Warning: political content.
I read with a little amusement Sharon Cobb’s recap of last night’s civil Republican debate. On the whole, she’s got a pretty good eye for these things, and understands Republican politics better than many Republicans. This part was the most interesting to me:
In previous debates, Romney would easily stumble when exchanges got heated. But last night everyone was very civil, so Romney didn’t get rattled. (Hillary or Barack would eat him for lunch in a debate)
I’m not saying this isn’t true. But it brings up an interesting problem the Democrats are going to have in the general election, should Clinton win the nomination.
(As an aside, JP thinks my advice to Democrats is a Trojan Horse. This is a legitimate concern, I guess, so it’s up to you if you want to listen).
I really think Hillary’s supporters do not fully appreciate her image problem amongst people who aren’t…well…her supporters. If Romney and Clinton were to meet in a debate, and if he were to remain civil, and if Hillary “ate him for lunch”, her suporters would indeed see a tough woman putting a slick politician man in his place. But the rest of the country (especially men, but also some women) would see the last ten seconds of this advertisement:
Hey, would someone please clean up the exploding head debris?
Sure, it’s not right. But, c’mon. You know you’ve seen the Hillary nutcrackers, and all the other crude reminders. Mrs Clinton has an image problem. She’s had it since 1992. It’s a very serious one, and I think her supporters have a blind spot to it, because they abhor the REASONS for the image problem. But are you going to curse the universe for making men (and some women) so ignorant, or are you going to win the presidency?
She can’t overcome the image problem. There will be no Lazio moment – outside of New York, many people would think he wussed out for not taking a swing at her.
If she wins the nomination, she cannot “out-tough” the Republican, ESPECIALLY if it’s Romney. She’s going to have to out-charm him. To be honest, I have no idea how Clinton would pull that off.
It’s not fair, but Obama doesn’t have this problem, and could attack, and use his charm to overcome the negative vibes from it. Mrs Clinton has no such charm. Can’t you see that?
Obama is the Dems’ best chance.