The Economist: Ready to run the movie again?

The September 29th issue of the National Journal, an inside-the-Beltway magazine, contains a striking news item. Hillary Clinton has quietly signed a deal with the University of Illinois to house her presidential library. The university will put up $15m to help finance the construction and operation of the huge building on its Urbana-Champaign campus, close to where Hillary Rodham was born.

This was, of course, a joke””but it contains a serious point. The political establishment is betting heavily that Hillary Clinton will become America’s next president. And it has reason. Mrs Clinton is way out in front of the Democratic field. The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll puts her 33 points ahead of Barack Obama and 40 points ahead of John Edwards. She raised $22m in the last quarter””more than Mr Obama at $19m and much more than Mr Edwards at $7m. The once-mighty Republican Party is a shadow of its former self, divided not only about who should lead it but also about where it should go. Intrade, a pay-to-play prediction market, shows a 36% chance of the Republicans holding the White House alongside a 12% chance of them taking the House and a 7% chance they might take the Senate.

Politicos invariably hedge all this around with qualifications. Howard Dean was well ahead of the Democratic field at this stage of the electoral cycle in 2004. Mr Obama might make a breakthrough in Iowa (where he is nipping Mrs Clinton’s heels) and gain enough momentum to win the nomination. Mrs Clinton might stumble and fall. The American electorate might balk at the idea of handing both the White House and Capitol Hill to a single party and go for a Republican president. All possible, of course; but all less likely by the day. Mrs Clinton is not only the front-runner. She is well on the way to becoming a prohibitive front-runner.

Read it all.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, US Presidential Election 2008

6 comments on “The Economist: Ready to run the movie again?

  1. Nate says:

    The article very poignantly notes that Hillary is all at once both too liberal for those on the right (social issues) and too conservative for those on the left (economics)–the quote in the article is telling:
    [i]But Hillary-hatred is by no means confined to the right. David Geffen, a Hollywood mogul, gave voice to a widespread feeling on the left when he complained about the Clintons’ relationship with truth. “Everybody in politics lies,” he told the New York Times. “But they do it with such ease, it’s troubling.” [/i]
    Two points: One-The polls are national polls based on (about) 20% (or less) of voters who have made up their minds. Two-Unscientifically, I know of NO ONE (aside from Elanor Cleft) who openly admits or roots for a Hillary Nomination. Who are her supporters and why does she get them all jazzed up?

  2. Sarah1 says:

    RE: “And Mrs Clinton is doing a goodish job of dealing with those “negatives”—certainly good enough to pick up many disillusioned Republicans and restive independents.”

    I find this to be breathtakingly wrong. I’m not a “disillusioned Republican” since I’m not a Republican — but my former basic neutrality regarding the party as a whole has plummeted into the ground, though largely my disillusion has nothing to do with the President but with other matters.

    Yet I cannot imagine any circumstances at all where I will vote for Clinton. None. I see no possibility whatsoever that Hillary will pick up “disillusioned Republicans” . . . although certainly liberals who are independent and non-affiliated might well vote for her.

    Liberals — no matter whether Democrats or Independents — will vote for her. And so the real question is will conservatives — whether Republicans or Independents — unify around a particular conservative candidate, or divide their votes amongst several candidates.

    It’s gonna be interesting to see!

  3. Br. Michael says:

    On the other hand the candidates maybe so unattractive that many will not vote.

  4. libraryjim says:

    Right, the people have yet to vote in the primaries. This is the longest presidential contest to date, started way earlier than any other campaign in history. Maybe there should be a law stating that no candidate will begin their campaign for presidency until November of the year prior to the primaries. That would cut things down a bit.

    And also don’t forget, many, many Democratic voters in Florida are very angry with the DNC for threatening not to count any of the delegates votes from Florida if we go ahead with a January 29 primary election.

    The Republicans threatened to discount [i]half[/i] if we go ahead.

    This has already caused some Democrats and state party leaders to threaten to boycot the primaries by not voting at all, or to vote independent.

    Lawsuits are pending as well.

    Either way, this would skew the results. THE DNC is not seen in a good light in Florida and some other states who insisted in moving up their primary elections.

    Jim Elliott

  5. Rocks says:

    I don’t know who will be the next president but I do know one thing. The name of the next president will not be Clinton or Bush. The single most unifying aspect of US politics right now, as evidenced by the republicans losses in 06, is that everyone is tired of seeing the same people. A Bush or Clinton has been on the presidential ticket for 25 years. It is time to stop. It is time for these 2 families to go away. It’s gotten to the point that I can barely read or listen to a news story which has the name Bush or Clinton in it. Save for Scotus appointments and foreign policy, thank God for small miracles, none of these politicians do anything they promise or state they stand for once they get to DC so there is little reason to vote FOR any of them. Voting against someone starts to become very attractive and voting against a Bush or Clinton almost becomes irresistible.
    There are plenty of competent women politicians, there is no need that Hillary be president on that point.

  6. Nate says:

    Sarah wrote:
    certainly liberals who are independent and non-affiliated might well vote for her.

    You’re certain that liberals will vote for her? The liberals in my neighborhood all say that Hillary is much too conservative for their liking. For instance, Hillary’s universal health program is (in their eyes) a giveaway to the HMO’s because it leaves them in place. Another example is Hillary’s unwillingness to undo NAFTA–This is (in my mind) the real litmus test of whether a dem. is being perceived as “running to the left” and clearly she doesn’t want to be perceived that way. Maybe faux liberals vote for her.