Michael Barone makes a compelling case that HRC is running for the 2008 Democratic nomination already and that she’s likely to win it. He thinks this may be a big problem for the Democrats:

Democrats would be unwise to give up entirely on their chances in 2004; as the Clintons showed in 1992, great turnabouts in politics are possible. But if 2004 turns out as most people suspect, Democrats must decide if their psychic investment in the Clintons, and in Hillary Rodham Clinton as an icon of feminist success, justifies nominating a candidate with her electoral weakness. Democrats exulted when Bill Clinton seemed to be paying no price for his personal shortcomings in the 1992 and 1996 elections, and in the impeachment controversy. But nothing in politics is free; there is only some question about when you pay the price. Democrats may end up paying the price for Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky, Whitewater and Travelgate, in 2008.

I tend to agree with his analysis that Clinton would win the nomination if she sought it and that she’d have an uphill fight winning a general election because of her high negatives. But 2008 is a loooong way away. Barone believes, as do I, that there’s even a chance of a Democrat winning an upset in 2004 if circumstances change. If that’s the case, then HRC winning in 2008 isn’t inconceivable; she has a long time to defuse her negatives.

Update (11:00): Poliblogger points out that he has also posted on this. I agree with his analysis, actually moreso than Barone’s, which I find a bit too static.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. CGHill says:

    That’s an awful lot of negatives to defuse in only five years.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Certainly true. My gut tells me she can’t win. But, hell, I didn’t think Bill could win in 1992 or 1996, either.

  3. Steven says:

    Man, I already blogged this! And my post is longer, so it is, ipso facto, gooder.

    Actually, I think we blogged the story within about 5-10 minutes of one another.

  4. Nick says:

    You’re forgetting about the Condi Rice bodyslam that the Repubs can wreak upon the Dems. “Oh, you want to finally nominate a woman? Well, here’s our counter- a black female…SLAMMMM!”. Too perfect. I can’t wait for this to happen. The first minority and woman to be elected will be a Republican- and it will all be done in Hillary Clinton’s face.

  5. Paul says:

    But both of you guys miss a major point. Negatives don’t go away NEARLY as fast as goodwill. The ONLY thing Hillary can hope to ride to victory is the “Clinton economy” (which was a dotcom farce but I digress.)

    Hillary is hated and will always be hated by many people for her arrogant and socialistic behavior as self appointed healthcare queen.

    Bill did not lose the House after 40 years, Hillary was responsible for that.

    Any goodwill from a “good economy” will never last 8 years. The ONLY way that plays if we are in a near depression then. And if that is the case any dem could win.


  6. James Joyner says:


    Steven and I “get” that negatives are harder to lose than positives and agree that she’s virtually unelectable now. But the people who hate Hillary aren’t swing voters, they’re hard core Republicans.