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 Hillary mystique: How would it affect her candidacy? 
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Post Hillary mystique: How would it affect her candidacy?
The Hillary mystique: How would it affect her candidacy?
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Hillary Rodham Clinton has fashioned a political persona that generates intense passions but defies easy characterization. She is viewed as a hawk on Iraq and national security, stamped as a big-government Democrat for her work on health care in the 1990s, and depicted as seeking the middle ground on abortion.

After three decades in public life, New York's junior senator is one of the most recognized women in the world, her every move and utterance interpreted amid the assumption that her Senate re-election campaign, which she kicked off Wednesday, will pivot into a run for president in 2008. Yet for all her fame there are missing pieces to the Clinton puzzle: What does she stand for? And where would she try to take the country if elected?

Clinton's roles as senator, first lady, governor's wife, lawyer and children's advocate have given her a depth of experience that few national politicians can match, but she is still trying to demonstrate whether these yielded a coherent governing philosophy. For now, she is defined by a combination of celebrity and caution that strategists say leaves her more vulnerable than most politicians to charges that she is motivated more by personal ambition and tactical maneuver than a coherent governing philosophy.

In recent weeks, Clinton has moved to clarify her agenda with major speeches on the economy and energy. Later this summer she will help present a new governing strategy for the Democrats. She has given speeches setting out her foreign-policy views. But she has yet to wrap up her ideas in a package such as the "New Democrat" philosophy her husband, former President Bill Clinton, used in his 1992 campaign or the "compassionate conservative" label President Bush adopted in 2000.

To the contrary, she made clear in a telephone interview on Friday that her governing philosophy might never be easily reduced to a slogan. "I don't think like that," she said. "I approach each issue and problem from a perspective of combining my beliefs and ideals with a search for practical solutions. It doesn't perhaps fit in a pre-existing box, but many of the problems we face as a nation don't either."

As a result, everyone seems to have a label for her. Roger Altman, a former Treasury Department official and one of her outside advisers, calls Clinton "a modern centrist." William Galston of the Brookings Institution, who was domestic-policy adviser in the Clinton White House, describes her as "a progressive without illusions" and a politician who has been "consistent but complicated."

Her detractors find much ? and much different ? to criticize. Liberal columnist Molly Ivins dismisses Clinton as the embodiment of "triangulation, calculation and equivocation." The Rev. Jerry Falwell, echoing a view shared by many Republicans, calls her a liberal "ideologue" who is far more doctrinaire than her husband.

A selective reading of Clinton's record can produce evidence to prove she is a centrist, a liberal and much in between. But there are some clear patterns:

? On defense, she has consistently supported the use of force abroad, having advocated military intervention in the Balkans during her husband's administration. She differs with Bush administration officials on many aspects of how they have conducted foreign policy, but not on combating terrorism or the imperative of winning in Iraq.

? Domestically, she has a more complex profile. She is an activist who believes in the power of government to solve problems, but those pro-government instincts have been tempered by the health-care debacle of 1993-94 and the nation's budgetary squeeze.

? On family policy, she has some traditional, even moralistic, instincts that those who know her best say are genuine and deeply felt.

She believes government is an essential partner in a three-sided relationship that also includes the free market, and a "civil society" of churches and nonprofit groups. "I am a big believer in self-help and personal responsibility and a work ethic that holds people responsible," she added. "But I know one of the reasons our country has been one of the most successful organizations in the world is because we got the balance right."

The debate about Clinton's beliefs is linked to one about her electability. Many Democrats fear she carries so much baggage that, if she becomes the party's standard-bearer in 2008, she would prove too polarizing and lead it to a third straight defeat. Many Republicans see a shrewd politician who they fear would be a formidable opponent in a general election and who, if elected, would move the country left.

That she polarizes the electorate is clear from a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The survey found that 84 percent of Democrats have a favorable impression of Clinton, while 73 percent of Republicans have an unfavorable view. As a point of contrast, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a leading potential candidate for the Republican nomination, is viewed favorably by 65 percent of Republicans and 50 percent of Democrats.

Although she has drawn criticism from the left for supporting the Iraq war, Clinton remains more popular among liberal Democrats than among moderate Democrats. Overall, 37 percent of Americans said she is too liberal, which is less than the 45 percent recorded for Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., during the 2004 campaign and almost identical to perceptions of former Vice President Al Gore in 2000.

Personal strengths

Clinton's advisers argue that most Americans have formed opinions about her based not just on Iraq or health care but also on how she has conducted herself through personal circumstances. In the Post-ABC News poll for example, 68 percent said they see Clinton as a strong leader, 16 percentage points more than Bush received a few months ago.

On balance, most of those around Clinton say her hard-to-pigeonhole profile is a political asset ? the product, they say, of a curious intellect, the absence of rigid ideology, an instinct for problem solving and a willingness to seek consensus even across party lines. Her detractors see her career as the work of an opportunistic politician who has sanded the sharp edges off her views, so much so that there is little sense of authenticity when she speaks.

On Iraq, she has tried to be a critic of Bush without renouncing her support for the resolution that authorized him to go to war, as other Democrats have done. She opposes a timetable for withdrawing troops and backs an open-ended commitment.

In the interview, Clinton defended herself. "I've said many times I regret how the president has used his authority," she said. "But I think I have a responsibility to look at this as carefully as I can ... and therefore I have resisted going along with either my colleagues who feel passionately they need to call for a date certain or colleagues who are 100 percent behind the policy and with the president. ... I know I take criticism from all sides on this, but I've tried to work my way through it as clearly and responsibly as I can."

Voting record

In the Senate, Clinton has introduced about 190 bills. Of those dealing with matters not strictly involving parochial New York matters, about half include at least one Republican co-sponsor, her advisers say.

But a Congressional Quarterly analysis found she has voted with a majority of Democrats 95 percent of the time and has consistently recorded one of the highest percentages for opposing Bush on legislation of any of her potential 2008 Democratic rivals.

The defeat of her health-care proposal in 1994, advisers say, taught her to respect the limits of the political system to absorb major policy changes.

She said the biggest lesson learned is that there can be no progress on health care without the business community. "There has to be a consensus in the public and private sector before we can ever get the political system to respond," she said.

Hillary Clinton has a populist streak that sometimes takes on an angry edge, in contrast to her husband. But one policy aide in the Clinton White House who has worked closely with both Clintons suggested their differences are stylistic. "She's just blunter in the way she talks about things than he is," the adviser said.

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June 1st, 2006, 9:14 am
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I do have a question for some people. I have always sensed some malice towards Hillary especially after Bill got outted for the Lewinski deal. Some would feel that situation would make her a sympathic character but there seems to be a contingent of people that "hate" her and I have never really understood why? I understand that a strong Republican may disagree with her political positions but there are so many people that refer to her as a bi#@ch. With as strongly and sharply as some people seem to respond to her name I have to assume she has made some awful statements or something. I honestly would like to know what it is about her? I personally have no feeling one way or another...it nice to read this piece to get a better sense of what she may represent.

I have to admit...her speaking voice kills me :lol:

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June 1st, 2006, 9:33 am
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Hillary is referred to as a b!tch because she has been labeled as one by many people who have had to deal with her. Troopers in Arkansas, Secret Service in the Whitehouse, aides, hired help, reporters.....the list is endless.

Personally, I think she is an underhanded man-hating whore who needs to be removed from the entire political arena.

Remember what she did after the whole 9/11 thing?

She supported Rudy Giuliani for the first few days, then ripped him a new one when the time seemed right for him 'not doing enough' to help the city and take care of things. What a two face c*#t?! All this done in the hopes of gaining greater political power within the state of New York and to diminish the power of a would be competitor for her senatorial seat.

She should be sent to Iraq and Afghanistan to hunt for Osama. That ugly fat b!tch could probably sniff him out. She's probably the only one on Earth that could actually scare him with that monstrous sneer of hers.

I hate her.

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June 1st, 2006, 10:44 am
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I'm a Democrat, but I can't for the life of me see the appeal of Hillary Clinton. Neither can my Democratic friends, yet for some reason it's a done deal she'll win the nomination. As Frank Rich recently said, Hillary's biggest fans are the right wing pundits who'll have book material for 8 years.

I guess my point is...Go Feingold!


June 1st, 2006, 10:50 am
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:lol: see what I mean.

It just seems like an extremely strong response for what was listed IMO.

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June 1st, 2006, 11:09 am
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Hillary is an alpha female caught up in a wave of angry white male rage. They hate her so passionately because they are intimidated by her intelligence and fear what she represents. She does not threaten me, but I cannot support her because she is part of the same corruption culture and she voted for Iraq. To my mind, anybody that voted to throw 2 trillion and counting to make the Middle East a mess is automatically eliminated from consideration, even McCain. I understand that Bush manipulated Congress, bungled the operation, and cut out the experts, but I still remember Byrd's speech. There was no justification given for that bill and it had horrible consequences. But the real question is why does OS always want to talk about Hillary? Isn't Bush in office?

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June 1st, 2006, 11:33 am
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See to me...that is an acceptable response as to why you dissapprove of her. I find her support for the war troubling also, and I too always liked McCain but he has become a Bush groupie lately.

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June 1st, 2006, 11:43 am
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Two alphas don't mix? :lol: It is called excitement in marriage.

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June 1st, 2006, 11:47 am
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Well I also feel Hilary definately benefited from her Hubbys name despite his side relationships. I don't know that she came to the Senate in the right way.

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June 1st, 2006, 11:50 am
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Looks as though Hillary has problems with her own party (liberal democrats). With her being pegged as liberal by most Americans I think not having the liberal democrats support interesting. The libs love Gore though.

Hillary Clinton's character gap
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New York magazine has published not one but two articles fretting about the prospect of Clinton winning the 2008 nomination. A recent straw poll in the liberal blog Daily Kos gave Gore an astonishing 68 percent of the vote, beating his closest challenger by more than 50 points. Clinton's result? Zero percent. (Actually, she pulled down 77 votes, or 1/100th of Gore's total, but it rounded down to zero.)
How did this happen? It appears the grand Clinton strategy is backfiring. As a prospective national candidate, she has two great vulnerabilities. First, many voters think she's too liberal. Second, many voters also see her as cold, calculating and unlikable.
Her response to this was to position herself in the center, cozying up with her former GOP tormenters in the Senate, staking out hawkish positions and making an overture to cultural conservatives. The theory was that her centrist positions would endear her to moderates but that it wouldn't cost her on the left, because years of conservative vilification caused liberals to bond with her emotionally.
But instead of moderates focusing on her positions while liberals focus on her persona, the opposite seems to be happening. Moderates fear she remains too culturally divisive to win. And liberals can't stand her centrist positioning. It's the worst of all worlds.


http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/ci_3884826

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June 1st, 2006, 12:10 pm
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Yorick wrote:
But the real question is why does OS always want to talk about Hillary? Isn't Bush in office?


Becuase she appears to be a leading canidate for the next election. If Jessie Jackson was the lead dog I would be interested in him as well.

If Gore decides to run I will pay more attention to him as I think he can give Billary a run for her money, although I think folks who discount the Clintons are making a mistake.

A better question imo is.... was Yorick criticle of the Clinton adminstration which had allegations leveled against it on a regular basis (too many to list and ending even in its final moments with pardons of friends/criminals)? Did that adminstration draw as much attention and generate many posts against it as this one?

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Last edited by RussMan on June 1st, 2006, 12:40 pm, edited 5 times in total.



June 1st, 2006, 12:16 pm
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I'm not much of a Hillary fan. I don't know where she stands on all the issues and from that article, most people don't. I know she is for really big gov't (health care) and I'm not.

After the Lewinski scandal she went on one of those mornig talk shows and said it was a right wing conspiracy (wrong), then you see her coming out of chruch a few weeks later. (hypocrite) Even after the truth came out she then protrayed herself as this innocent victimized wife all dressed up in not so stylish clothes. (two-faced) Plus any party that treats life like it does will never get my vote. (murderer)

As for McCain, i'm not a fan. his immigration crap stinks really bad just like George's does. I suppose that they'll just take a page out of the democratic text book and have them go to therapy. If you give rights to criminals I won't vote for you. Our criminals already have way to many rights.

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June 1st, 2006, 12:16 pm
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PT Bruiser wrote:
After the Lewinski scandal she went on one of those mornig talk shows and said it was a right wing conspiracy (wrong), then you see her coming out of chruch a few weeks later. (hypocrite) Even after the truth came out she then protrayed herself as this innocent victimized wife all dressed up in not so stylish clothes. (two-faced) Plus any party that treats life like it does will never get my vote. (murderer)


WOW...PT...nobody can ever accuse you of being subtle. I find it funny that Hillary is "two faced" for being not so stylish...and also the fact that you care about that lol. I also find it interesting that she should not be allowed in church...of course I do remember all of Jesus's teachings telling us to judge people and keep people out of the church because they have sinned...oh wait...

OS...I think the pardoning at the end was cowardly and lame. I voted for Dole because of what he did to the country and his family. But pardoning a couple people vs attacking another nation for "no good particular reason at all" (- Forest Gump) is the probably the worst and biggest mistake a President can make.

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June 1st, 2006, 12:35 pm
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To me, it is obvious that Hillary is trying to appeal to the "Reagan Democrats" that won it for Bill. George W. had that crowd for a long time, but has now lost them.


June 1st, 2006, 12:41 pm
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Hmmm... if I didn't know better, I'd think that PT wants to overturn Roe V. Wade. I can think of almost nothing crazier than that.

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June 1st, 2006, 12:42 pm
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