Notwithstanding her superb intellect and brilliant political eye (along with myriad other "pros"), I tend to argue that Hillary Clinton is about as electable, nationally, as John Kerry or Al Gore.
Nevertheless, it is becoming an ever more foregone conclusion that Hillary Clinton will be the Democrats' nominee in 2008. She's already locked down the first primary in the nation.
No, I am not talking about the famous first-in-the-nation primary in Jay Tea's beloved Granite State.
I am, of course, referring to the money primary. Hillary Clinton is systematically, methodically, and ruthlessly cornering the money game, in much the same way that George W. Bush did at this point before 2000.
Capital Eye explains:
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) led all of her colleagues in first-quarter fundraising from 14 out of the top 50 industries ranked by campaign giving to members of Congress, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Indeed, Senator Clinton, increasingly a money-raising rock star, is attracting broad support from a variety of interests, all predicting she will one day be queen:
Of the 14 industries from which Clinton raised the most money, nine contributed more in individual and PAC donations to Republican lawmakers than to Democrats between January and March. They include traditionally Republican-leaning industries such as health professionals, retail sales and health services/HMOs.
Clinton, who faces a reelection battle next year and is frequently mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2008, raised a total of more than $3.9 million in the first quarter of this year and reported having $8.7 million in the bank.
Obviously, because Mrs. Clinton has a Senate race coming up, she is going to raise more early money than other potential 2008 candidates.
But make no mistake. Hillary Clinton is raising this money with the Oval Office in mind.
Hillary Clinton intends to use her 2006 Senate race as an early jump on the 2008 race. Hillary Clinton's transition from Senate candidate in 2006 to Presidential candidate in 2008, in terms of raising money (donor lists), in terms of organizing grassroots networks (email lists, volunteer lists), in terms of crafting a campaign image (bumper stickers, a message that appeals to suburbanites and moderates), and in terms of fusing an experienced and battle-ready staff together, will be seamless.
You can just bet on the unofficial "Hillary in '08" campaign beginning on November 8, 2006. Clinton's entire 2006 campaign apparatus, even her website, is all calibrated toward achieving ultimate goal, the White House.
One of the few pollsters who got it right in 2004, Scott Rasmussen, has been following public perceptions of Hillary Clinton for the past few months. Interestingly, Hillary Clinton has one of the greatest political forces on her side: inevitability. Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe Hillary Clinton will be the nominee in 2008.
If the Hillary money-raising juggernaut continues to steam ahead, her campaign organization will become an exponentially-expanding amoeba, slurping up every last drop of available political money in its path. If that happens, expect Mrs. Clinton's aura of inevitability to overwhelm second-tier candidates (such as Joe Biden), driving them from the race before it even really begins.
Will Franklin is an exponentially-expanding amoeba, at WILLisms.com.