Being anti-Hillary is so last season

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September 7, 2007

3:37 AM

Okay, enough! Everywhere I go I hear bizarre, unfounded anti-Hillary Clinton rhetoric, coming from conservatives and liberals alike, and it’s past the point of mere annoyance. I just don’t get it. Have we really all bought into the right-wing, crazy-lie machine? Do caricatures and rumors now completely substitute for fact and understanding in politics? I’d like to think not, but I’m becoming disillusioned.

p. I firmly believe that Hillary is the best candidate for the Democratic nomination in 2008. Out of the top-runners (Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards), she alone has stood up against Republican attack dogs, she alone has gained years of experience both in Congress and in the political realm working on issues important to Americans, and she alone has the ability to bridge the divisive gap among voters in this country.

p Hillary holds a unique position in the race to the White House because she has been in the public spotlight for so many years. Her name is instantly recognized by most Americans — more so than anyone else in the race. Because of her many years of political work and the deep hatred of hard-core Republicans for the Bill Clinton administration, Hillary has been made into an easy target for the right wing. Her unique political history has earned Hillary high negative ratings. You may have already heard about this (since every single person I’ve talked to who doesn’t want Hillary to win seems to bring it up), but it’s almost always taken out of context.

p. Yes, Hillary has the highest negative ratings of all the Democrats, but she also has the highest positive ratings (in a July Diageo Hotline poll, Hillary’s national favorability went up from 48 to 57 percent, an increase higher than any other candidate’s). It’s called “name recognition.” More people have heard of her, so more people have opinions about her. It’s like saying there are more Americans who dislike the Beatles than there are Americans who dislike the Gentlemen of the College. Well, duh.

p. What people also fail to mention is that her negative ratings have steadily dropped over the past few months, while her positive ratings have increased. I see this as a sign that people are finally getting over the lies Republicans have spread about Hillary and deciding that she’s amazing once they hear her speak at their county fair. Hillary’s campaign is based on overcoming the cold, uncaring persona the right wing has constructed for her and showing people the “real” Hillary, someone who is extremely personable and insanely knowledgeable about policy (unlike a certain other president).

p. Moving beyond my own personal and political desires, I think Hillary will win the Democratic nomination. She has been ahead in every single national poll I’ve ever seen, and she’s also ahead in many early primary states: An August Zogby International poll puts Hillary in the lead in Iowa with 30 percent over Edwards’ 23 percent and Obama’s 19 percent. An August American Research Group poll puts Hillary ahead in both South Carolina (Clinton 32 percent, Edwards 24 percent, Obama 21 percent) and New Hampshire (Clinton 37 percent, Obama 17 percent, Edwards 14 percent). It’s also commonly known that Hillary leads in both Nevada and Florida. While I agree with those who claim that polls aren’t everything, it’s also hard to ignore these numbers.

p. Hillary has created a unique position for herself as both a strong Democrat and a political moderate. This is not a contradiction in her actions or beliefs; it speaks to her ability to compromise and work across the aisle, while maintaining her progressive values. After nearly 7 years of reckless foreign policies, cronyism and mistrust, we need a president who will act both with strength and pragmatism. We need a president with the experience and knowledge necessary to put our country on a different track. Mostly, though, we need to nominate a Democrat who can kick some Republican ass in 2008. Seriously, Hillary is the (wo)man for the job.

p. __Devan Barber is a senior at the College.__

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