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A new poll by Rassmussen shows that Hillary Clinton's efforts to recast herself as a centrist has paid dividends. As Dana Milbank reports in today's Washington Post, Americans viewing Hillary as 'liberal' have dropped by eight points:
A poll by Rasmussen Reports finds that the number of Americans viewing the former first lady as a liberal dropped from 51 to 43 percent in January. The number regarding her as moderate rose from 27 to 34 percent.
After watching John Kerry get shredded over his liberal voting record in the Senate, especially on late-term abortions, Clinton and other Democrats (including Kerry) told their party that they had to find a way to moderate their views on abortion and religion if they wanted to connect to mainstream America again. Clinton immediately put this strategy into effect, talking about her faith in fairly generic terms and bemoaning abortions without ever taking a position against even the most extreme examples. At the same time, she flanked the Bush administration on the right on Iraq, arguing for more troops and supporting the call for elections and rejecting "exit strategy" demands from her own party.
Apparently the new strategy is working, although as Milbank notes, the numbers still come in too high for a general election. Kerry started out having a liberal rating of 37% during the primary campaigb, but it wound up at 53% during the crucible of the general election. Kerry had a long voting record but little in the way of legislative accomplishment, and to some extent that helped him early on to keep the leftist taint away. Hillary, however, quarterbacked an effort to nationalize one-seventh of the American economy in the first Bill Clinton term, a debacle that Republicans will not allow voters to forget in a national election.
In the end, although Hillary remains the highest-profile candidate for the Democrats, I doubt she will wind up as the nominee. For all her notoriety, she's still just a sophomore Senator with no other electoral experience -- assuming she wins re-election -- coming from a very safe seat. She still presents one of the most polarizing figures in American politics, plus carries the baggage of her husband's final term. (Remember the pardons in Bill's final hours? If Hillary runs, you will.) No one has won a Presidency from the Senate since Kennedy, for good reason; Americans like executive experience for their presidents. The Democrats should focus on their gubernatorial stars instead.Sphere It View blog reactions
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Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) appears to be making some progress in her move to the middle ...[Read More]
Tracked on April 10, 2005 1:53 PM
» Please, God, Someone, Stop This Woman from Am I A Pundit Now?
Apparently she is having some success recasting herself as a centrist. Noting that Kerry paid a price for his votes on late-term abortions, she saw a need to 'moderate' her views on life (though note how studiously she avoided the Schiavo affair - Hi... [Read More]
Tracked on April 11, 2005 1:57 AM
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