Saturday, January 20, 2007

So is the term to be "First Gentleman"?

The race for the White House has shifted a gear. (BBC News: Hillary Clinton joins 2008 race)

Whilst I doubt Hillary Clinton will actually win her party's nomination (recent history is not the side of the early favourite Democrat) invariably people will be speculating on what to call the husband of a female US President. There aren't too many precedents and the husband of governors who use "First Lad" and "First Dude" don't seem likely to be trend setters. However Daniel Mulhern, husband of Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, seems to officially billed as "First Gentleman" and so maybe that term will catch on.

On a more pertinent question, just what is Hillary's given name this week? Her Senator website calls her "Hillary Rodham Clinton" but her campaign website calls her "Hillary Clinton". Studies have shown that "Hillary Rodham Clinton" polls better than "Hillary Clinton", ( Poll: Spare the 'Rodham,' spoil her election) yet "Hillary Clinton" carries far more name recognition. Is she trying to have her cake and eat it?


Contemplative Activist said...

But I want Hilary to win - she's very popular amongst the general democrat supporting public! When I was in New York, everybody but everybody was dreaming of the day George Bush goes and Hilary comes in.

For what is worth, I think Hilary has the tenacity and personality to really make a shift in American politics. I want her to win.


Tim Roll-Pickering said...

Hillary may attract the support of the Democrats' base but that's not guarenteed to win election. It's all very well being a bit popular in New York (although there's a real and better politician from New York in the field) but is she going to appeal to the South, the Mountains and the Great Plains? And anyway when I was in New York it seemed everyone was selling "Little Miss Arkansas" dolls.

As for a shift, I doubt it. Recently she's been tacking to the centre and frankly I don't think a Clinton 2 White House would be so radical a change in policy - just in gender.

Paul Burgin said...

At the moment I am for Barack Obama. I think Hillary is too divisive a candidate

Simon said...

I tend to think that it's a three-horse race between Hillary, Obama and Bill Richardson (NM Governor), who ended months of speculation by announcing the other day. The leading contenders from the moderate wing bailed early - Mark Warner (former VA Governor) and Evan Bayh (US Senator from my way, Indiana) were both considered serious contenders, and neither wanted in (although Warner may be a veep shortlister).

If Hillary is the nominee, as Paul alluded to above, the chances of a Democratic win measurably decrease, but in any event, the race largely turns on who the GOP fields from an imperfect field of candidates. If McCain could hold the right, he would win fifty states, but he won't hold the right. Brownback would hold the right and lose everyone else. Romney is starting to discover that a mormon can gain traction on the right, but a demonstrable flip flopper can't. Gingrich is just as controversial as Hillary. Giulliani is probably our best bet at this point. He wins the middle easily, and surprisingly enough (indeed, astonishingly, IMO) considering how socially liberal he is and his personal life, he has massive credibility among precisely the people who distrust McCain enough to bolt. Put him on a ticket with someone who the right trusts, Gingrich for example, and you've got a ticket that wouldn't win as big as, say, McCain/Romney could, but would still do enough, and might have sufficient coattails to flip the Senate.

I'm still optimistic, but it's clear that the GOP faces an extremely difficult task: to not only win, but to win by a significant margin (desirable for any number of reasons), we've kinda got to rebuild the Reagan coalition without the benefit of an actual Ronald Reagan being available. Right now, although we're obviously extremely early in the cycle, it all seems like Letterman's "Will it Float?" segment.


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