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The Hillary paradox


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"The right" paints her as "a sharp turn to the left"

"The left" sees her as one of the most moderate candidates in the pack

 

According to a Rasmussen Reports telephone survey, Clinton is viewed by Democrats as politically liberal by 33% and seen as moderate by 45%, which paints her just a bit more centrist than Obama, who is viewed as politically liberal by 34% and moderate by 39%.

 

When the same survey includes all voters, the situation reverses: 53% of American voters believe she's liberal while 29% consider moderate, compared to 42% of all voters see Illinois Senator Barack Obama as politically liberal while 41% say the same about former North Carolina Senator John Edwards.

 

Why is it that the mainstream population considers Hillary to be the most liberal candidate when liberals see her as one of the least?

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One possible reason is that respondents in the poll which surveyed only Democrats likely represents Hillary as compared to other Democrats. When you survey the entire population, regardless of party affiliation, respondents will likely compare the Hillary against everyone currently running for president, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and Not a Chancers alike.

 

I don't know if the above is "the reason" for the results you see, but I interpret it to mean that, relative to all those running, she is pretty liberal, but relative to only the Democrats running she is not very liberal.

 

What that all means, you've got me. Ask an 8th grader what the best food on the planet is and they might say a corndog. Ask a FoodNetwork executive what the best food on the planet is and they might say duck fat. My point being, remember that these percentages represent different study populations.

 

 

That... and what the good Doc Double Helix said above. :rolleyes:

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One possible reason is that respondents in the poll which surveyed only Democrats likely represents Hillary as compared to other Democrats. When you survey the entire population, regardless of party affiliation, respondents will likely compare the Hillary against everyone currently running for president, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and Not a Chancers alike.

 

The problem with that interpretation is the survey asked responders to classify the Democratic candidates as being liberal, moderate, or conservative. It wasn't specifically about Hillary.

 

When you ask Democrats that question, Hillary is ranked among the least liberal, whereas the population as a whole ranked her as the most.

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I understand your point, but I tried to touch on this with my (appallingly crappy) comment about corndogs and duck fat. Different audiences. In the mind of a Democrat, being liberal means something much different than what being liberal means in the mind of a Republican.

 

Also, I have been checking the site (the link you provided is broken, but here is a correct one), and I'm frustrated because I cannot find the actual wording of their question and the response choices offered. The question wording is a major component of the response types you will receive. Also, the article is over a month old now, so I imagine the numbers will have shifted.

 

Regardless, the term "liberal" is often defined directly by the respondents, and hence the "media" related comment above is pertinent.

 

That's all I've got right now though. I'm hoping someone else will chime in with another suggestion that makes sense.

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Most Americans don't pay a lot of attention. Many know who Hillary is...perhaps know 'some' of the other candidates but couldn't tell you if McCain is a Demo or Rep, etc.

 

DrDNa is more or less on the mark when he states

 

"Because the TV/radio/newspaper/internet pundits said so."

 

Few could name a single 'liberal' Hillary policy or a single Thompson 'conservative' policy. Most of the images are PR jobs and are subject to the latest ad campaign.

 

10 to 1 that 50% of Americans couldn't pick out more than one candidate, Hillary, by name in a police line up and 90% so ignorant they couldn't find Iraq on a map.

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I'm hoping someone else will chime in with another suggestion that makes sense.

 

I'll take a crack. :P Not that this is radically different than what everyone else has been saying.

 

It really depends on what you look at whether Hillary is 'liberal.' If you look at her healthcare policies from the 90's (in the context of the 90's) you'd think she was a raving Troskyist. If you look at some of her foreign policy statements, though, she's a neocon. To war-weary Democrats, those foreign policy statements might be enough to brand Clinton 'moderate.' To Republicans and the general public her domestic policy may seem more pertinent, therefore she seems more 'liberal.' Of course media bias has a whole lot to do with what gets focused on by different groups of people.

 

On a side note: the fact that Hillary told Newsweek that she's willing to work with James Inhofe on environmental policy worries me a bit. That's part of her 'moderate' credentials, I suppose.

 

10 to 1 that 50% of Americans couldn't pick out more than one candidate, Hillary, by name in a police line up and 90% so ignorant they couldn't find Iraq on a map.

 

Well you're a cynical fellow.

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It really depends on what you look at whether Hillary is 'liberal.' If you look at her healthcare policies from the 90's (in the context of the 90's) you'd think she was a raving Troskyist. If you look at some of her foreign policy statements, though, she's a neocon. To war-weary Democrats, those foreign policy statements might be enough to brand Clinton 'moderate.' To Republicans and the general public her domestic policy may seem more pertinent, therefore she seems more 'liberal.'

You raise an excellent point when discussing how "context" or "topic" plays a role. In addition to "respondent" definition, the situation being questioned is very relevant. If one were "liberal" in one subject, but "conservative" in another, how can one class that person as overall one or the other with any validity? The terms are both subjective AND relative, making them that much more meaningless as classifications.

 

 

Well you're a cynical fellow.

He's bordering on fundamentalist. I can appreciate his frustration on the overall trend that seems to eminate from the US, especially for the past several years, but his hostility and absolutism in comment is more than simply distasteful... it's abrasive and wrong, and does nothing to improve the situation we mutually disdain.

 

 

Those Canadians, eh? Just drinkin' some Molsen and watchin' hockey. Who are these moose chasin' bumpkins to talk politics? Go back to yer ice fishin', eh... before the ice all melts.

 

 

"Daddy, what were trees like?" :rolleyes:

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I'll take a crack. :P Not that this is radically different than what everyone else has been saying.

 

It really depends on what you look at whether Hillary is 'liberal.' If you look at her healthcare policies from the 90's (in the context of the 90's) you'd think she was a raving Troskyist. If you look at some of her foreign policy statements, though, she's a neocon. To war-weary Democrats, those foreign policy statements might be enough to brand Clinton 'moderate.' To Republicans and the general public her domestic policy may seem more pertinent, therefore she seems more 'liberal.' Of course media bias has a whole lot to do with what gets focused on by different groups of people.

 

On a side note: the fact that Hillary told Newsweek that she's willing to work with James Inhofe on environmental policy worries me a bit. That's part of her 'moderate' credentials, I suppose.

 

 

 

Well you're a cynical fellow.

 

That's probably 95% from your state that couldn't point out Iraq on a map. TN is one of the chubby, low academic states. 10 to 1 they could tell you where the nearest Mcdonald's is and the name of some football team....but find Iraq on a map after almost 5 years of war?...Ha Ha:D ...forget it. ;)

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That's probably 95% from your state that couldn't point out Iraq on a map. TN is one of the chubby, low academic states. 10 to 1 they could tell you where the nearest Mcdonald's is and the name of some football team....but find Iraq on a map after almost 5 years of war?...Ha Ha:D ...forget it. ;)

 

Now, that was absolutely uncalled for. Not nice at all. Why do you have to go and say something nasty like that?

 

You ever even been to Tennesse?

BEAUTIFUL place. God's country for sure.

And the people are really nice and friendly. Salt of the earth. Most of them would give you the shirts off their backs....well maybe not to you after they got to know you, but I know that they'd give their shirts to nice people.

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Now, that was absolutely uncalled for. Not nice at all. Why do you have to go and say something nasty like that?

 

You ever even been to Tennesse?

BEAUTIFUL place. God's country for sure.

And the people are really nice and friendly. Salt of the earth. Most of them would give you the shirts off their backs....well maybe not to you after they got to know you, but I know that they'd give their shirts to nice people.

 

Sure, I've been to Tenessee. Several times. Hot spot for Paleozoic paleontology.

 

Stop ten of those 'nice Tennessee people' at random on the street. Then give them a map with no names on countries.

 

Go ahead....I bet either one or 'none' wold be able to find Iraq. Few would even start looking at the right spot on the globe. This after almost 5 years of war the 'red' state eagerly supported.

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Part of the reason many Americans can't find places on the map is due to the liberal education system. The Democratic party has control of the public educational system. The Republicans try to send their children to free market private schools or do home schooling, and score better. If people can't find Iraq and you told then, here it is, right near Japan, then they are ripe to be told anything you want them to believe. The dumbing down of America, through the public education system, makes it possible create the confusion/illuison as to what Democratic candidates stand for.

 

Although American people can't do simple geography, they are very knowledgeable when it comes to entertainment. This is the land of Hollywood and make believe. This is also a stronghold of the Democrats. Maybe the strategy is to dumb them down and then make them more knowledgable and attracted to, the world of make believe.

 

If you go back to the Hilary data, within her party she is moderate. But the most liberal of that party are way out there at the cutting edge. The other observation, this group is against more things, than they stand for. There is a lot of bottled up anger in this group against the establishment. A conservative Democrat only has to have one issue, which they do not agree, relative to the rest of the Democratic party. If you are not fully with the program, they label you a conservative for punishment. For example, Senator Lieberman supports a strong defense but is with the Democratic party on almost all the other issues. He was targetted and branded a traitor to the cause. Hilary is moderate between these extremes. She is with the program, 100%, but is not ready to break down everything.

 

When you go to a larger population, the results are more objective. There are many independants, who are not connected to either party. These people are able to see the two extremes, i.e, extreme left and right, and extrapolate the center to better define a moderate in light of all the data. Based on that assessment, Hilary is to the left of a true moderate. The reason for this, she needs the support of the extreme left. She not only needs their support, but she is afraid to upset them, since they are most radial group in American politics, full of bitterness and resentment. They could use their anger machine to damage her, so she stays left.

 

Once she gets the Democratic nomination, she will move toward center. She needs to, to be able to get that important independant vote. She is almost garenteed the support of the most of the Democrats. The far left will hate her for this, but they are calculated to hate the Republicans even more. They will grudgenly get into line to prevent the Republicans, with the hope that once she is elected, they will be able to influence her, again. But the reality of the job as President will make her have to stay in the middle, if she wants to get things done. The far left will feel betrayed and many will start jumping ship. They were all dumbed down by the educational system and built up with the entertainment system to be used as pawns in the game of political chess. Former President Clinton may be needed to smooth ruffled feathers. They will be needed, again, for the next electrion cycle when the House and Senates appears. The extreme left needs to cut a deal up front, and make support conditional.

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Why is it that the mainstream population considers Hillary to be the most liberal candidate when liberals see her as one of the least?

 

I think the reason is because of the way she has been demonized in different ways. The more politicians are in the public eye, the more distinct caricatures of them develop, representing how people perceive them. Mostly these caricatures are determined by how their enemies are able to portray them, since negative characteristics are more memorable, and make for better television.

 

That said, Hillary Clinton has been probably the number one target among right-wing pundits and talk radio types for fifteen years now, which means they've had plenty of time to develop a caricature that has come to represent everything they see as intolerable and evil, e.g., an amibitious woman, a "feminazi," a socialist, an uber-liberal. Liberals are bad, Hillary is bad, Hillary must be the ultimate liberal! That this bears little relation to reality is irrelevant; her caricature has more life than she does.

 

Real liberals, however, do not listen to the same pundits, but get a more diffused image. They get that she's "unlikable," but since for them being liberal is not a reason for dislike, she comes to represent other things. Not being as indoctrinated with the talk-radio Hillary caricature, they take more notice of things like her more moderate stances on most issues, particularly with regards to foreign policy, where she has consistently angered the ABB crowd with her moderation. Thus, she is seen as farther to the right.

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Thus, she is seen as farther to the right.

 

I perfectly agree with you that she has been demonized in different ways. But it's also true that she's trying quite hard to look tough, and many Democrats don't like it, despite the fact that we have few reasons to believe she would be Hawkish. Mark Penn (her strategist) doesn't want to get to the election in 2008 with a candidate that is seen as weak on security.

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My response to Geoguy: Mneh *sticks tongue out*

Or I could whip out the ultimate debate ender and point out that at least one in ten Tennesseans are probably personally connected to someone fighting in Iraq, so they'd pretty sure be able to point it out on a map.

 

The statement is too stupid to have been meant seriously anyway. We may not be as highbrow down here as folks from the great metropolitan city of Edmonton, but we've had elec-tri-city out in these parts for at least 10 years, and TV's for almost as long. We've all seen the news and the little Iraq outlines that they always put up whenever they do an Iraq story.

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One possible explanation: That which is eminently reasonable is also very forgettable, while that which is eminently unreasonable lingers forever in our memories. To the left, Hillary's espousal of universal health care in the 90s was eminently reasonable, but it was eminently unreasonable to most of the nation and to the right in particular. That one action forever made Hillary a far-left liberal in the minds of many.

 

The same is true for her initial support of the war. That action was eminently reasonable to most of the nation at that time. It didn't mark her as a warmonger, just reasonable. Even liberals can succumb to reason some of the time. On the other hand, this initial support forever damns Hillary as a conservative warmonger in the minds of some of the far left.

 

Oh, and don't forget the importance of right-wing talk radio. Bill Clinton is the devil incarnate and Hillary is his witch.

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I think that Hillary's Univ Health Care campaign may be the only good thing to say about her.....and I lean towards being a libertarian....but if you call me one I'll deny it. How can anybody with a shed of compassion be against that?

 

But who here can list 5 achievements or important legislation that she has championed? Rules: looking it up cheating! no google searching-or any other kind allowed!:eyebrow:

 

I consider Hillary as much a true liberal (or true moderate for that matter) about as much as I consider lil George a true Christian....no matter what you think.....that boy doesn't know Jesus! He just used it effectively when he needed to get where he wanted to be. I believe that she is an army of one for one and a chameleon plain and simple.

 

Frankly, she makes my skin crawl....no better than lil George in a dress as far as I'm concerned.....and I'm not talking about hairy arms and legs...they are both parasites. Her involvement in schemes like Whitewater is still an issue to me. The fake manner in which she stands by her weasel man is compeletly transparent....The fake southern accent that she turns on for southern audiences doesn't help. The bottom line, it looks to me like Mrs Clinton will do whatever she needs to do to get elected.

I ask this every election year: who would I let baby sit my child? Honestly, I can say that I would not let her baby sit my child.

 

I may be the only one on here that can say that Hillary is my least favorite candidate period in the whole pool (that includes ind, dem, rep, martian, dog, cat...), and in reading your posts here, it appears that no one can say with confidence what side of the fence she is sitting on. Doesn't that worry you?

 

I must also admit that some of the same goes for Rudy on the (supposed) other side. What side of the fence is he sitting on? He looks exactly like a hard core moderate dem to me.

 

OK ladies and gentlemen, I've said my mind and I can take it. Go ahead and throw your stones >:D

PS: I don't listen to Rush and his breed of jerks (but I do listen to Air America) so don't even try that:D .

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But who here can list 5 achievements or important legislation that she has championed? Rules: looking it up cheating! no google searching-or any other kind allowed!:eyebrow: [/Quote]

 

Well list 5 achievements or important legislation championed by Ted Kennedy. Legislators just have more obscure public profiles than other national figures. It's an artifact of being one vote among 435. We really only hear about when they do things we disagree with.

 

I ask this every election year: who would I let baby sit my child? Honestly, I can say that I would not let her baby sit my child.

 

It's just a personal opinion, but I don't think that that's a very good way to select political leaders. We can't know Hillary, we can only know what pundits on both sides paint her as. We have no real way of judging if we'd trust her to look after our kids. It's just an emotional response built up by the media.

 

I may be the only one on here that can say that Hillary is my least favorite candidate period in the whole pool (that includes ind, dem, rep, martian, dog, cat...), and in reading your posts here, it appears that no one can say with confidence what side of the fence she is sitting on. Doesn't that worry you?

 

I must also admit that some of the same goes for Rudy on the (supposed) other side. What side of the fence is he sitting on? He looks exactly like a hard core moderate dem to me.

 

Parties and their platforms are just ways to get elected. It's the issues that matter. If Rudy wants to call him self Republican because he's 'tough on terror' but still supports moderate social stances, I'll still support him on his social stances. The same with Clinton.

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Well list 5 achievements or important legislation championed by Ted Kennedy. Legislators just have more obscure public profiles than other national figures. It's an artifact of being one vote among 435. We really only hear about when they do things we disagree with.

Just for clarity, they are both Senators, so their votes are counted among a total of 100. 435 is the House.

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You can dislike her all you want, but if you honestly believe she can't be trusted around children (whatever that means), then you've been brainwashed far, far more than you realize by the professional slander industry. I mean, come on. I'm not a Hillary Clinton supporter, but I constantly end up coming to her defense, just because of the completely ridiculous degree to which she is maligned by some people.

 

She's a politician. So yes, she's probably insincere quite a bit, just like any other politician. (At one time I believe she was quite sincere, but a lifetime of politics tends to jade a person.) And yes, she's ambitious. (She's running for President! What a revelation!) She lacks the personal charisma of, say, her husband, and so she probably seems even more insincere than she actually is.

 

But none of that would matter to anybody if it wasn't fashionable to hate her, and it wouldn't be fashionable to hate her if the "Hillary is evil" drumbeat hadn't been going for so long. People who don't actually know anything about her positions assume they're against them, because "Hillary is evil." That's why conservatives think she's a crazy liberal, and why liberals think she's a two-faced conservative. The same thing (to a lesser degree, frankly) has been done to GWB - people will take a position just because it's the opposite of his, because "Bush is evil." Similarly, anything she does must be criticized. She is attacked for standing by her husband, but you're a fool if you think she wouldn't be attacked for not standing by her husband. It goes on and on.

 

So what is she really? A politician. Not a straight talker (though much more "straight" in action than most). Very, very smart. Painfully uncharismatic. Always coolheaded. And a constant moderate, except for one radical plan, universal, simplified healthcare, that she pushed against all odds back in 1993 when nobody wanted it, and now most people want it.

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I agree with Sisyphus. Well I might take issue with the degree to which Bush has been treated the same way -- I don't think any president has been demonized to this degree since George "The Fourth" Washginton! But yeah, I agree that they haven't deserved the kind of treatment they've received from the right. It's utterly ridiculous, and every time a far-righter complains about the way Bush is treated I remind them of the way they treated the Clintons. (And every time I'm met with "yeah but....")

 

I think it will actually be interesting to see if the cycle is repeated beginning in 2009. I keep hoping that people will begin to set partisanship aside. It may seem like a foolish hope, but I think the benefits of faster communications and greater transparency are taking some toll on the ability of pundits and partisans to stay ahead of the backlash. Or they may catch up, I don't know. Something will be different about it, either in tone or frequency or perhaps even accuracy.

 

But I have a thin hope that it'll be an improvement somehow. One thing I think the left is beginning to realize is the same thing that the right realized around 1999-2000, which is that they're not going to be able to objectively establish a negative legacy. They're not going to be able to write the history books, you might say. There's just too much attention focused on that sort of thing now. The first time a history text comes out that demonizes Bush you'll see people leap on it and complain. Kinda like the controversies conservatives tried to stir up over the Clinton library (re the pardons just before leaving office). The far left wants everyone to understand that Bush was evil, and they're not going to be any more successful at accomplishing that than the far right was with the Clintons.

 

That's some kind of progress, perhaps.

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It's amazing just how malleable the mind of the typical person really is.

 

It's amazing how a skilled politician can what they consider friends into the worst enemies, and at the same time turn the worst enemies into the best friends. What's even more intriguing is the relative ease they do it with, the consistency they do that, and how every single time the masses fall for the same thing over and over again.

 

I think the situation will improve once people learn to actually pay attention to the issues, rather than the superficial things. But, I don't see any evidence that this will happen anytime soon. *sigh*

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