Ross Baker gives a quote to the NYT about Hillary that shows why political scientists make bad political strategists:
"Edwards and Obama are still waltzing around her rather than hitting on doubts about her that would really resonate with voters," said Ross K. Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University.
"One absolutely devastating accusation that could resonate is that she is gullible--she bought into two false story lines, one from her husband about Monica Lewinsky and one from President Bush about Iraq," Mr. Baker added.
a devastating accusation all right--but it's devastating to the candidate who
makes it. Obama (and Edwards less so) can certainly argue that Hillary went
hookline* hook, line, and sinker for Bush's Iraq flimflammery. But if they then link her
gullibility on that to her gullibility in defending Bill during the early days
of the Lewinsky scandal, well, then they'll tick off probably about 75 percent
of the people who vote in Democratic primaries. And Republicans in the
general election will face the same problem: They'll resurrect the ugly days of
the Clinton scandal, but they can't compare Hillary's behavior there to her
vote for the war--since the GOP base doesn't fault her for that vote.
All this raises an interesting question: Hillary's obviously a deeply polarizing figure, but is she in some ways helped by the fact that so many people hate her for so many different reasons? I mean, it's hard for a candidate to craft an anti-Hillary message that doesn't wind up alienating a good number of Hillary haters.
*-- correction c/o veteran angler Chris Orr.