Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Republican attacks on Hillary: a double-edged sword?

It is no secret that Republicans love to bash Hillary. She is the most uniting force the party has, one on which all its factions (social & fiscal conservatives, social moderates & fiscal conservatives, etc.) agree: she is the devil incarnate - and a guaranteed fund-raiser.

But Hillary-hating is only part of the equation. Republicans also think she would be the easiest Democrat to run against. Which brings us to the "double-edge" part of the sword. Suppose that all the negative attacks on Hillary (it's hard to find anybody who says anything positive about her) result in her not getting the Democratic nomination. The two most likely alternatives are Edwards and Obama, who both benefit by being underneath the radar. (Hillary is like a giant shield protecting the two of them from the right-wing smear machines.) Republicans would then find themselves facing, according to their own calculations, a more competitive rival.

Hillary and The Shrub: The popularity conundrum

If you think, as do I, that Bush is both the worst and most dangerous President we have ever had, you must also wonder, as do I, where his continued support (around 39% of the population, including a majority* of Republicans) comes from. Why do these people still support him?

Then there is the case of Hillary. The blogosphere and the TV punditocracy are drowning in negative statements about Hillary. Yet she retains a lead in most polls, both in terms of the primary and general election. Although I suspect that support is inflated, it does not seem to have occurred to anybody, at least anybody with a pulpit, to ask why people support her.

*I believe (based on a memory of a poll I read/saw) that a majority of Republicans still support Bush, but I have just spent a fruitless hour with multiple search engines and polling sites trying to find a recent poll that breaks down support by party. I wish this were the first time I've wasted an hour chasing down information that one would think would be simple to find only to come up empty. As far as I am concerned, search engines today (even Google - which I use regularly) still leave a lot to be desired.