Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Next President?

I've fallen out of the loop on key factors like organizational strength, but for some time I've been thinking what Matthew Yglesias says here:
"My record of political prognostication is terrible, but given that Clinton already has a sizable lead and that what Team Obama is telling Marc Ambinder doesn't sound very convincing, I feel like Clinton is drawing close to checkmating her opponents. I'll have to wait and see what more expertish people have to say about this proposal, but it certainly has the look and feel of a decently ambitious proposal (indeed, probably too ambitious to be enacted, but we'll have to see how the Senate looks after the election) in a way that really undercuts some of the main arguments that have been made (including by me) against her."

Polls show that Senator Clinton's support is, contrary to expectations, quite firm. This is not the same as former VP nominee Joe Lieberman's name recognition support over a bunch of little-known Senators. A lot, I think, is actually identity-based, as the professional women who make up a substantial portion of the Democratic primary electorate identify with her the same way many elements of the Republican base identified with President Bush's persona in 2000.

In order to bring her poll numbers down, someone will have to go seriously negative, calling attention in particular to her hawkish record on foreign policy and ties to anti-labor interests. However, in what is effectively a three-way race, that could easily hand things over to the third candidate, and neither Obama or Edwards will go down that road lightly. Meanwhile, stands like this health care proposal are undercutting the case potential opponents could make against her.

Going further down the road, I think she also wins a relatively dull election in November. There's a reason "None of the above" is so competitive in GOP polls, and I think even many people who say they will never vote for her will, in fact, end up voting for her. Giuliani could be a tough nominee, but others have noted that he's been falling all month. What's left is Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson, neither of whom seem like strong national candidates. If Newt Gingrich enters the race, I can see him winning the nomination, but there again, I doubt he comes close.



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