by John Hawkins | December 19, 2007 9:30 am
In the last hundred years, there may not have been a single candidate who has come so far, so fast, with such a minimal amount of talent for politics as Hillary Clinton.
Following last week’s Democratic debate in Iowa, The Fix had the unique opportunity to sit in on focus groups conducted by The Washington Post.
During the Democratic session, led by The Post’s Dan Balz and David Broder, the group of 11 undecided voters was asked for their impressions about the debate and their general thoughts about the field of candidates.
As always when a group of Democrats are gathered, the conversation was dominated by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and revealed the problems and potential Clinton has in Iowa and beyond.
Asked to say whatever first came to mind when Clinton’s name was mentioned, the group offered a fascinating panoply of descriptions. “Can’t be trusted,” said one. “I just got a glimpse that she’s got an evil side to her,” said another. A third offered a backhanded compliment of sorts: “Very good at saying what she thinks we want to hear.”
Others were more positive in their remarks — if not effusive. “Work ethic,” said one; “I think she’s really focused,” said another.
The comments signal a larger theme when it comes to voters’ views in Iowa and nationally about Clinton. She is widely respected but not widely liked. Time and again in last week’s focus group, the voters said they had few doubts about Clinton’s ability to do the job of president; they also expressed a frustration with the essential unknowability of Clinton as a person.
Take away her husband and the ridiculously favorable press she gets because of him and what does she have going for her? Almost nothing.
* She comes across as cold and manipulative.
* Liberals, even many of the liberals who support her, don’t like or trust her.
* She has a very minimal level of charisma.
* Her political tactics are condescending to the point of being insulting to the voters. For example, when she decided that Obama’s message of “change” was beating her message of “experience,” which isn’t surprising given that she doesn’t have much experience herself, she decided to steal Obama’s message of change. Did she try to do that by actually proposing some kind of change? No, she repeated the word “change” 5 million times with the idea being that people will buy her as the candidate of change just because she says the word so many times.
* Her idea of convincing people that she’s “warm and friendly” isn’t to actually be warm and friendly, it’s to trot her husband and more pathetically, her mother, out to tell people what a nice person she is.
* In a time where bipartisanship is highly valued by the public, she is one of the most polarizing figures on the left.
* In a time where the public is complaining about a “culture of corruption,” she has more scandals associated with her than the whole rest of the Republican and Democratic field combined.
Yet, the least likable, most corrupt, most dishonest, least competent politician in the race is supposed to be the favorite to win the nomination and the Presidency?
Don’t bet on it.
One way or the other, there are just too many people who want to see Hillary taste the defeat that she so richly deserves.
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