The Hollywood Primary Begins
January 28, 2007
Steven Spielberg is holding a fund-raiser for Barack Obama. Steven Spielberg is raising money for John Edwards. And, come spring, Steven Spielberg will host a money party for Hillary Clinton. So whom does he actually support? It's anybody's guess. Unlike the Wall Street houses and their executives who give to candidates from both parties, Spielberg and much of Hollywood sticks to Democrats. But what is his and its motive?
Hillary's Imaginary Traps
January 23, 2007
Hillary Clinton must have been on television all day Monday. But I saw her only with Charles Gibson on ABC News in the early evening. She was asked five or six plain vanilla questions, and none of them did she take up directly. She seemed to imagine a trap in each query. So Hillary was running as prey she was not. This is going to be a trap for her, persuading the electorate that the last kind of answer she wants to give is an honest one. As I pointed out on The Spine earlier, she announced that she wanted to have a conversation with the public.
On Presidential Experience
January 23, 2007
My old friend Sandy Levinson has posted a very provocative note on Open University, and I commend it to readers who like to deal with puzzles and proof. He has raised a question about which of the current horde of presidential candidates has relevant experience to be the country's chief executive. And, of course, this being Sandy, there's a kicker. Many previous presidents had plenty of experience, and at least a few of them turned out to be terrible, simply terrible. I dispute the label of "inexperienced" he pins on some presidents: Woodrow Wilson, for example, and Jimmy Carter.
Hillary's $500 Million Conversation
January 23, 2007
The Times has a sad story today lamenting the likely death of the public financing program for presidential campaigns. Hillary Clinton has already decided to forgo the program, as she knows she will be able to raise a lot more than the $150 million that public financing would provide her if she chose to run in accordance with its restrictions. As goes Hillary, so goes the rest of the pack.
Media Self Criticism Watch
December 24, 2006
In the midst of his front-page story on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in today's Washington Post, Dan Balz takes time to note the following: Even though neither has announced for president, Clinton and Obama have demonstrated the benefits of celebrity in a world of constant cable news and expanding Internet communities. That culture serves to reinforce the advantages of celebrity, repeatedly focusing attention on the celebrities (as this story is doing) rather than paying close attention to the doggedness of dark horses--at least until serious campaigning begins and the voters weigh in.
Because They Care
December 18, 2006
Last week the Washington Times op-ed page, in the form of the oleaginous Tony Blankley, voiced its concern that Hillary was going to rough up Barack Obama. Now it's the Wall Street Journal's turn. Here's John Fund: Mr. Obama knows that Hillary Clinton is a vulnerable front-runner. But he also knows that her side will haul out the brass knuckles to stop him. "Just a little while ago, he was in Springfield worrying about license-tag fees," is how one Hillary advisor told Newsweek magazine described one of the attack lines that would be used against him.
December 12, 2006
Garance has a good piece on TNR online today about Obama's trip to New Hampshire this weekend. One of his speeches has been running on C-Span, and it occurred to me while watching that if Hillary Clinton wants to beat Obama in a primary, she is going to have to renounce her war vote ... and do it strongly. This may be more an intuition than actual knowledge, but looking at the faces of those NH voters as Obama talked about foreign policy, it was hard to believe they would vote for someone who hadn't come out strongly against the war.
November 21, 2006
Hillary Clinton spent upwards of $30 million for her re-election campaign against an opponent whose name no one seems to remember or even knew. This and more, according to Anne E. Kornblut and Jeff Zeleny in Tuesday's New York Times. The Democratic Daily, a liberal web site, characterized this expenditure as "blowing a shameful $36 million" on a shoo-in campaign. Well, the Clintons have always been lavish with other people's money. And since they've been in New York, at least, they've managed to rake in cash from Republicans, too, why not spend it on their own assured victory?
October 29, 2006
Mark Warner and I had each had a couple of cocktails. They say up in the air one drink feels like two, and so things were, as Warner would later remind me the day he announced he wasn’t running for president, “a little foggy.” We were aboard a campaign donor’s jet, flying back to Virginia after two intense days of New Hampshire politics. Democrats who show up to listen to presidential hopefuls stump in the dead of August two years before the election are a tough crowd.
An Unquestioned Assumption
September 13, 2006
by David GreenbergNow that Hillary Clinton has dispensed with Jonathan Tasini in the New York Democratic Senate primary--proving, among other things, that Joe Lieberman's loss last month doesn't mean that the Democrats are collectively racing leftward on national security issues--we're bound to hear more about her purported presidential ambitions. But has she ever expressed an intention, or even a strong interest, in seeking the office in 2008? I don't think so. Those who spend more time on Google than I can contradict me if there's evidence to the contrary.