate with a lot of help from her husband’s political and fundraising machine. And she has a creepy brother. Every element of her earlier biography has that same asterisk attached: “oh, but of course she was the governor’s wife.”

Second, we no longer have a primary vote in this country; we have votefare, where warring factions each put up a candidate and then battle it out in mudslogging, muckraking trench warfare. And on the Democratic side, the votefare is quite asymmetrical: one very small but shrill tail wags the entire yellow dog.

This muscular faction is of course the left-liberal anti-Bush anti-Iraq pro-gay-marriage pro-abortion pro-tax pro-U.N. International ANSWER Move-On Soros-heads — oh, call them the Aggrieved, just for short. Since their guy lost the primary last year to the senator who went on to lose persuasively to George Bush, the Aggrieved have started foaming at the mouth. They insist that Kerry lost precisely because he did not articulate the tinfoil conspiracy campaign of the Fahrenheit 9/11 mob… and they are in no mood to settle once again for someone who tries to run away from her essenential liberalness.

I do not believe Hillary will be the candidate of the Aggrieved; whatever she may have done as president of the Legal Services Corporation (for which hold your nose and read David Brock’s the Seduction of Hillary Rodham), what has she done for the Left lately? She has tacked so far to starboard, she’s trying to right-flank George W. Bush on the Iraq war and on immigration.

I think they’ll want Dean again (slogan: if at first you don’t succeed, slime, slime again). The accepted wisdom (there it is again!) is that Dean cannot run for president because he is the chairman of the DNC. But why should anyone imagine that Dean, who is only slightly less meglomaniacal and narcissistic than that guy from Arizona, would be gentlemanly or even fair about it?

Besides, the way things are going, he may not even be chairman of the DNC come this November, let alone three years from now. If not Dean, the Aggrieved hyperfaction may pick a Barbara Boxer or even a hyperventilating Al Gore… he has certainly been auditioning for the role in every speech since December 2000. Or they could just cut out the middleman and pick Michael Moore. (Slogan: he won’t fight the world, he’ll swallow it!)

The candidate of the Aggrieved will self destruct, of course. He always does. But if he has the decency to self-destruct before the big primaries, the path will be opened for a nominee from one of the minifactions. But our heroine fares little better on this votefare front.

If Hillary won’t be the Soros-Wing candidate, neither will she be the candidate of the moderate wing of the Democratic Party, which is actually more of a moderate pinfeather: that honor still belongs to Joe Lieberman, or perhaps Joe Biden, if they insist upon a senator named “Joe.” If the pinfeather faction is smart, it will push a successful Southern Democratic governor instead — Phil Bredesen (TN), Mike Easley (NC), Mark Warner (VA), or Antonio Villaraigosa (governor of Southern California). The pinheads are certainly not going to hitch their little, blue wagons to a woman with negatives higher than Oliver Cromwell in 1661, when his deceased body was exhumed and posthumously executed.

Finally, there are the liberal stalwarts. Teddy Kennedy (of the liquifaction) is too old and pickled, of course; but there is still the senior senator from New York, Charles Schumer… and no way will Teddy diss Chuck by picking the junior senator from New York. Besides, she can’t hold her liquor.

So I don’t think I’m going as far out on a limb as the AW would indicate by predicting that Hillary Rodham Clinton will not be the Democratic nominee for president in 2008. Or ever, for that matter.

25 Responses to “Asymmetrical Votefare”

  1. …And before any of you ask, yes, of course I know that Ford never served in the Senate. But he went from the House to the presidency without ever having been elected president. Or vice president, for that matter. He’s the poster boy for “how to succeed in politics without really trying.” That’s all I meant.


    Dafydd (df2f54)

  2. Because she is everything the feminazi left wants and they will be sure the rest of the Left will fall in line. It’s called politics.

    Howard Veit (baba22)

  3. Nearly everyone takes for granted that Hillary’s move to the right is vintage-Clinton triangulation. The aggrieved faction assumes that she’s lying – which of course, she is.

    They’ll support her for that reason, and for the same reason that they supported the previous fake-moderate Democrat. They believe she can win. They also share a narcissistic Camelot fantasy of the Bill Clinton presidency, which they are dying to relive.

    And while it’s true that senators don’t win, they do get nominated. Hillary will probably folow that pattern.

    lyle (9627b4)

  4. My aunt worked in the White House for 15 years as a volunteer. She claimed that Hillary Clinton was the meanest most viscious human being she ever met. They set up a system to track where Hill was in the WH so they could not be there when she arrived. So this is what we want for 8 years – I hope not.

    Ray Simpson (75a3b5)

  5. Gerald Ford is even less than an anomaly (with no disrespect intended to the man). Mr. Ford was not a Senator when he was appointed VP, he was the Republican Minority leader in the House of Representatives.

    Thus, your case is even stronger than you realized.

    rjlippincott (30e043)

  6. Whoops! Overlooked that first note. Clever, hiding it there to see who reads all the way to the bottom…

    rjlippincott (30e043)

  7. I would guess when you factor in the available field of Democratic governors, eg Rendell, Richardson, who will actually have some accomplishments to trade on, her chances get even slimmer.

    PS style note: In the right wing blogosphere, The Junior Senator from New York is referred to as “Hillary!” You’ve got to have that perky, overcaffeinated urgency affixed to Hillary’s! name.

    See Dubya (584c93)

  8. Sorry, but I don’t agree with Patternico’s analysis. Here is why.

    First, during the Cold War (at least while the biparty concensus on how to fight that war existed) all but one of our Presidents (Truman, Kennedy, Johnson & Nixon) were former Senators, and were Senators immediately before their election to President or Vice President. During the Cold War, the Senate provided an opportunity to gain experience and stature as a war time leader. Post 9/11, any serious Democrat needs credibility on foreign policy to make a serious run for the White House. It didn’t work for Kerry, but that’s because he spent so much of his time in the Senate grandstanding for discredited leftist causes like nuclear freeze and appeasing the Sandanistas Hillary hasn’t done that, at least yet.

    Second, Hillary is perfectly positioned to wrap up the nomination. She is far and away the preferred candidate of the establishment and she is generally acceptable to both the Lieberman/ TNR faction and to the MooreOn faction. Patternico’s right that she’s clearly not the preferred choice for either group, but history has shown that this kind of “inch deep mile wide” support is far more likely to lead to victory than passionate support from a limited faction. Look at Bob Dole in 1996. Even after he stumbled in New Hampshire (and Delaware and Arizona), supporters of his rivals eventually drifted back to him to keep the faction they opposed more from securing power.

    The MooreOn faction has power and influence, and if there were no candidate of Hillary’s statute, they’d probably be able to ram their preferred candidate down the party’s throats, but if they want to do it in 2008, they’ll have to declare war on Hillary which, if they lost anyway, would get them expelled from the party. I think the MooreOns are going to put up only token opposition to her and focus on pulling her to the left, and wait till 2012 or 2016, when they’ll have a wide open field, to push their preferred candidate.

    Sean P (256007)

  9. ::What magic quality would She have to raise herself above all those who have hewed more wood and hauled more water than She, for many more years than She, and to much greater effect?::

    But she stayed married to Bill Clinton all those years, which made him a viable candidate for President, and was surely hewing a lot of wood and hauling a lot of water.

    DeputyHeadmistress (e71725)

  10. Sorry, but I don’t agree with Patternico’s analysis. Here is why.

    The real reason is that it isn’t my analysis. It’s Dafydd’s.

    Guest poster.

    Patterico (e1f9fc)

  11. Hey, Dafydd, it’s good to see you’re coming along on your website….

    TAZZ (6cefd4)

  12. On tradesports Hillary Clinton is the big favorite for the 2008 Democratic nomination at 46.8 bid, 48.7 asked (the numbers correspond to % winning chances). Next is Mark Warner at 10.6-12. So it appears the accepted wisdom is supported by people willing to back their predictions with money.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  13. Bill and Hillary Clinton were driving through Arkansas. They stopped at a full-service gas station and noticed the attendant who filled their tank was a man they’d both known many years back. In fact he’d once proposed to Hillary.

    Bill turned to his wife and said, “Aren’t you glad you married me instead of him? After all I became president and he’s just a gas station attendant.”

    Hillary said, “So what? If I’d married him, he’d have become president.”

    It’s a mistake to underestimate Hillary Clinton. We have a president now who didn’t have much of a resume before becoming governor, and was famous by association. If you can persuade people to vote for you, none of that other stuff matters in the final analysis.

    steve M. (91c49a)

  14. I’ll go Patterico one better. I bet that it’s Deano or Gore that gets the nod. Hillary is already having fundraising problems, whatever you say about Deano or Gore, they can tap the deep deep pockets of Moveon, Soros, Geffen, the other big fundraisers like nothing else. Plus Deano’s got the kool aide drinkers. Haha so much fun.

    ALREADY people are complaining about Hillary criticizing Grand Theft Auto the videogame (she objected to the kill the hooker bit for extra points), her support for the Iraq War, and much else. Bill’s sick, he may not be with us much longer, without Bill to smooth things over Hillary rubs people EXACTLY the wrong way in private and in public. She has to get past New Hampshire, Iowa, and the Super Tuesday votes, that’s going to be tough when activist Dems who control those votes make anti-War on Terror, Gay Marriage, and extreme social liberalism their pet causes. Heck Indy Media held a FLAG BURNING ceremony during Memorial Day, have another planned for the Fourth.

    In the general election, Hillary has too much baggage (she’s dislikable) and the Democratic Party will impose it’s anti-War orthodoxy on her. Another big terrorist attack on us, seriously would ANYONE vote for a Democrat? Much less Political Calculation Squared aka Hillary?

    One final thought. Kerry is thinking of running again. He has unlimited funds with his wife’s billions, we might see more of Kerry than we hoped. He might be the Democrat’s Nixon.

    Jim Rockford (e09923)

  15. The only way Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee is if the Dems REALLY want to lose.

    Dan Williams (4600b3)

  16. And to be more specific, only Harding and Kennedy were elected while serving as Senator, back to 1789.

    Kevin Murphy (6a7945)

  17. Sean P:

    To my knowledge, Richard Nixon was serving in the House of Representatives when Eisenhower made him his running mate (in 1952), and never served in the Senate. As for Truman And Johnson, while both were Senators before they became President, neither was elected DIRECTLY from the Senate to the White House. In fact neither was originally elected President; they both succeeded Presidents who died in office (FDR and JFK, respectively).

    fatman (6a2ec4)

  18. One problem with comparing Saint Hillary with any other previous Senator running for Pres; Hillary went to the Senate in order to run for Pres.
    So her votes will have been cast with that in mind.
    I don’t like her, but she knows politics.

    She and Bill were driving in Chicago when they stopped to get gas. The guy pumping the gas turned out to be an ex-boyfriend of Hillary’s. Bill said, “See, if you had married him you would be married to a gas station attendant.” Hillary replied, “No, if I had married him I would be married to the President of the United States.”

    Veeshir (d4339d)

  19. fatman: According to this website (ttp://, Nixon was elected to the US Senate in 1950. If memory serves, he defeated a female US Senator McCarthy had dubbed “the pink lady” for her supposed communist sympathies. According to this bio, after he won the US Senate seat he was appointed to fill out the vacancy of a DIFFERENT US Senate Seat from December 1, 1950 to January 1, 1951 (which I had never heard before).

    As far as Johnson and Truman, my point was that they went from the Senate to the Vice-Presidency — not the Presidency directly — and that their profile in the Senate was in large part what got them the nod.

    Dafydd: My apologies. Disagreement with your analysis is one thing, but attributing it to the wrong source was a mistake.

    Sean P (256007)


    Politics keeps the Clinton & Clinton merger going.

    Kitty Litter (59ce3a)

  21. Nixon was elected to the House in 1946. (BTW, Gen. George Patton was thinking of retiring from the Army and running for that seat when he died.) In 1950 Nixon was elected to an open Senate seat, against Rep. Helen Gahagan Douglas, a former actress. The seat was open due to the retirement of Sen. Sheridan Downey, who was 76 years old.

    Downey resigned the seat a month before the end of the term, allowing California Gov. Earl Warren to appoint Nixon as his replacement. This has been done many times, because it allows the incoming Senator to gain seniority over other new Senators who take office at the start of the new term. Downey was also in poor health.

    Rich Rostrom (959122)

  22. (sorry) keep Senator Clinton from being the party’s choice in ’08 has nothing to do with interparty politics. She will bee embroiled in a legal scandal about fundraising for her senatorial campaign. Legal wrangles being what they are I expect the trials to be in primary and the pre-primary season.

    Taleena (0d54f0)

  23. Two points to keep in mind:

    1) Harding became the GOP nominee before the modern primary era (which is generally dated to the 1960 election), so comparisons with modern campaigns for major-party nominations cannot really be made.

    2) Although Kennedy remains the only sitting U.S. Senator to have been elected President since 1960, plenty of other sitting senators have tried, and some have even garnered their party’s nomination:

    1964 — Barry Goldwater, R-Arizona gained the GOP nomination
    1968 — Eugene McCarthy, D-Minnesota, forced incumbent Lyndon Johnson out of the race after defeating Johnson in the New Hampshire primary; among the leading candidates who subsequently entered the race was Robert F. Kennedy, D-New York, who was assassinated the evening of the California primary
    1972 — George McGovern, D-South Dakota, defeated Edmund Muskie, D-Maine, and Scoop Jackson, D-Washington, to gain the Democratic nomination
    1976 — Scoop Jackson, D-Washington, and Frank Church, D-Idaho, were strong (though unsuccessful) candidates for the Democratic nomination
    1980 — Edward Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, mounted a serious challenge to incumbent Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination; among Republicans, Howard Baker, R-Tennessee, was an early (but unsuccessful) candidate
    1984 — Gary Hart, D-Colorado, and John Glenn, D-Ohio, were strong (but unsucessful) candidates for the Democratic nomination
    1988 — Gary Hart, D-Colorado, was the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination until a sex scandal derailed his candidacy; Al Gore, D-Tennessee, was also a candidate (though he did not win the nomination); among Republicans, Bob Dole, R-Kansas, was the main challenger to Vice President George H. W. Bush
    1992 — Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Bob Kerrey, D-Nebraska, and Paul Simon, D-Illinois, were all candidates
    1996 — Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, Phil Gramm, R-Texas, and Arlen Specter, R-Pennsylvania, all attempted campaigns for the GOP nomination, which went to Bob Dole, R-Kansas (who resigned his seat once he locked up the nomination)
    2000 — Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and John McCain, R-Arizona, both mounted campaigns for the GOP nomination
    2004 — John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, won the Democratic nomination, over Joe Lieberman, D-Connecticut, and John Edwards, D-North Carolina

    So it is very common now for sitting senators to run for the White House (in fact, it almost seems as though senators consider it part of their job description).

    BTW, today in my online column I discuss a comparison between the presidencies of Warren Harding and Bill Clinton.

    Michael Meckler (a3bdc9)

  24. I have always wondered why it is that there is an air of “inevitability” surrounding Hilary Clinton becoming our next President!

    For one thing, she’s not the most qualified, nor the one with the greatest political clout, and yet there seems to be an attitude in the country that this is some sort of unstoppable
    “Juggernaut” which like some self fulfilling
    “curse” must simply come to pass!!!



    Althor (d8da01)

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