Friday Night Questions: Hillary's 2008 Chances, And A Change Of Course In Iraq?
"I assure you, in two or three months, if this thing hasn't come to fruition and if this level of violence is not under control and this government able to function, I think it's a responsibility of our government internally to determine: Is there a change of course that we should take? And I wouldn't take off the table any option at this time."
--Senate Armed Services Chair John Warner yesterday
It’s Friday night at the end of a long week. I had planned to write separate entries earlier today about two stories that caught my eye, but I ran out of time and energy. Rather than ignore them, I’ll give them both to you and ask for your input.
Hillary in 2008?
With Bush’s tenure cratering and Clinton’s political rehabilitation fully complete, there seems to be an under-the-table warming by major media types to a Hillary Clinton presidency. We already know that Karl Rove takes her chances seriously, and that both John McCain and Rudy Giuliani also think she would be a formidable opponent despite the well-known negative feelings against her amongst the voting public. While they were touting their new book “The Way To Win” last night on "Charlie Rose", beltway journalists John Harris of the Washington Post and Mark Halperin of ABC News told Rose that the only two politicians of the last fifteen years who understood how to win campaigns in the new media environment were Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, with Rove being Bush’s Svengali. Both Halperin and Harris said Hillary has gone to school on Rove and how the GOP wins elections now, and has matched that with what she and Bill know from their first-hand experience about how to deal with the media and get out ahead of your opponent. And both Harris and Halperin told Rose that despite the conventional wisdom, Hillary could win the election. Both Halperin and Harris think that Hillary would campaign from the center as an appeal for bipartisan pragmatism and explicitly reject eight years of Rovian base-driven poltical war. Hillary would push her GOP opponent as far to the right as possible so that she, like Bill, could not only capture her base but the center as well.
Then today, I saw another piece on Hillary from the Atlantic Monthly, wherein it was noted how Hillary has built alliances and working relationships with Republicans who were her and Bill’s enemies in the 90’s, and has gained their respect. Here are my questions for you tonight on this subject: despite any misgivings you may have about Hillary as the Democratic nominee, do you think she could win in 2008 campaigning from the center? Secondly, which running mate would you want to see with Hillary? (Clinton-Obama?)
Senate Armed Services chairman John Warner said yesterday he is convinced that the Iraqis must demonstrate in the next 2-3 months if they can get control of the sectarian violence. If they cannot, he thinks that the Bush strategy needs a new direction, and that all options should be put on the table by Congress presumably whether or not Bush wants to discuss it. Jonathan Alter told Olbermann tonight that Warner's statement undercuts Rove’s strategy to pin the defeatist label on the Democrats and in fact gives the Democrats cover to argue for a change in course. For his part, Olbermann pointed to comments by Joe Biden today wherein Biden said that there are at least two other GOP senators who agree with Warner and will pressure the Bush Administration after the election into a major change in course. Biden for his part is the only senator to offer a comprehensive plan for Iraq, but it has been speculated elsewhere that the Bush Administration will not change course until after the election, if ever, and then only if the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group gives him and Cheney the political cover to do so. (For your information, James Baker will be on Charlie Rose tonight.) Here’s my question for you tonight: do you think Bush will change course after the election?
OK, your thoughts on both topics would be welcome.