Can The Anti-War Movement Defeat Clinton?

by Dish Staff

Probably not. Weigel highlights the hawkishness of Democrats, period:

When Bill Clinton was president, Democrats were far more likely than Republicans to support military action—if Bill Clinton said it was necessary. Not sold yet? Consider that the mainstream left position on Iraq, from 2002 to 2008—from Al Gore to Howard Dean to Barack Obama—was that America needed to focus its might and money on the conflict in Afghanistan. And consider that Democrats voted for Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton after he came out for military actions in Pakistan with or without the approval of the country’s government, and she disagreed.

The evidence, I think, is that the entire country is more skeptical of foreign intervention in the wake of the disastrous Iraq war, but that Democrats have remained generally supportive of foreign intervention if it’s backed by their president and directed toward a stated goal. Clinton’s stances on Iran negotiations and Israel are more problematic. But if you’re wondering whether there’s an anti-war movement ready to beat her, ask yourself when was the last time you saw a left-wing anti-war protest. Who was the president?

Nate Silver figures that “the odds that a challenger will emerge from the left flank of the Democratic Party and overtake Clinton remain low”:

As my colleague Harry Enten pointed out in May, Clinton has generally done as well or better in polls of liberal Democrats as among other types of Democrats. Between September and March, an average of 70 percent of liberal Democrats named her as their top choice for the 2016 nomination as compared to 65 percent of Democrats overall. An ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted more recently showed Clinton with 72 percent of the primary vote among liberal Democrats as compared to 66 percent of all Democrats. And a CNN poll conducted last month gave her 66 percent of the liberal Democratic vote against 67 percent of all Democrats.

The CNN poll is slightly more recent than the others, but if there’s been a meaningful change in how rank-and-file liberal Democrats perceive Clinton, you’d have to squint to see it. Perhaps more important, it’s extremely rare to see a non-incumbent candidate poll so strongly so early. In the earliest stages of the 2008 Democratic nomination race, Clinton was polling between 25 percent and 40 percent of the vote — not between 60 percent and 70 percent, as she is now. Clinton could lose quite a bit of Democratic support and still be in a strong position.

Kilgore seconds Silver:

Now Nate issues all the usual disclaimers about strange things sometimes happening betwixt the lip and the cup, and it’s all true; it’s still very “early” and all. But on the other hand, we’re just seventeen months away from the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, and every day that passes makes the task of knocking off a heavy front-runner there more daunting. At just a few weeks after this point eight years ago, Barack Obama was headlining the Harkin Steak Fry. John Edwards had basically never stopped campaigning in Iowa after running a close second there in 2004. As her deputy campaign manager Mike Henry famously (if unsuccessfully) argued in the spring of 2007, Clinton was walking into a big trap in Iowa, one that snared her fatally (not just because she lost the Caucuses, but because of the vast resources she expended while losing). If there are any such storm clouds on the horizon now, I don’t see them.

Regardless, Clinton’s recent unforced errors made Cassidy call Clinton’s campaign skills into question:

For a professional politician, these are rookie errors. For a politician who has been under intense scrutiny for more than twenty years, they were almost inexplicable.

The benign explanation is that, since leaving the State Department, Clinton’s gotten a bit rusty, and that’s why she went out on book tour: to sharpen up and get her errors in early. As anybody who has seen her perform in public can testify, she is knowledgeable, brimming with energy, personable, and even, on occasion, funny. Once she regains her sea legs, the optimistic argument goes, these attributes will come across to the public at large, and she’ll be fine.

That may well happen. But she’s been “out there” for quite a while now, and this was another self-inflicted blow. Does she still have the self-discipline and determination that it takes to stay on-message twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for an entire Presidential campaign? The answer isn’t immediately obvious.