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Obama-Clinton Issue

Hillary Clinton no longer has the aura of inevitability as both Obama and Edwards have been making inroads, but there are signs -- for instance in New Hampshire -- that Hillary (or should I say Billary with Bill's appearances in the 'granite state') has turned back some of the momentum that was building for Obama.

I thought when she raised the charge that her opponents were "throwing mud" in the November 15th debate it was awfully premature, and lately she has been giving via her campaign managers more than she has been receiving, i.e, the Hillary campaign slanging Obama about his admitted teenage drug use or (as Mark Penn slipped in) cocaine use. This is sticky ground for Clinton because it could boomerang (read the sinister history) and if her campaign team continues to be so partisan, it would behoove her to distance herself from such attacks. Clinton's safer ground is on her own competency, knowledge of the issues and Beltway experience.

Hillary successfully mastered the junior senator's role from New York and won accolades from her Republican colleagues for her surprisingly collegial role in the Senate. She was more workhorse than show horse, and would probably make an excellent majority Senate leader someday if she didn't have presidential ambitions. Hillary Clinton turned herself into the consummate Washington player by Joshua Green.

"She learned to gain ground a yard at a time." Yet it is fair to wonder if Clinton learned the lesson of the health-care disaster too well, whether she has so embraced caution and compromise that she can no longer judge what merits taking political risks.

David Brooks, in a New York Times column today, acknowledges that Hillary Clinton has been a much better senator than Barack Obama but goes on to praise Obama.

But for Democrats, there's a roll of the dice either way. The presidency is a bacterium. It finds the open wounds in the people who hold it. It infects them, and the resulting scandals infect the presidency and the country. The person with the fewest wounds usually does best in the White House, and is best for the country.

Kevin Drum sums up the scorecard for the two and comes out "still leaning modestly toward Hillary, still unsure that Obama really knows how to get things done in modern-day Washington" though most of his commenters in the comments section lean to Obama. For me, the big equalizer is Obama's more winning personality.

But whoever wins, he or she looks to be so much more capable and discerning to govern a complex federal government more than the Republican candidates, who all seem to be competing against each other to see who is most locked into some 19th century, antebellum Southern governor mindset. It is hard to believe that Huckabee, Giuliani or even Romney could have wide national appeal up and down the country, in the 21st century, compared to whichever of the Democrats is left.

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Comments (2)

In terms of effectiveness and influence, Hillary Clinton is undoubtedly one of the top five Senators today, and was at least one of the top ten even in the minority as a "freshman." She may have been the most effective first-term Senator in modern times.

I think Hillary would have fared far better with her "experience" argument if she had concentrated on her Senate service and accomplishments - which neither Obama nor Edwards can approach without obeisance - and de-emphasized her "White House experience" as First Lady. Sure, that means she knows how the executive branch works, and would need less time to get situated, but it still relies upon her husband's achievements rather than her own.

Steve Crickmore[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Most of Cinton's good work as a senator was incremental...The national public really doesn't seem to care very much about doing admirable competent senatorial work, otherwise Chris Dodd or Pat Leahy or Pat Moynihan would have been a major Presidential candidate.

I agree that Hillary tries to have it both ways. The other day, she said something to the effect, that we created millions of jobs in the 90's in response to Obama. We being her husband's administration. Yet when it was a decision such as, whether to release her records as First Lady or not, or the controversial Clinton pardons, she said unconvincingly, that she had no input in those decisions.


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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