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Friday, June 23, 2006

Hillary Clinton 2008 and the Blogs

Last September, Howard Fineman wrote an important piece about the netroots, the DLC, and Senator Hillary Clinton's 2008 potential.

WASHINGTON -- If I am hearing Simon Rosenberg right (and he is worth listening to), a nasty civil war is brewing within the Democratic Party, and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton -- the party’s presumptive 2008 nominee -- needs to avoid getting caught in the middle of it. [...]

Strategically, Clinton has no higher priority than reaching out to what Rosenberg calls "the emerging activist class" and word is that, through aides and advisors, she is doing just that: they have set up meetings with key bloggers.
Fineman concluded:
Hillary must adapt -- she has to "join the Resistance" -- and her history has shown that she is nothing if not adaptable.
I guess she is nothing.

In an era of 24 hour news cycles, in nine months she has failed at what Howard Fineman described as her hightest strategic priority.

Now I don't think that setting up meetings with bloggers is the best way to reach out to the netroots, but regardless let's judge her success at achieving her strategy. When the article came out, I emailed a large group of progressive bloggers to try and identify who Clinton's campaign thought were the "key bloggers" -- but nobody I talked with new anything about any meetings (one blogger some-what joked, "Maybe she's meeting with the Powerline guys and Charles Johnson. Because she isn't meeting with us.")

Nine months is a lot of time. It is actually eleven months since Kos declared:
Evan Bayh, Hillary Clinton, and Tom Vilsack are all dutifully trecking to Ohio to worship at the altar of the "vital center" -- that elusive moving target that has conspired to rob Democrats of all conviction. Every time you hear a Democrat talk about how Democrats don't stand for anything? That's the DLC, as they urge Democrats to chase after a "center" that gets constantly redefined rightward by an ideologically principled Republican party.

As we strive to find our core convictions, and define who we are and what we stand for as a party, the DLC is one of the roadblocks -- a divisive, fundamentalist organization willing to sell any and all progressive ideals to the altar of big business. And anything that threatens their dominance has met with their ire -- be it Howard Dean, the netroots, or regular people suddenly interested in transforming and reforming the Democratic Party.

Democrats have a choice to make -- stand with the DLC, or stand with the grassroots and netroots of the party. It's interesting that Democrats with a strong sense of self -- those who truly know what they stand for and are unafraid to say so -- are those least interested in the DLC's snake oil. Obama twice had to demand the DLC take him off their list. California's Phil Angelides -- the next governor of the Golden State given Ahnold's spectacular collapse -- also demanded to be taken off their list. Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who's anti-war floor speech made the internet rounds last year, also demanded to be taken off their list. Western Democrats in Montana -- blood red territory -- have shown no interest in cozying up with the DLC.
What happened to the old Clinton War Room mantra of "Speed Kills"? Why has Clinton proven unable to adapt? Why is she making things worse?

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