What is Hillary Up To?

31 May

To paraphrase Dieter from Sprockets, the speculation about Hillary’s run (or not) for the White House has become tiresome for me. Is she? I don’t think so. But I could be wrong. How’s that for decisive?

Seriously, was today’s speech really the kick-off for her Presidential run? Yes and no.

Stylistically, I thought her speech was pretty darn good. Her delivery was flawless, and she got a bit of anger in her voice when called for.

As far as content, she covered a lot – from environmental protection, to growing New York’s economy by simultaneously researching alternative energy sources, to kitchen-table economic issues, to the fact that the Bush Administration has substituted facts with ideology. She hit on all the key issues that people are concerned about.

She sure sounded like a candidate running for federal office. The Senate.

Back to “yes and no”.

I don’t think she’s decided to run in 2008, but I think this speech (and this campaign) is/are indeed a dress rehearsal for a future Presidential run. If the themes that she struck reverberate with voters in New York, and Democrats in other races around the country adopt those same themes, and they reverberate as well in Peoria as they do in Binghamton, then maybe she figures she has a shot in 2008. Or maybe 2012. Or beyond.

Call it a trial balloon. Call it throwing it against the wall to see if it sticks.

And as I left the convention, I could picture the Senator huddled with her advisors coming up with 4 or 5 themes to run on in 2006, and carefully crafting them in such a way so that they could be applied successfully and effectively anywhere in the country. Has she done it? Will she strike a chord with moderates and liberals alike?

This line will go a long way towards attracting middle-of-the-roaders:

Democrats need to not only criticize, but provide alternative solutions.

What’s notable about Clinton is that she has two records on which to run – hers and her husband’s. She took advantage of that today, comparing the budget surpluses under Bill to the deficits under George II.

Come November, she and the other Dems throughout the country will be playing to that 70% of the population that has had it with George Bush and the Republican Congress. The substitution of evidence with fairy tales has been sad to watch; the fact that the Bush Administration had not long ago worn it as a badge of honor is horrifying.

By using their former boast against them, Clinton may have something onto which moderates – people who aren’t political hacks for either side – can latch.

You win primaries by appealing to the wings. You win elections by appealing to the center. Today, Clinton appealed to both.

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