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Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Hillary has bipartisan cred in NY

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, March 08, 2005 permalink View blog reactions
via Gary Farber, great article from the New York Times that pretty much deflates the "everybody hates Hillary" narrative. She's popular with the GOP voters:

In the four years since taking office, Mrs. Clinton has managed to cultivate a bipartisan, above-the-fray image that has made her a surprisingly welcome figure in some New York Republican circles, even as she remains exceedingly popular with her liberal base.

A recent poll by The New York Times, for example, showed that Mrs. Clinton's popularity had sharply improved among Republicans voters surveyed, with 49 percent saying they approved of the job she was doing, compared with 37 percent who expressed similar sentiments in October 2002.

bbit perhaps more tellingly, she's popular with the GOP politicians too! read on...

Only five years ago, for example, Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of Buffalo mocked Mrs. Clinton as a "a tourist who has lost her way," alluding to the fact that she had not lived in New York before deciding to run for the Senate.

But these days, Mr. Reynolds, a Republican who is frequently mentioned as a possible candidate for speaker of the House, says he considers Ms. Clinton an ally in his effort to deliver aid to western New York.

In fact, he said that his work with Mrs. Clinton had prompted the local newspaper in his district to call them the "odd couple."

"I like Senator Clinton," said Mr. Reynolds, a friend and adviser to Gov. George E. Pataki. "I've found that when she says she will take on a job with me, she does it."
The Republicans giving Mrs. Clinton high marks include Representative John M. McHugh, who represents New York's economically beleaguered North Country, a politically conservative region that Mrs. Clinton visits frequently.

In an interview, the congressman said that Mrs. Clinton had been helpful to him from her seat on the Senate Armed Services Committee in steering money to Fort Drum, an Army base in Watertown that provides an economic lift to the area.

"Our other senators have been helpful," he said, referring to the work Mrs. Clinton's predecessors have done on behalf of Fort Drum. "But they have not had the advantage of being on the authorizing committee."

As for the 2006 Senate race, he did not sound particularly enthusiastic about the prospect of campaigning against Mrs. Clinton. "We share constituents," explained Mr. McHugh, "and, frankly, the challenges are big enough without erecting artificial partisan barriers."

Another Republican, Representative Peter T. King of Nassau County, struck a similar note in recent interview. He described Mrs. Clinton as a celebrity senator who is willing to take a subordinate role on an issue she cares about, rather than allowing her involvement to become a distraction.

For instance, Mr. King recalled an occasion when Mrs. Clinton suggested that he find another senator to be a co-sponsor of legislation that would benefit New York, because she figured that her presence on the bill would fire up the opposition. "There are very few politicians in public life who have the composure to step back, knowing that they will win in the end," he said.

Mr. King also said that Mrs. Clinton had been anything but the liberal extremist that her conservative critics accused her of being. "I'm not going to vote for her and probably disagree with her on 70 percent of the issues," he said. "But I think that too many Republicans who criticize Hillary Clinton sound like Michael Moore criticizing George Bush."

Hillary's going to stomp in 08.


I certainly agree that Hillary has been a pleasant surprise as a New York senator. (And I'm not so naive as to not suspect that there's a master plan at work having to do with her future ambitions.)

But the main point I wanted to make is that the GOP in NY and NYC is not necessarily analagous to the GOP in the "red states." They're generally to the left of the mainstream, particularly on most social issues.

(Thanks to Dignan for pointing the way over here. Good to get out of my cocoon occasionally... ;-> )


that's a good point - NYC as a whole is very blue, witness Giuliani. But I think that upstate NY is as red as any heartland state. Most of the state is rural and there's a strong conservative tradition; it is just washed out by the population denisty along the coast. The GOP in rural areas are probably best characterized as "moderate".

However, I think that relative moderation social issues isn't the reason that Hillary is doing well - it seems from this report, and others, that she is building a real reputation for respect and dedication to her job, and the self-interest of the state. This i snotable solely to counter the "she
s a dvisive figure" cnterargument to her viability as a candidate, which I also note is more cmmon a gripe among the left than the right.



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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.