Croker Sack

"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." — Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The View From Over There

According to an article by Sarah Baxter of the London Times, Hillary Clinton (Should that be "Hillary Rodham Clinton," or has she put that side back into hiding?) has a viable opponent within the Democratic Party:

The Sunday Times February 12, 2006

Governor Nobody sneaks up on Hillary
Sarah Baxter, Manchester, New Hampshire

HILLARY CLINTON would make an excellent president, according to Meg Hirschberg, whose husband runs a hugely successful organic yoghurt company in New Hampshire: “She’s amazing and brilliant and smart and lovely.”

So that’s a vote for Clinton in 2008, then? Not at all. Hirschberg is thinking of backing Mark Warner, the former governor of Virginia, a likable, low-key, moderate Democrat who won a traditionally Republican state and, by all accounts, ran it competently. At this stage, it is enough of a recommendation.

“I don’t know a thing about him and I don’t care,” Hirschberg said last week as Warner listened to her husband explaining the finer points of organic farming. “I just want somebody with decent values who can win. It’s nothing to do with Hillary personally. It’s irrational and unfair, but she is polarising.”

Sounds good for Warner, huh? (And maybe good for the rest of us, if it's a valid indication of things to come. Hillary Rodham Clinton appears to be the feminine side of Albert Armand Gore. Saints, preserve us! If the GOP doesn't come up with a good candidate for 2008, at least let us have someone nearer the center of the political spectrum than Hillary running as a Democrat.)

This isn't the first time Sarah Baxter has noticed Warner. Here's her article in The Times back in November:

The Sunday Times November 13, 2005

‘New Bill’ emerges to thwart Hillary
Sarah Baxter, Washington

THE God-fearing governor of a southern state who has been described as America’s “new Bill Clinton” could end up fighting Hillary for the Democrat presidential nomination.

Mark Warner, who is compared to the former president for his “crossover” appeal to voters, is emerging as a top contender to stop Clinton’s wife from winning the Democrat ticket in 2008.

It seems that Baxter's beat includes handicapping the presidential race in the U.S.A. Here's her take on John McCain:

The Sunday Times November 20, 2005

Republicans turn to McCain the maverick
Sarah Baxter, Washington

THE state that buried Senator John McCain’s presidential hopes in 2000 was expected to welcome him back with open arms today in a remarkable turnaround that suggests his fortunes among Republicans are on the rise.

The last time McCain visited South Carolina he was called the “fag” candidate because he had met a group of gay Republicans. He offended evangelical Christians by denouncing the decision of his rival, George W Bush, to speak at Bob Jones University, a college known for its ban on inter-racial dating.

Now he is back with a 65% approval rating in the polls, dominating the pack of Republican presidential candidates in one of the “must-win” states. Marshall Whitman, a former McCain supporter and Christian Coalition organiser, said: “In many ways the movement is coming to him.”

And, there's even a nice article about the Clintons:

The Sunday Times August 07, 2005

Interview: Sarah Baxter talks to Bill Clinton
The Comeback Kid isn’t finished

All political careers end in failure, the saying goes, and for a while Bill Clinton seemed destined to follow that path. He won two American presidential elections — a breakthrough for the Democrats — yet he let himself down over Monicagate and baffled his greatest supporters by issuing pardons to shady characters on his way out of the White House.

Hillary would have been perfectly within her rights to have left him, and at one stage the $10m (£5.6m) advance for his memoirs looked ludicrously over the top. Who would want to read about his handshakes with Yasser Arafat after the suicide pilots of Al-Qaeda struck?
And look at the pair of them now: popular, prosperous, buoyed up not by one but two stupendous autobiographical bestsellers; as much the emblematic power couple as ever with a fair chance of moving back into the White House in 2008. Their political comeback is an achievement topped only by Bill’s amazing ascent to the presidency from the little town of Hope, Arkansas.

Should Hillary become America’s first woman president, all verdicts on the Clintons will have to be rewritten. Whatever their motivation — call it deeply personal, deftly political or a dash of both — it is a remarkable vindication of their decision to stay together.

It might be interesting to keep tabs on Baxter's view from over there in the U.K. as the horse race gets going.