Is The Red Witch the Next Bull Moose?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008
I had a funny feeling today. The other night I commented somewhere that RW is the "toughest" candidate the Dems have put up for the nomination since LBJ.

Thinking about it more, Bobby Kennedy in 1968 may have been as tough. But Humphrey, McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Hart, Dukakis, Jackson, Bradley, BJ Clinton, Gore, Dean, Kerry, Edwards, Dodd, Biden? Please. Name one tougher than Hillarity.

In the past several weeks, she has shown resilience, guile, stamina, and sheer grit. When it looks like she's on the mat, she keeps coming back over and over like the inflatable BoBo The Clown with the sand on the bottom.

Will she quit? I wonder. She doesn't seem to be worried about dissing Obama with talking points that will surely be clipped by the GOP in the general election.

She reminds me of no one more than Teddy Roosevelt in the 1912 election. His former VP, William Howard Taft had already had one term behind him. Nonetheless, Teddy was very unhappy out of the spotlight he had continuously enjoyed for nearly 15 years. He ran against Taft for the GOP nomination and lost.

Undeterred, he started the Bull Moose Party and ran against Taft and Wilson. The result(from Wiki, because it was easy to find and I think is accurate)?

Roosevelt succeeded in defeating the conservative Taft with his progressive message that along with Wilson's progressive program totaled 69% of the popular vote. He did win 4.1 million votes (27%), compared to Taft's 3.5 million (23%). However, Wilson's 6.3 million votes (42%) were enough to garner 435 electoral votes. Roosevelt came in second with 88 electoral votes (more than any third party candidate before or since); Pennsylvania was his only Eastern state; in the Midwest he carried Michigan, Minnesota and South Dakota; in the West, California and Washington; in the South, he did not win any states.

Were RW to lose to Obama, she might think she could beat McCain for the conservative/middle/whitefeminist/midleft and isolate Obama on the left. She could take it with 38-40% of the vote, or move it into the House, where she probably would prevail.



Barry Dauphin said...

I don't know. I think I read somewhere that McCain is pretty tough.

vnjagvet said...

I agree, Barry. I am comparing her with Dems.

Further, I don't think the ploy will work. I just think she is one of the few people that I believe would even entertain something like this.

It takes a certain combination of hubris and ruthlessness, of which she has plenty.

ambisinistral said...

That's an interesting notion.

I remember, during the last Presidential election, Roger Simon doing the series of posts wishing for a third party of the center.

I thought the only way that was possible would be for a rupture in the Democrats, with their left wing splitting away to from an American version of the Greens. That would allow the moderate Democrats to slosh back towards the center, where I think they could pull in a lot of centrist Republicans.

I doubt it will really happen, but if the Democrats go over the cliff with Obama heading their ticket, there will be hell to pay. They should flat out be clobbering the Republicans, but they're pandering to the far left fringe instead of the middle. Truly bizarre.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Very interesting post. I agree that she's the toughest Dem in some time. Or "the only man in the race" as Jack Nicholson put it. Thanks.

Rick Ballard said...

Good piece. My counter speculation is that, having determined that she will not be the candidate, she is making sure that BHO is unelectable while leaving herself room for 2012.

The Clintons are simply disliked by too many at the center of the party to have any hope of peeling off enough support to start a "third way" party of their own. Were RW not generally hated by many Dems and much of the MSM, BHO would have been a sideshow. BHO has had a lot of "hidden" help from Dean and Andy Stern of the SEIU (with a little Soros grease on the side). I'm pretty sure that a lot of people in the Dems center were quietly smiling as they watched the Dean/Stern group clobber RW. It didn't happen in a vacuum.

Alistair said...

The problem with this is that she is NOT a centrist, she has simply been moving towards playing one on tv. If she ever entered the general election somebody would happily bring up her past, her elitist comments, her associations with former radical liberals, her staunch opposition to gun rights, and a myriad of other issues, carefully documented in fawning biographies (some of the auto nature), that she has tarred her opponent with. Although Barack has had moments in which he hinted at these things, he has done little to hammer them home -- perhaps out of fear, perhaps because he is marginally dedicated to not being a completely slimy hypocrite. If, however, she made it into the general election, I would guess that she would be asked about various taped contradictions ad nauseum. But maybe she could just throw back a shot and laugh it off.

Cackle inducing hilarity aside, I think that Hilary Clinton's past shows a strong unshakable commitment to the Democratic party, more so than any particular issue or set of beliefs, as the place where she belongs. She has identified with them so strongly and for so long that she could never leave them and cannot grasp why they don't love her back.

vnjagvet said...

Don't forget, Alistair, she was a Goldwater Girl while at Wellesley.

Has she been any more identified with the Dems than Teddy was with the GOP?

Just because she is not really a centrist doesn't mean she can't play one like her husband did. I suspect she may have encouraged his jaunt toward the center back when she was de facto running his campaigns.

The Red Witch is about power more than anything. Even with her strong negatives, she still has a strong white female constituency which will follow her anywhere.
In a three way race, that is a valuable constituency.

It may be as much as 35% to 40% of total likely voters, which is enough to win a three way race, or to throw the election into the House of Representatives where under its current makeup, she would probably win.