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Hillary Clinton appears to be the overwhelming favorite to win the Democratic nomination for the 2008 Presidential campaign, but she has not won over the most activist part of her party. ABC reported yesterday that protestors picketing speeched by John McCain and Joe Lieberman did not spare Hillary from criticism:
"I'm scared to death of Hillary Clinton," said Kirsten Loken of Falling Waters, W.Va. "She is a divider."
Loken, a self-described feminist who has supported the National Organization for Women for many years, said she would "absolutely love" to see a female president of the United States.
"But not Hillary Clinton," she said, "not Hillary Clinton."
Loken is one of four West Virginians who met in 2004 while helping Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) general-election campaign against Bush.
The four women, who traveled by car for more than an hour to Friday's protest organized by MoveOn.org, said they would "love" to see a female president -- but all four were quick to say that the Democratic Party should not nominate Clinton.
Their principal reasons for opposing the former first lady are threefold: They resent her slow retreat from her 2002 vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq, they think she is "too polarizing," and they think that the centrist playbook that she and former President Clinton subscribe to undermines progressive causes.
Hillary's attempt at a Road to Damascus conversion on Iraq left these activists unimpressed. They claim it has come too late and for obvious political reasons rather than out of any strength of conviction. In fact, it's possible that her reversal (of sorts) has done more to solidify her image as a political opportunist than as a standard-bearer for the new progressive movement.
Will this disconnect from the energy base of the Democrats hurt Hillary? It could certainly keep her from winning primaries in some states, especially those where anti-war sentiment runs highest. One would not have expected her to win in other states, either, such as West Virginia, which is where these protestors live. She may experience a squeeze between conservative Democrats who don't trust her past history of government-run solutions and the Leftists who want someone more radically opposed to American power.
Who does this help? Probably Barack Obama in the short run, at least until people start realizing that Obama has almost no experience in national politics, and little even at the state level. It might benefit Al Gore more than anyone else, a prospect that should hearten every Republican in the United States. It could help John Kerry, except that even the Democrats dislike him as a candidate after his botched 2004 campaign.
At the very least, it promises that the 2008 primaries will not be the coronation march for Hillary that most people believed just a few months ago.Sphere It View blog reactions
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