She Thinks She Can
She first has to be nominated, of course. And that's not a given as long as Howard Dean is out there alienating over half the country while pandering to the hard left who believe Hillary, at best, is Republican Lite.
I suspect Dean is not long for the job -- out after a year's pay.
If the Dems are foolish enough to keep Dean around through 2006, they will suffer another failed attempt to gain control of the House and Senate -- and only 2 years out from electing a new president.
I expect someone more in tune with Mudcat to be leading the DNC well before then.
Mudcat sees no reason why Hillary can't win over the "bubbas". Me neither -- or at least enough of them to make the difference between Senator Hillary Clinton and President Hillary Clinton.
If Mudcat is bullish on her chances, I'm bullockish. She carries enough baggage to require several Mudcat-type porters -- but stupid she is not. And she will have the Elvis of Politics in her corner.
It also helps that she works her ass off (not enough of it, judging by some photos) to not only understand issues, but to master them. (alright, alright -- the previous parenthetical was a cheap shot. Seriously though, it wouldn't hurt her to work on that as well).
I know this is only anecdotal, but friends who have sat in on Hillary visits to Fort Drum, Afghanistan, and Iraq have been surprised and impressed with her grasp of issues such as readiness. And I hear this a lot: in person, she's entirely likeable. That's coming from some pretty conservative men and women.
If she listens to Mudcat and continues to move toward the center, I would not bet on anyone except George Allen or Fred Thompson to beat her. And even then, I think it would be a very close thing.
So who the hell is Mudcat?
He's the focus of Matt Labash's long article, Hunting Bubba. Worth reading every word. Below are excerpts:
Our revelry is interrupted by a rap at the door. One of Mudcat's neighbors has come over with a friend who wants to meet him. Seeing I'm a reporter, the neighbor introduces himself as Cravin Moorehead, a name I use all evening. Not until later when I'm transcribing my tapes, and sound out the name real slow, do I realize I've been had. His friend is Bobby the Eye Doctor. They are both deep into vodka tonics, which they've brought with them in plastic cups. They are celebrating Cravin's first kill of turkey season, which ends in only two days. "I've got the monkey off my back," Cravin says, after going 27 straight mornings without pulling the trigger.
When Cravin tells Bobby I'm profiling Mudcat, Bobby asks if I work for a hunting magazine. He has no idea of Mudcat's political involvements. Bobby just wanted to meet him, because Mudcat is something of a legendary hunter in the area. The winner of numerous "big-buck" contests, Mudcat likes to spend every day of deer season up on the mountain, one of the reasons he says he honestly doesn't care if he ever touches another campaign. And he's known to scout the terrain months before the season opens. "Rednecks drink beer and watch their big-screens," says Mudcat. "Bubba scouts."
We adjourn to the porch, and talk hunting for what seems like several hours, while Mudcat encourages the boys to finish off the damson, "cause after this story comes out, I can't have this shit in the house." After hearing about my magazine, Bobby identifies himself as a "fuckin' die-hard Republican. I love W. He's the man!" Mudcat settles in with his iced tea, and goes to work on Bobby's head. He drills him over the Contract With America, not because Mudcat disagrees with it, but because he says power-drunk, decadent Republicans have largely forsaken their principles and quit acting like Republicans.
Bobby takes strong issue, saying you can't blame Republicans for the deficit, since the economy is partly responsible. "Well they write the goddamned budget!" says Mudcat. "And the president is a Republican--who else do I blame?" Mudcat tells Bobby he may be a Democrat, but he's a fiscal conservative who believes in the sanctity of the Constitution and has a poor opinion of the Patriot Act. Furthermore, he tells Bobby that "there ain't 50 cents difference in you and I politically." Sure, Bobby's a good Baptist who thinks gays have no right to get married, while Mudcat thinks it's a states-rights issue, and takes a more laissez faire attitude toward homosexuals, as long as he's not the object of their attentions.
But much as he did during the Warner campaign, when he and Jarding neutralized the NRA by forming their own pro-gun sportsmen's committees, Mudcat sings the glories of gun rights, and tells Bobby that as a sportsman he should be grievously offended that Bush relaxed standards on coal-fired generators. "They're throwing 3.2 percent more acid rain in our streams," he emphasizes. "They're killin' our fuckin' brook trout. They're gone!"
Bobby, who earlier said he didn't want to talk politics, by now is nodding furiously. Hitting an array of other cultural issues -- mostly Democratic planks formulated in Bubba English -- Mudcat's about ready to draw the net. He says that to keep their rural children home, they need to give them a reason to stay, through investment and better education. "We need to keep our culture," says Mudcat.
"Yeah," amens Bobby, and "what's the bullshit with the ban on Sunday hunting?"
"You're not a redneck," says Mudcat. "You're the spirit of Bubba, son. Just like Cravin sitting over there." He tells them that inside every rural Republican is a Democrat trying to get out. If a Democrat "would give you a reason to vote for him, you'd vote for him," promises Mudcat. "But they don't know how to shoot at Bubba."
He brings up Sportsmen for Kerry as an example, saying that the group's number one initiative was fully funding national parks. "Why the fuck do we want to fully fund parks we can't hunt?" screams Mudcat. Even Cravin, who's gone completely mellow in his vodka-tonic stupor, but who periodically interrupts with outbursts in which he refers to himself in the third person, interjects, "Cravin Moorehead says that don't make any sense!"
By now, Mudcat is feeding off his audience. "I can take you down the road to Damascus in about four hours," he tells the boys.
"C'mon, Paul," says Bobby, "Bring it!"
"I can't make you vote for a Democrat," Mudcat continues, "But I can make you look at one." By the time we all take the fraternal leak in Mudcat's yard, Bobby the Eye Doctor, the former die-hard Republican, is ready to look, assuring Mudcat, "You know what? I vote for the person, not the party."
After hours of listening to Mudcat talk about how he hates foreign interventions but supports a robust military, about how he detests high taxes and profligate spending, about how he can't stand demonizing all rich people as greedheads, and how he's fervently pro-Second Amendment, I tell him he sounds an awful lot like an old-school Republican. Why not save some time and just become one? "Because since the beginning of time, the big sonofabitch has kicked the little sonofabitch's ass," he says. "Republicans are the big sonsofbitches. And I happen to like the little sonsofbitches. They're my people."
I bet Mudcat loves Zell Miller.
BACK IN MUDCAT'S ROANOKE LIVING ROOM, the hour is late, and the political handicapping is underway. Surprisingly, Mudcat is rather bullish on Hillary Clinton's prospects, saying that while other Republicans and Democrats will "be banging on the left and right rails" throughout their primaries, it's in her interest to run down the center all the way through, meaning she'd have a leg up on the general election.
I ask him if she could make inroads with the Bubbas, since her "Sooey!" calls at Razorback football games when she was first lady of Arkansas probably won't cut much ice. Wouldn't Bubba rather hit her with rotten fruit than see her name on a stock car?
"But why couldn't she?" asks Mudcat. Bubba doesn't need to know you're one of him, he just needs to know you appreciate him. She already swung enough in upstate New York to become senator. And after all, he says, Bubbas aren't just southerners. "What is Pennsylvania?" he asks. "It's Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, and it's Alabama in the middle."
Read it all -- it's Labash at his best
If Hillary is as smart as her friends say she is, she'll try to convince the bubbas and bubbettes that they're the heart of the Democratic Party. A long row to hoe, but if she only partially succeeds, it'll be a dark day in Black Rock for the GOP.
UPDATE (9:04pm CDT):
If Drudge is not being fed a line of bull, then Edward Klein is a despicable man. I'll never read Klein's book, much less buy it. I usually don't read books like this anyway.
This is just so over the top. You better have eye-witnesses when you make this type of charge. Even if it were true and could be proved beyond ANY doubt, what is to be gained by publishing this?
Republicans, run (don't walk) away from this one.
God, help us.