John Fund: The "New New Hillary"

John Fund at Political Diary has some very interesting details on Hillary Clinton's campaign strategy for the presidency. She is picking up issues such as making it illegal to burn the American flag, that she things are not important, but will provide significant cover for her broader liberal agenda. Like John, I worry that by picking some high profile conservative hot button issues for protection she could slip by and get elected president.

. . . . Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic consultant who worked with the former first lady on her 2000 Senate campaign, says Senator Clinton is pursuing the ultimate swing voters, "a group of several hundred thousand culturally conservative white males, largely Catholic, who live in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Someone who carries all of those states in 2008 is likely to become president."

Greg Sargent of the liberal Nation magazine puts it more directly: "She's taking her husband's small-issue centrism -- its trademark combination of big but often hollow gestures toward the center, pragmatic economic populism and incremental liberal policy gains -- and remaking it in her own image, updating it for post-9/11 America with an intense interest in military issues."

The effort is all directed at reintroducing the senator to people who harbor suspicions of her that date back to the Clinton presidency. "People have gained a more complete view of Hillary in the Senate than they had when she was in the White House," says Mandy Grunwald, a Hillary adviser. "People are getting past the cartoon version of her and seeing that she's culturally moderate and sensitive to rural and small-town America."

. . . don't be surprised if she continues to be surprisingly good at winning over audiences with speeches that give no indication that her voting record back in Washington ranks an average of 95% from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action.


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