Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hillary loses her shine

Guardian Unlimited:
...To put it bluntly Hillary is the Establishment candidate par excellence. This explains that while the polls show Hillary cruising to the nomination, they also show that most Americans don't think she can then win the White House. This isn't because ordinary Democrats are actively trying to commit electoral suicide (though the effect may be the same) it is just that there are many things that help you win the party nomination and only one of them is persuading voters of your attractiveness. The others involve playing politics and creating webs of patronage. And Hillary and her team are past masters of those games.

Of course, Hillary will still face a fight. Many grassroots activists (some of whom call themselves the 'netroots' due to their use of the internet during Howard Dean's 2004 campaign) will back a non-Hillary candidate. A strong name from the left of the party will be Russ Feingold, an anti-war Senator already generating a buzz. Another from the right of the party will be Mark Warner, a former Virginia governor who many believe offers the best chance to win back independent and southern voters to the Democrats' side.

But what is interesting here is that the fight in the Democrat party will not therefore really be about ideology. It will instead be about power and whether it comes from the top down or bottom up. It is a fight of the netroots versus the Establishment, of the anti-Hillary candidate (whether left or right) versus the Hillary political machine....

In the end it all depends on who you listen to: the political classes with their own tied up professional interests in the Hillary juggernaut, or people like Abby and Cathy, long-time Democrats feeling utterly left behind by a party leadership determined to select a candidate that America clearly does not want. Personally, I would listen to the folks on the ground every time.