Thursday, December 09, 2004


From the grand dame of Republican political operatives, Peggy Noonan, a beware the Hillary missive. Noonan asks and answers the "what is HRC doing to position her presidential candidacy" questions. Some cuts:

How is Mrs. Clinton positioning herself in terms of the issues?

She is taking care of her liberal base while cherry-picking key issues on which she can get to the right of the Republican party. This is most astute and quite effective. For the liberals she produces a steady stream of base-friendly efforts (Special Committee on the Aging, education funding, help for the emotionally disturbed, extended unemployment insurance) and classic pork barrel. To get to the right of the president she talks homeland security and immigration. On homeland security she fights for increased funding, better controls at U.S. ports, tightened security for nuclear power plants and chemical plants. She issues warnings about the use of weapons of mass destruction on American soil. She is a member of the Armed Services Committee and likes to talk about military reform. On immigration she has begun talking tough on border security, accusing the administration of not spending enough, employing enough people, using the best technology. She recently called herself "adamantly against illegal immigrants," by which she no doubt meant illegal immigration, and has been inching toward support for a national ID card.

* * *
[What about the fact that] [t]he primary voting base of the Democratic Party is leftist[?]

Yes, but in her case it doesn't matter. The base of the party will be with her, for two reasons. First, they know her history and know her. They believe she sees the world as they do but does certain things to survive. She was woven into the left and knew everyone on the left for 25 years.

Second and just as important, after the trauma of the Kerry loss, after the morass of doubt and depression in which the party now finds itself, she will seem to be one thing they really want: the person who can win. Because she is a winner. She always has been. The base will make a calculation not unlike the one she has made: We can play moderate to win, no problem.

Read it all.

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