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Hillary and the New Math

Nice shirt, Barack.

I don't know if Hillary's new health care plan is any good. If you want deep thoughts on health care, go read this guy. I don't think the details will matter much to the primary election.

There are two main knocks on Hillary. First, that she's trying to buffalo the Democratic Party with a myth of inevitability:

David Axelrod, Obama’s chief strategist, says that Hillary’s campaign is trying to convince people of the “myth of her inevitability” as the Democratic nominee, but that it really is just a myth and a myth that eventually will catch up with her.

“Hillary is a quasi-incumbent in this race and, as such, a lot flows to her,” Axelrod says. “She is a way station for a lot of voters. But as this thing becomes more engaged, particularly in the early states, that will change. And I think Iowa will set the tone.”
Sure. She's trying to look inevitable. John McCain tried the same thing on the GOP side, he crashed, and the GOP gets into the whole inevitability thing much more than the Democrats do. To employ a bit of circular logic here, the fact that Hillary's effort to seem inevitable is succeeding is evidence of, well, her inevitability. She's managed to look inevitable for quite some time now. Obama appeared out of nowhere, riding every magazine cover in the country, and Hillary emerged as inevitable as ever.

You know why she's looking inevitable? Because she's a really good candidate.

The other knock on Hillary is that she's unelectable because of her high negatives. Dick (toe-sucker) Morris has been riding this hobby horse hard. In fact his deep understanding of Hillary's negatives is what allowed him to predict confidently that she would never win the New York Senate seat. The one she won handily. Then won again, even more handily.

There's a basic math error at the core of this theory. It goes like this: 46% (or 40% or 48% or some other percent, depending on your poll) of the country cannot stand Hillary. All it will take is raising that high number another couple of points, and tada! she loses.

The problem is Hillary is a known commodity. 100% of the people who are ever going to dislike Hillary, already do. Which means rather than that number rising? It's going to fall. Because a lot of the people who hate Hillary only hate the person they think she is, not the person she is. In short: Hillary-hatred is at saturation point, it can only drop.

Hillary started her New York race with very high negatives. She was just a wife, she wasn't a real New Yorker, she only pretended to root for the Yankees, she had the scandal stank of the White House years all over her, she was cold, she was arrogant and she had thick ankles. And yet, she is Senator Hillary Clinton.

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“Hillary and the New Math”

  1. Blogger Internet Ronin Says:

    I like your point about just about everyone who will ever dislike her already does since she is such a known quantity. (Reminds me a bit of Barbara Boxer's poll numbers - IIRC, she's never achieved 50%+ approval ratings, and records huge negatives, but she's was re-elected twice with landslide margins.)

  2. Anonymous wj Says:

    Of course, Senator Boxer may be the luckiest politician ever. At least when it comes to her opponents. If the Republicans ever nominated someone who was merely very conservative, I bet she would lose. But so far, they keep nominating complete extremist nutjobs.

    Oh wait. Senator Clinton may well have the same situation. Hmmm....

  3. Blogger Internet Ronin Says:

    Matt Fong was an extremist nutjob?

  4. Anonymous Anonymous Says:

    To be fair, Hillary got lucky in NY when Rudy dropped out of the race. She still might have pulled it off anyway, but it would have been much, much closer.

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