The Hillary Factor
By Richard Whittaker, Fri., Nov. 9, 2007
While it may seem the lock is in for Hillary Clinton to get the Democratic presidential nomination, her potential big campaign liabilities could soon make her a difficult sell in the primaries, warned her biographer, Carl Bernstein. In his Nov. 4 appearance at the Texas Book Festival, Bernstein noted that for a political figure about whom so much has been written, little is really known about Clinton. Admittedly, he was shilling his work, A Woman in Charge, but his point – that between the loyalist hagiographies and the blood-craving attack pamphlets, her public image is a bundle of contradictory stereotypes – was well taken by the audience. Put simply, almost no one really knows her, but what they think they know, a lot of people don't like.
But Clinton isn't simply another candidate. If she got the presidential nod from the Dems, she would head up the ticket, and that could have a serious down-ballot effect. As one seasoned campaign veteran noted in conversation with Chronic, more than 50% of polled Texans would rather have anyone other than Hillary in the presidential race, and some Democratic candidates in close-run seats may start to feel the same way. To quote festival attendee Todd Gitlin, "You don't fight a political campaign with the candidate you want; you fight it with the candidate you've got." But as Bernstein pointed out, the Dems don't have a candidate yet.
Posted Monday, Nov. 5.
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