Thursday, September 27, 2007

"Hillary's slimy pollsters"

I grant that Eric has a point about The Politico, and maybe about the GQ story as well. I could have found much better backup for my increasingly negative feelings about Hillary Clinton's candidacy.

And maybe I have - with this post by Glenn Greenwald. Many of my objections derive from my gut feeling that there is something inherently veiled and unforthcoming about her candidacy. Her debate appearances seem angled to project confidence rather than provide illumination. John Kerry managed to do both at the same time in 2003.

Greenwald's comments on the HRC polling machine do nothing to change the way I feel; they only reinforce it.
    ...In September of 2003, Wesley Clark and Howard Dean led every Democratic poll, and all of the cable news and political magazine horserace chatter was a complete waste of air. For people who chose for their careers to write about political issues, don't they have any interest at all in covering more substantive matters?

    In any event, the Hillary Clinton campaign certainly recognizes that, in light of how our mainstream press covers the presidential campaign, perception of polling success is one of the critical factors in determining how a candidate is discussed -- certainly far more important than the substance of what the candidate is actually advocating. That is why Clinton's campaign is dominated by the execrable pollster Mark Penn, who manages single-handedly to embody, all in one person, everything that is sickly and wrong with our political establishment.

    Penn has the perfect long-time (now former) partner in Douglas Schoen, whose purpose in life is to argue that Democrats must accommodate George Bush and his radicalism (by, among other things, embracing Joe Lieberman) -- and repudiate their embarrassing and rabid base -- as much as possible if they want to succeed. One of the most disturbing aspects of a Clinton presidency is that individuals such as Penn and Schoen -- along with the likes of telecom lobbyist Jamie Gorelick and Iraq War cheerleader Mike O'Hanlon -- are highly likely to occupy critical positions of power in a Clinton administration, just as they did in the last Clinton administration.

    But Schoen's problems go beyond mere establishment-perpetuating ideology. In light of the importance of perceptions of polling success for the Clinton campaign, Schoen -- ever since he left the Penn firm -- has been holding himself out as an independent polling analyst for Rasmussen Reports and other media venues, concealing his long-standing ties to the Clintons and writing one ostensibly objective analysis after the next which has no purpose other than to depict Clinton's candidacy as an inevitability...
I haven't found my candidate yet, in case you are wondering. I'm keeping my eyes and ears open. I wouldn't call myself undecided; it's more that I'm unimpressed. But I do know this much; when I go to cast my primary vote it will not be for Hillary Clinton, no matter how inevitable she may or may not be. I could not give less of a damn about who the political press thinks is a "winner."

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