Monday, April 18, 2005

Hilary Clinton's Sincerity Problem

Republicans seem to have formulated how they’re going to stop Hilary Clinton, Centrist Model 1.0.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Jay Cost proclaims Senator Clinton’s move to the political center to be politically clumsy:

Hillary's movement is a big deal first and foremost because everybody notices her movement…There is nothing subtle about her strategic positioning. Not a thing. Everybody talks about Hillary's political calculations not because they are brilliant but because they are obvious, because everything about Hillary screams "political calculation." There is nothing organic to her politics; it all seems artificial.

This “Hilary-is-conniving” angle seems to be the direction conservatives are pushing the debate. In the same vein, the title of a new attack book on Ms. Clinton is: The Truth About Hillary: What She Knew, When She Knew It, and How Far She'll Go to Become President.

The book is ostensibly about Clinton’s role in the Monica Lewinsky scandal but it’s clear from the title that it’s actually about how dangerously calculating she is. And this “calculating” argument is almost certainly just laying the groundwork for the next argument: don’t believe the act, Hilary is still a stone-cold liberal.

This is the whole problem with Clinton’s intended Presidential run. She is too much of a known commodity. Most politicians, when they alter their position on an issue, can just say that over the course of their career their minds have changed. But with Hilary, every time she modifies a position, her sincerity will be questioned.

It’s hard to see how Ms. Clinton’s advantages will ever outweigh the negatives. Her past is simply too liberal and too well known.


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