Remember that 3 A.M Phone Call? Robocalls and the Draft Hillary Movement

Remember the 3 a.m. phone call?  Now you can get one at all hours!

One of the more controversial (in terms of invoking readers’ comments) posts I’ve published was this one  (cross-posted here) arguing that from a Democrat’s perspective, there were good reasons why Hillary Clinton should challenge Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination in 2012.  The post elicited a good deal of give-and-take among readers, and I thought the issue was thoroughly vetted.

But it won’t die.  Every once in a while I’ll get a spike in readership, and it is almost always driven by a republishing of that post somewhere that attracts new viewers.

Two days ago it happened again.  This time I suspect the initial culprit was this op-ed piece by Democratic pollsters Pat Caddell and Dough Schoen advocating a nation-wide “Draft Hillary” movement, beginning in New Hampshire.  (Caddell used to be Jimmy Carter’s pollster, and Schoen worked for Hillary in 2008).  This follows an earlier piece they published in the Wall St. Journal suggesting that Obama emulate LBJ’s 1968 decision to step down for the good of the party.  In the latest publication, they argue:  “It’s clear that Obama has been unable to build consensus and, with the polarizing campaign he is now running, will be unable to govern effectively even if reelected. Only Clinton can commit the Democratic Party — and, indeed, the nation — to a unification and healing process. This could allow Washington, in a bipartisan manner, to finally address the economic and governmental crises that now grip America.”

In the following video, Caddell expands on those points:

They note that there have been previous successful write-in candidates in New Hampshire (Henry Cabot Lodge in 1964, and LBJ in 1968) which, because of its open primary, makes it easier for independents in participate.

The Schoen/Caddell opinion piece was published just as a people across several states began reporting that they were receiving automated calls urging them to support a draft Hillary movement, and directing readers to this draft Hillary site.  It is unclear who is behind the website, and who is sending out the robocalls. Here’s the audio version of the robocall, as recorded on one person’s answering machine:

As I noted in my initial post on this topic, there are (or at least were!) legitimate reasons why Democrats should support a Hillary challenge. The most important one, I said at the time, is that it would increase the likelihood that a Democrat would be in the White House in 2012.  Since I posted that argument, however, I would suggest that Obama’s reelection chances have improved, at least slightly.  This is mostly because there are indicators that the economy is stabilizing, and perhaps even beginning to grow.  Unemployment has dropped (and yes, I realize this partly reflects seasonal hiring and the fact that many have stopped looking for jobs), Obama’s approval ratings, while not good, may be inching up and he’s at least settled on a campaign theme that might have some bite.  All this is not to say his reelection is assured; right now the forecast models put it at about 50/50.  It is to suggest, however, that the “Draft Hillary” movement may be mistimed – if it was to have any traction, it probably should have been put in place a few months back.

A final note to those of you who have already emailed me asking that you be taken off my robocall list – believe it or not, I’m not running the draft Hillary campaign.  Nor do I have any idea who is.  But whoever is organizing the movement –  at some point you should probably check with the candidate herself.  She may have other plans.

4 comments

  1. As Jonathan Chait said, Obama has the best domestic record of achievement of any modern Dem POTUS excepting LBJ. But LBJ had a disastrous foreign policy run while Obama has had an amazing run.

    So why in the world would anyone suggest HRC be the candidate??? The economy? It’s not like she and Obama had these wildly different plans for the economy. I’m sure HRC would have pushed for a stimulus and gotten about what Obama did.

    And let’s be real. It’s too late for HRC to run. Maybe in the summer she could have floated the idea.

  2. Adam – the President himself suggested his record was enough to place his presidency among the best of all time. See the full version of his 60 Minutes interview. If I get a chance, I’ll try to do a longer post putting his record – and the problems he faced – in historical context.

  3. “President himself suggested his record was enough to place his presidency among the best of all time”–you can only pretend that is a reasonable assessment if you add the same qualifiers as Adam: “any modern Dem POTUS excepting LBJ.”

    For those of us not of the Saul Alinsky, leftist school of thought, I think the assessment would have to be: REGRETTABLY Obama is succeeding, in pushing the U.S. toward the European social democratic model. And I would say, in terms of foreign policy, from the right, Dinesh D’Souza was correct in his Forbes piece in assessing Obama as viewing the U.S. and the world from within those dreams of his father: he feels the need to be an anti neo-colonialist, does not believe in American exceptionalism, in fact he (and the First Lady) have been pretty clear in their wounded blindness to all that the Anglo-American lead has accomplished for democratic/economic progress throughout the world. Can you say 1776, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Hong Kong, South Africa…any emerging/struggling parliamentary democracy?

  4. Yes, I would look forward to your take.

    Also, has there been a race in recent memory where the Republican candidate is going to want to talk about the economy while the Democrat is going to want to talk about foreign policy successes?

    I know Romney bangs on about Obama apologizing about America. Doesn’t seem to have legs, especially given how tough Obama has been on terrorism.

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