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Laughed Off the Stage

Hillary Rodham Clinton remains a non-favorite in the liberal blogosphere. In the latest Kos reader poll, John Edwards leads with 39 percent, Barack Obama has 21, and Hillary 11 (up from 8 percent last month). Bill Richardson has plunged from 6 to 1 percent.

David Brooks says it doesn't matter and that "many Democratic politicians privately detest the netroots' self-righteousness and bullying."

Back to the MoveOn dustup: We now have a Rasmussen poll on the subject.

"Twenty-three percent (23%) of Americans approve of an ad run in the New York Times 'that referred to General Petraeus as General Betray Us?' A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 58% disapproved. Those figures include 12% who Strongly Approve and 42% who Strongly Disapprove.

"Self-identified liberals were evenly divided--45% approve and 39% disapprove. However, only 19% of moderate voters approve while 62% disapprove.

"Forty-seven percent (47%) of all adults say that 'stunts like the ad' hurt the cause they believe in. Only 12% believe they help the cause while 17% say there is no impact. Twenty-four percent (24%) are not sure. Again, political liberals are divided with 27% saying they help and 32% taking the opposite view. Fifty percent (50%) of moderates and 57% of conservatives say that these sorts of events hurt the cause the group is trying to promote."

Not a smashing success, if you go by the polls.

Can Hillary be stopped? The New Republic's Noam Scheiber is the latest to tackle the question:

"At this point, it would be crazy not to consider her the very strong favorite to win the nomination. Now, if you're a rival campaign, and you work backward from that assumption, your next question has to be: What's the most likely way for Hillary to stumble between now and, say, March, when the nomination is sewn up?

"For my money, the most likely stumble comes at some point in the last three weeks before the Iowa Caucuses, when Democratic primary voters there get a bit of buyer's remorse. Maybe they worry about Hillary's high negatives, or that she's a woman (the likes of which, after all, has never been tested in a general election), or that she carries too much baggage from the '90s, or that her election would extend a 20-year period in which only two families have controlled the White House, etc. Whatever the specific concern, I think the bottom line is that Iowa voters may worry that she's too risky to nominate (particularly in a year that should be a walk-over for Democrats), that she may not be as electable as they'd like.

"If that's the case, then I think it has huge implications for both Obama and Edwards--namely, it suggests both men have been running the wrong campaign. In a nutshell, I think Edwards is the most obvious beneficiary of any buyer's remorse Hillary might provoke. Edwards is a white guy from North Carolina with a thick Southern accent and a moderate record in the Senate. Barack Obama is a black guy from Illinois with an exotic name and only three years in federal office. If you're an Iowa Democrat who wakes up in a cold sweat in January worried about nominating someone (Clinton) who may be a tough sell in Middle America, the person you probably run to is Edwards, not Obama."

Scheiber's advice to Edwards: "Your best bet is to be the electable guy people turn to in their moment of angst. That's why I'm not so sure it makes sense for Edwards to move in an increasingly strident direction as the campaign unfolds."

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