Hillary And McCain's Support
Chuck Todd penned a good piece for the National Journal and MSNBC today, challenging the conventional wisdom about a Hillary candidacy. Todd's contention is that aside from the money and name-association advantages she will have (and those are in question), he feels that she will have a tougher time getting the nomination than she will in getting elected.
Todd gives six reasons why Hillary isn’t a lock for the nomination, ranging from the passion of her supporters, her position on Iraq, competing in Iowa at the outset, comparisons to her husband, her gender, and the public's desire to move away from a Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton succession. I tend to agree with most of his points, but when he brought up the passion argument, he said this:
Who loves her? How big is this group of voters?
Now ask yourself, who loves Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (D)? Who loves former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (D)? Or even Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) or former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R)? And of course, who loves former President Bill Clinton?
Anecdotally, numerous Democratic activists around the country don't appear to love the former first lady. There's a whole lot of "like" -- they have a loyalty to her. They want to back her, and they want to walk on hot coals for her, but they haven't gotten there yet. But potential rivals like Obama and former Vice President Al Gore both have incredibly passionate supporters. Passion can be important in a primary, particularly when things turn south. The candidate with a passionate and loyal base can withstand a few bad weeks; candidates who lack passionate supporters can disappear forever. Then again, if you can't be with the one you love, then do you love the one you're with?
This made me wonder who exactly would walk across hot coals for John McCain, or for that matter Rudy Giuliani?
When he was still a reformer/outsider/maverick from the "Straight Talk Express" days, there was a real base of support for him in the country fed by a slobbering media. But after the last two years of kissing Bush's butt, and his efforts to pander to the party's right wing at all costs, he looks more like an establishment conservative craving the support of the far right.
Edwards and Gore have passionate supporters, and Obama's emerging support is already a concern for Hillary. But if we are challenging the conventional wisdom about Hillary, let's not stop there. We should also challenge it about McCain as well.