Saturday, July 30, 2005

It's the personality, stupid

Jacob Weisberg says Hillary Clinton faces one simple but possibly insurmountable obstacle as a presidential candidate, and it has nothing to do with her husband, her failed healthcare plan or even her gender. The problem, says Weisberg, is that she simply is not likeable, and, for better or for worse, presidential elections are often popularity contests. To wit:

...a case can be made that the first woman who gets elected president will need to, as Hillary does, radiate more toughness than warmth. But in American elections, affection matters. Democrats lost in 2000 and 2004 with candidates Main Street regarded as elitist and aloof, to a candidate voters related to personally. Hillary isn't as obnoxious as Gore or as off-putting as Kerry. But she's got the same damn problem, and it can't be fixed.


Blogger Ol' Froth said...

Which is why I don't think she's running. The name "Clinton" makes the far right insane, and they'll busily start cranking up their slime machine. What happens when they pour their resources into defeating Hillary, and she turns out not to be the nominee?

3:22 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I'd never make predictions this far out from the election, but I think she wants to be president and I think she holds enough sway in the party that no one will talk her out of it if she wants to run. She's nobody's stalking horse, if that's what you mean. And I think trying to pick a candidate based on perceived electability is a fool's game--look at Kerry.

As for Weisberg's analysis, I think a lot depends on who the Republican nominee is. I mean, back in 1988--and granted, a lot has changed since then--each party nominated a rather uncharistmatic candidate. I don't see any superstars, with the possible exception of McCain, depending on your point of view, running for the GOP nod.

5:46 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I meant to say "decoy." The term stalking horse has a similar but slightly different meaning in politics.

8:41 AM


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