Three years before the next presidential election, Hillary Clinton has already emerged as a formidable favorite to be the Democratic standard-bearer. According to a Gallup poll conducted in August, the New York senator and former first lady was the top choice of 40 percent of Democrats -- more than double the closest contender. Despite these seemingly positive numbers, and the fact that the next presidential campaign season is at least a couple of White House scandals away, her potential candidacy has already inspired wildly divergent (not to mention passionate) responses from pundits on the left. Depending on whom you ask, Senator Clinton is poised to be either the Democrats' savior or their scourge.
'The swift-boat lies about John Kerry and the false, smirking
charge that Al Gore claimed to have 'invented the Internet' will
look like ineffectual spitballs compared to what would be unleashed
-- Dan Kennedy, Boston Phoenix, June 17
'The campaign of 2008, assuming I am right about her running,
will be horrendously ruthless -- but I suspect that she is as well
equipped as anybody to withstand the dirt that would doubtless be
hurled at her with relentless, self-righteous determination.'
-- Andrew Stephen, New Statesman, March 7
'Mark my words. She will never make it out of the primaries if
she runs. Hillary Clinton's instincts suck. They are
-- Steve Gilliard, The News Blog, July 26
'She has paid her dues to the Democratic Party, and she doesn't
have to prove her bona fides to anyone. From now on, she need only
emulate Reagan, a fellow Illinois native, who campaigned with
positive rhetoric and a smile on his face, trusting that the work
he'd done cultivating his base would pay off, and that he needed
mainly to reassure independent-minded voters.'
-- Carl M. Cannon, The Washington Monthly, July/August
'It remains to be seen, of course, whether Clinton will be good
for progressives or for the party as a whole. In the short term,
though, she can certainly help the party -- if nothing else, she's
at least beginning to develop a Democratic alternative that could
constitute one path to political success.'
-- Greg Sargent, The Nation, June 6
'Bottom line: Hillary Clinton has no ability to inspire. When
she speaks, she doesn't even appear to be interested in her own
-- Daily Kos weblog, August 1