Is Upstate Dragging Hillary Down?

The answer to that question is yes, according to Joshua Green’s in-depth article on Hillary Clinton in the current issue of the Atlantic entitled Take Two. Well, Hillary’s upstate strategy is at least a small example of the kind of problems that might hinder her from winning the Presidency in 2008.

The kind of attributes that make for a strong Senator often are negatives for an effective Presidential candidate. According to Green, the more that Hillary ingratiates herself with inferior (but more senior) politicians, the more she runs away from big-picture crusades in favor of small-picture legislative victories and the more she puts the parochial concerns of New Yorkers in the forefront of her efforts, the harder it will be for her to be the sort of bold and visionary candidate that wins national elections.

There are two pungent examples of the article’s disdain for Hillary’s attempts to champion upstate. The first is the author’s dismissal of any substantive benefits from Hillary’s upstate efforts:

“. . .the psychological benefits of her upstate attentions have been tremendous. It’s as if the prom queen had wandered unbidden during lunch to insist on sitting with the kids from shop class . . . Clinton never came close to adding 200,000 jobs upstate. Her popularity stems instead from sheer, bludgeoning persistance and an eager willingness to spread her glamour over an area with little of its own.”

The second is a telling quote by Hillary’s close friend and former chief of staff Maggie Williams:

“I remember listening to a conversation at some black-tie event where she was talking about what you should feed to pigs. If you fed them a certain kind of food they produced better meat. We were in an extremely social setting, but she seemed perfectly intent on talking about it because it had to do with some upstate issue. I kind of felt like, um, do we really have to talk about this here?”

I’ve always had problems with Hillary. I didn’t like her attempts at health care reform because she refused to consider a single-payer system. She voted for the war in Iraq. She always sounds like she’s triangulating her positions because of pollsters and campaign consultants. But I’ve never thought that she was patronizing us by spending time up here and listening to our concerns. In fact, Hillary (and Chuck Schumer who patented the upstate strategy) stand in great contrast to many state politicians who couldn’t find our towns on a map.

I voted for Tasini in the primary and I’ll probably vote for Hawkins in the general election, but this article made me feel sorry for Clinton. If she had come into the Senate and tried to use her power and celebrity to make big changes the article would be crucifying her for her haughtiness and hubris. Talk about a no-win situation.

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3 thoughts on “Is Upstate Dragging Hillary Down?

  1. NYCO

    Why do I get the feeling that Miz Maggie Williams would have been one of those saying “Let them eat cake” during the French Revolution?

    “Prom queen”? Hillary has only been doing what Daniel Moynihan taught her to do, and following Schumer’s lead as well.

    This article is just plain stupid anyway because the job of a Senator (as concerns constituents) is different than the job of, say, a governor, where leadership and visionary planning IS involved. Talk about how being a Senator doesn’t give Hillary enough experience to govern a nation — don’t blame quaint little Upstate and our smelly pig farmers.

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  2. Phil —

    I’m with you on this here:

    I’ve always had problems with Hillary. I didn’t like her attempts at health care reform because she refused to consider a single-payer system. She voted for the war in Iraq. She always sounds like she’s triangulating her positions because of pollsters and campaign consultants.

    I mean, really – attention to upstate a problem? How about listening to the people who want positive change? Clinton’s bad on Iraq, weak on health care, and it doesn’t get real impressive from there.

    I’m an unenrolled voter, so I didn’t vote in the primary, but I’m all for Howie in November. If Clinton does decide to run for president, maybe losing a bunch of would-have-been voters to a truly progressive candidate will push her to take a look at her policies heading into 2008.

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  3. Pingback: NYCO’s Blog » Dragging down Hillary?

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