Political junkies are witnessing a true phenomenon in presidential politics: more than two years before the next presidential election cycle there's a movement to target someone considered by the news media and pundits to be a frontrunner in 2008 -- Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Even with softball interviews by the likes of Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer, and with almost a daily practice by some members of the mainstream news media of publishing her press releases as if they were news, Hillary Clinton is facing tough opposition not only from Republicans but also from members of her own party.
Right after a poll showed last week that most Americans would “definitely” not vote for her, Senator John Kerry suddenly sprung to life on the ski slopes of Switzerland to head up an attempt at filibustering the confirmation of US Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel Alito.
It's no secret within the Beltway that Kerry believes he has a shot at the presidency even after losing to President Bush in 2004. There's no doubt that Kerry monitors the polls that are showing Hillary is vulnerable to attack from both the right and the left.
In fact, there are many Republicans storing their symbolic "flip-flop" sandals for the next Presidential campaign since Clinton is all over the place on issues, taking positions based on whom she's addressing. She's for tough border security, but votes no on legislation that would increase the number of border agents and detention beds. She claims she supports the war, but says she's sorry she voted to go to war after the reigning queen of the anti-war movement, Cindy Sheehan, spanked her in California by calling her a warmonger. She wants to curtail illegal immigration, but she also wants to provide illegal immigrants with education and healthcare.
Former staff members in Bill Clinton’s White House are privately saying she could be a risky choice. To the left, an anti-war “stop Hillary” movement is gathering traction, threatening her ability to unite the Democrats. Which is possibly why Al Gore is criss-crossing the US giving the most vitriolic speeches for left-wing groups such as MoveOn.Org. He too envisions another shot at the White House prize.
According to the Sunday Times, Mike McCurry, Bill Clinton’s White House press secretary, claims he fears the 2008 campaign could be brutal for the former first lady. He said he remembers how she became a “lightning rod” for conservatives during her husband’s years in office.
“She has proven that she works hard at being senator and does that job well, but bringing the country together and moving it in a different direction is an entirely different matter,” McCurry said. “It is very hard to reinvent yourself in politics.”
However, McCurry proves that old habits, such as blowing smoke when it comes to the Clintons, are hard to break. Ask McCurry what piece of legislation Hillary has sponsored and you will get a glazed look. When New Yorkers are asked what's she done for New York State or for the nation, besides bloviating at functions and hobnobbing with the Manhattan and Hollywood elite, they usually answer with abstract notions such as "she gives us hope."
It's the same reaction you get if you ask African-Americans what Bill Clinton, the "first black president" did for them in his eight years in office. They think and think and then say, "He gave us hope." Hope doesn't pay the rent, feed the kids or make car payments. The true answer for both Clintons is: they do nothing but talk your ears off.
A CNN/Gallup/USA Today poll last week found that 51% of Americans “definitely” would not vote for Hillary and only 16% said they definitely would. Among men, 60% said they would not vote for her. And 43% of women said they wouldn't vote for her either.
“Ultimately the issue is: do we turn to something new? We’ve been through the Clintons, we’ve been through the Gores, we’ve been through the Kerrys, all of whom are known quantities in politics,” said Leon Panetta, a driving force within the Democrat Party and a Bill Clinton loyalist.
The Democrats have a new rising star in Mark Warner, who recently stepped down as governor of the conservative state of Virginia. His proven appeal to moderate voters is attracting Democrats of all shades who are eager to win, but he remains little known on the national scene at this point. However, that is likely to change as the perception of Senator Clinton as damaged good starts to take hold within the Democrat Party.
The doubts about Clinton’s electabilty are growing almost with each speech. On Martin Luther King's Birthday, during a memorial in Harlem, Hillary chose to attack Republicans rather than honor the civil-rights icon. She even managed to include the words "plantation" and "Republicans" in the same sentence in order to continue the myth of Republican racism.
Talk host Laura Ingraham was incensed over Hillary's playing of the race card. Ingraham told her listeners it was a speech designed to create fear in blacks that the evil Republicans can't be trusted. Even news stories about her ignoring washed-up Calypso singer Harry Belafonte at a New York function were promulgated to protect her from being linked to the rantings of an ignorant fool who prides himself as an intellectual.
Conservatives know that Hillary's heart is with Belafonte, but her mind wants to reside once again in the White House. As with singer Madonna, Hillary tries and tries to reinvent herself and it could have worked had there been no Internet news and blogs, no talk radio, and no Fox News Channel.
Clinton’s small successes with voters in the small towns in New York is seen as proof that she can win over conservatives, although according to last week’s poll, 90% of Republicans will “definitely” not vote for her. Even New York Democrats -- many of whom are former Reagan Democrats -- may be comfortable with her warming a seat in the senate, but giving her the power of President and Commander-in-Chief is a horse -- or donkey -- of a different color.
New Republic magazine, the left-wing weekly, argues in its current issue that the voters of rural New York bear little comparison to diehard Republican voters in the South and Midwest. “She is going to have to bring something else to the national stage,” it warned.
So folks, the Stop Hillary train is leaving the station. And it's coming to a station near you.
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.