Carol Platt Liebau

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Could it really be that Hillary Clinton is seeking common ground on the thorny issue of abortion?!

Of course not. This display is just a cynical effort by a far-left politician to prove to the rest of her party that she can have "red state" appeal. And despite its opportunistic transparency, it's probably a necessary maneuver.

There's just one big problem. First, everyone -- left, right, center -- knows exactly where Hillary Clinton stands. Even, as the story points out, her friends in the pro-abortion movement -- who weren't threatened by the speech at all. As long as Hillary's still tight with all of them (and it seems to me that there's little she can say to alienate her long-time feminist allies), she doesn't really have a shot with the "values voters," who know what Smeal, NARAL and the other people/entities mentioned in the story are all about.

And this relates to Hillary's other big problem. One prominent political scientist (diligent searching wouldn't uncover his name -- please email me if you recall it!) posited during last year's election season that there is a "shelf life" for politicians on the national stage of around fourteen years. If they didn't make their run for President within that window, it wasn't going to happen (key example? Dick Gephardt).

The solid analysis running beneath the theory, as I recall, is that people grow "stale" in the national consciousness -- and the nation grows to know them all too well. Gephardt wouldn't have fooled anyone if, in December 2003, he had loudly started "rethinking" NAFTA. Everyone knows he's been a trade union guy . . .

Same way with Hillary. Although the theory exempted the years of Vice-presidency from the count to 14, Hillary's problem is that many did, in fact, see her as the Clintons first tried to market her: As a female co-President (or at least a wannabe). She has been on the national stage now since 1992, which makes this her thirteenth year. And people have already made up their minds about her -- and those perceptions are going to be almost impossible to change by words alone.

And even, perhaps, by actions. So long as Hillary's long-time liberal cohorts have no problem with her, many in the middle will. Doomsayers love to point out that she won a Senate seat despite being well known at the end of her husbands term. Yes, in the most liberal state in the union!!! No one would today assume that Ronald Reagan had viable national ambitions if he had only won a Senate seat in, say, Oklahoma . . . I'd be a little more impressed if she were the Senator from Ohio, Pennsylvania, or even Wisconsin.


Blogger Marshall Art said...

Hillary's a joke that far too many take seriously. But then most Dem politicians are as well. She's also talking in a more center-right way about faith based orgs. and national defense. As you say, it's very transparent and it's also insulting to the general population. She will say or do anything if she thinks it will result in more voter support. That too is so typical of today's Democrat.

10:50 PM  

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