Skip to comments.(V) Is Hutchinson Insurance Against Hillary?
Posted on 06/19/2005 6:13:28 PM PDT by Tall_Texan
Some dominoes of Texas politics fell into place in the last few days or, more correctly, did not fall out of place as many thought they might.
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson chose not to run against incumbent governor Rick Perry next year. She will instead run to keep her seat as a Republican in the U.S. Senate, a race she will almost certainly win. One of the reasons given is that Hutchinson is reaching a point of seniority and leadership in the Senate where she may be able to help Texas achieve some legislative perks.
I think there is another reason she decided (or was persuaded) to remain in the Senate. I think there's a chance she will be on the 2008 ticket if a few other things happen.
While Hutchinson is not an ideal Senator by conservative standards, she doesn't stick her neck out far from the party very often. She's a coalition type of politician, one who doesn't prefer to bludgeon her opponents with rhetoric but maintains a civil and reasonable tone. Her voting record is often more conservative than her speech. Her lifetime ACU voting score is 91, although she has scored an 84 in 2004 and a 75 in 2003.
In one sense, she embodies what irritates many conservatives about Republican senators, rarely criticizing or admonishing the excesses of Democrat tactics and rhetoric, choosing to make and keep friends on both sides of the aisle. She is proud of what she considers the "women's caucus" in the Senate made up of members on both sides.
In short, here is someone who comes across well, is not easy to demonize and cannot be easily pigeonholed as a rubber stamp, an extremist or an ideologue. These are reasons I think she has viability as a 2008 running mate.
This early in the race, it would be hard to predict who will be the Democrat nominee but the assumed frontrunner at this point is another member of Hutchinson's womens club, Hillary Rodham Clinton. No doubt many in the GOP do not want to see Mrs. Clinton going up against whoever comes out of the Republican convention with the nomination. They know the media will be solidly in her corner and believe she will return to the bloodsport days of stolen FBI files, secret committees and plans to convert us to one nationalwide government health care.
Should Mrs. Clinton win the nomination and the Republicans nominate a male, the GOP may crave a woman to "balance" the ticket and blunt some of the hysteria over a woman being at the top of the Democrat ticket.
Before going into where Sen. Hutchinson fits in, let's look at what other women might be called instead:
* Sec. Condoleezza Rice. The current Secretary of State and darling of some conservative groups, the biggest liability for Ms. Rice is that she has never run for political office. She would be a complete blank slate with regards to some political issues (particularly social ones). Being the first of her race on a major party ticket would steal some of the thunder from Hillary being the first of her gender to lead a major party ticket but could also lead to claims of "pandering" if she doesn't come across as a credible candidate. As John Edwards' recent campaign illustrated, a vice presidential nominee has to be able to assert themselves yet not upstage the top of the ticket. Any gaffe no matter how small will be blown out of proportion and the liberal attack machines will be in full force. We simply don't know how well Ms. Rice would hold up to this.
* Sen. Elizabeth Dole. There has not been a national Republican ticket in over 30 years that did not have a Bush or a Dole on it and, at first blush, some might think "Liddy" would be a more natural choice than Hutchinson. There are similar appeals. Dole is also something of a moderate Republican from a southern state. The major differences are tactical. While Mrs. Dole has the experience of her husband's campaigns, her term as Senator would be up for re-election in 2008 and the Governor's office is presently controlled by a Democrat, meaning that Republicans could lose that seat in more than one scenario should Sen. Dole be nominated for vice president.
* Gov. Linda Lingle. The Hawaii governor broke through in an impressive way to win in a state that votes heavily for Democrats. That shows promise but will Hawaiian values translate well to the heartland and will her presence on the ticket create a vacuum for GOP prospects in Hawaii?
* Sen's Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. The pair of Maine senators would likely be considered too liberal for the party faithful, particularly after taking part in such party-angering exercises as the joining "the McCain Compromise" regarding Senate filibusters.
* Laura Bush or Lynne Cheney. While each has their fans both would likely be thought of as place holders for their more famous spouses. It would be charged that the women were figureheads for the husbands who are no longer able to run for the job.
There are probably a few other names that I have left out but these are the top women in the Republican Party who might be able to fill the 2008 ticket.
Mrs. Hutchinson has some qualities that might make her the most ideal woman the GOP has on their bench. A former cheerleader, she is not unattractive. She is not the spouse of a politician. She has waged and won three statewide campaigns in Texas and will win a fourth in 2006 now that she plans to seek re-election. She has survived a legal dogfight against Travis County (TX) District Attorney Ronnie Earle over alleged mishandling of funds while State Comptroller back in the 1990s so she knows how to stand up for herself. Her Senate seat will be safe if she is called upon yet loses a vice presidential bid until 2012. The Governor's office is presently in Republican hands and will likely stay that way so the GOP will probably retain that Senate seat were she to get the VP nomination and win. Her Senate record will likely be picked apart but it will be hard to find anything that stands out as so exclusionable that either party could use it to vilify her.
Whether Hutchinson has the desire or ambition for a national campaign would remain to be seen. She would be age 65 in 2008. I do believe, however, that she could be seen as "Hillary insurance" for a male GOP presidential nominee in 2008, particularly a northern candidate like Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty.
Some things would need to happen for this to come about but they are fairly easily reached. If the GOP nominee is male. If the Democrat nominee is Mrs. Clinton. If Hutchinson retains her Senate seat in 2006. If the Republicans keep the Governor's mansion in 2006. Should any of those four things fail to happen, Hutchinson would not be a likely option. If all four happen though, I see it as a distinct posibility.
Sen. Hutchinson represents a relatively safe option to balance a ticket and blunt some of the buzz over a Clinton candidacy. She's a veteran campaigner from a safe state who establishment Republicans can certainly get behind.
I would particularly appreciate your thoughts. Thanks.
As I have explained somewhere else, Condi is a non-starter due to demographical realities in certain parts of the country.
I think of your list, she'd be the most likely if a woman was going to be on the ticket, but I'm still not convinced that Hillary (or any woman for that matter) will be the standardbearer for the Dems in 2008.
At least they waited till 1998 to start heavy speculation on W, it's too damn early, a million things can happen between today and this time next year, and in general, the longer you put yourself out as a "frontrunner" the longer your enemies have to be able to dig up dirt on you.
There is only one "n". The last name is "Hutchison", not "Hutchinson". My bad.
I'm not sure I understanding. Are you saying Rice would have trouble attracting voters because she is a) a woman, b) African-American, c)from California or d) not solidly pro-life? That's not a loaded question. I just don't know which demographics you are pointing towards. Thanks.
Has anyone outside of Texas ever heard of Kay?
I like your idea in theory, but I don't think she's the best candidate to defeat the *thing*.
Go to # 19 on here, basically, I do an analysis regarding voting patterns of the counties in Alabama which voted to keep the ban on interracial marriage
She doesn't have to *defeat* Hillary. That would be up to the nominee. She only has to appear credible and prevent the GOP ticket from looking like the "old white men's club" in contrast to Hillary and whoever her Veep might be.
You could say I am being cynical about the whole process but you have to dumb down a national election for a whole lot of idiots who are barely connected enough to vote. That's why I stress it would be for balancing, not because she would make a great party leader or ticket headliner.
The problem I have with Kay Hutchison is everytime we call her office or fax her with issues we get no where fast.
Great tactical political thinking. Myself I will vote for Mrs. Clinton.
I see. Is that really a big enough problem as to hand the South back to the Democrats if Rice is on the ticket? I have my doubts about that. It's not like they are promoting Condi as a *spouse* for the running mate. You seem to presume a lot from a photo of the two hand-in-hand.
BTW, I lived in Mobile for awhile and visit Baldwin County frequently because of my mother and sister. I know a little bit about their politics more than the average guy.
Hopefully, there aren't too many of you. ;-P
Just my two cents, as our premier wordsmith on this site would put it.
Don't lose any sleep over this Tall, Kay will not be on any ticket in 2008. She is going to serve her last term in DC and then be done.
Baldwin County is not the problem, they voted to repeal the interracial marriage ban.
The problem is, when you take the small urban/suburban counties and combine them with the Black Belt counties, there is somewhat of a mollification factor (not to mention, some Democratic N. Ala counties didn't vote to keep the ban, so i couldn't include them)
Basically, the pro-ban counties in general, were closer to the statewide pulse in every election on here, than were either high population suburban counties or the Big 4.
And there were people in the Big 4 who voted to keep the ban, there are many counties which didn't make it on the list because the repeal passed by maybe a few percentage points.
I don't like admitting it, but it would be a big issue, and when you add on top of this that Condi is a woman, and by in large, one of those polished women. It spells real trouble out in the hinterlands.
Kay Hutchison? Give me a break. Nice lady, but presidential or vice-presidential possibility? No way, never.
Between now and 2008 every woman in the country will be rolled before our tired eyeballs as presidential materian, including Tonya Harding and Mary Kay LeTourneau.
I think you did an excellent analysis although I don't agree with everything.
I think Kay Bailey may be a little too old for the job. She has all the qualities you mention plus a quick mind but I don't think she has the necessary vigor.
Trying to counter Hillary is a waste of effort. She has her game plan and will follow it no matter who we nominate. Our nominee should be a conservative who is proud to be one and willing to be firm and straight forward about it. Too often, and probably will again, the political consultants get all worried about the "soft middle" or the undecideds and soften their candidate so as to not offend. That means also weakening the fervor of the conservative base, hoping they decide he is better than the other side. Unfortunately, that is always true.
I like George Allen so far. Rick Santorum would be good. Although Frist has more good qualities than we give him credit for he is too much of a soft middle person for my taste.
I think you underestimate, or is that misunderestimate?, Condi but I don't think she wants or will accept the chance to run. Laura and Lynn? Someone's ill thought out fantasy.
I think the Dems are bloodying up DeLay for fear he might run. He would be good. So will Newt but Newt is playing too cutsy with both sides of the street to suit me. However, he is brilliant and thinks these things through about three moves ahead.
Senator Hutchison's approval numbers are significantly higher than Governor Perry's numbers. A primary would have been tight because Governor Perry has higher support among GOP activists.
My personal theory is that President Bush leaned on Senator Hutchison to run for re-election to avoid an open Senate seat election and to avoid a primary which could leave the winner too bruised for the general election. I can only imagine the field day that the MSM and the DUers would have if the GOP lost the Texas governorship.
Dear Mr. 1997,
Please explain why you will vote that way.
Mr. Not 1997
There would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Left if either seriously ran. I don't think DeLay is charismatic enough for a national election. While Newt is (marginally), he has ticked off many on the right. The 1980-1995 Newt was much more supportable than the 1996-present Newt.
That unknown hack writer would be me (hence the "v" for "vanity" in the title). Just thinking a few steps ahead. And, yes, I have too much time on my hands. ;)
One exception to that-- if McCain is the nominee, I think it is likely that Graham will be his running mate.
But beyond that, I don't think we have seen enough from the others to know what direction they would go.
And since we don't know who the nominee will be, I don't think KBH is making decisions based on aiming for a VP nod. She'd have no reason to think she'd get it at this point.
I found your article to be disingenuous as KBH is mostly pro-abort, and you did not address that issue at all.
I'm also not sure why KBH would not be "pandering" if choosing Rice might be.
also, she's got all that money from the dallas-ft. worth metroplex behind her.
and, the only women will vote for hillary in the south are in university towns or graduates of feminist universities.
most women in texas despise hillary.
I think it is far more likely that Sen. Hutchison will run for the Governor of Texas in 2010 than be on any national ticket in 08. She'll win re-election to the senate and if she still wants to come back to Texas then I see a chance it will be via the Governoship. Granted Perry isn't term limited but I suspect he'll try something else after this term should he be elected again. jmo.
As an aside I don't think Hillary will be the democrat nominee in 08.
They would call Rice pandering to African-American votes (the flipside to calling the GOP the "White Christian Party"). As for her abortion views, how do they differ from Rice's?
I can just see Joe Izusu's campaign speech now...
Well, you could at least spell the damn RINO's name right.
I think if the New York Republicans get off their lazy behinds they could field a candidate to beat her in the Senate race... I don't believe the media polls and have not believed them since I cast the very first vote in my life for that Ronald "Ray-guns" fellow they were so upset about...
I think she'd be very good. She's a real "steel magnolia" type. She'd be good with Giuliani, who should have a come to Jesus moment and get right on various subjects, but unfortunately he's not going to.
Very good post. You're surely giving me something quite good to ponder. I am hoping Condi will be there...I'm an Alabama gal...living on the left coast and just am so proud of her. She's a star...so far. I really like Kay and believe she would for sure off set the HILDABEAST. Am keeping your post and plan to study it more. Just as a side note. I received a letter from Cindy McLame last week regarding a fundraiser for children in another country. Just seemed strange to me and then I'm in the airport today and low and behold there's John and Cindy on the front cover of Architectural Digest of all things. For get it...trying just a little to hard.
Her lifetime ACU voting score is 91, although she has scored an 84 in 2004 and a 75 in 2003.
I'm not against a woman on the ticket, but I support it only if she is the best candidate for VP period. If the Presidential Nominee is a Yankee, a Texan may be a good balance.
I was shocked and aghast when I read this post.
It should read "...Keeton McClellan Rylander Strahorn...."
I've thought about this some more and probably the worst thing the Republicans can do is act as if they are reacting to a Hillary candidacy - which is probably why they will do this. I'm learning that if you want to predict what the Republicans in Washington will do, expect them to do whatever is the most cowardly.
For Democrats, expect them to do whatever is the most political, no matter how blatant they are about it. They will always do/say the most political thing they could do. Never once will they put their country or their conscience above what advances their political position. For Republicans, it's always doing the safest thing for themselves, even if it means selling themselves out which they do time and again.
Karl Rove reminds me of the football coach whose team should be better by three touchdowns than his opponent and manages to win the game on a last-second field goal while he gets carried off the field and hailed as a genius. He's the Bill Belichick of political consultants. Yes, he wins but he makes it closer than it ought to be by playing too safe.
Look at how Cain ran in Georgia in the senate race there, or at the most recent Louisiana race for governor. Rice would be popular in the south, with lots of money and support publicly given, she would be treated well on campaign visits, and when the votes were counted, the democrats would have the electoral votes from South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama. I had hoped things had changed, but the recent races don't give me any basis for that hope.
I don't have to like it, you don't have to like it, but you ignore the underlying reality of southern politics at your own risk.
You make some good points. It would be interesting to see just how racist the Democrats would get campaigning against her - saying all the right things while spreading outrageous lies under their breaths.
As a former Keyes supporter, I have no problem voting for a black candidate and never met anyone who openly said they could not. Some attacked issues, yes, but no politician should be insolated from issue attacks. Same with women candidates. I have voted for many and voted against many. Who they are and where they stand is what matters to me more than gender or race.
I'd like to think everyone is that way although I know it's not true. I hope with the passage of time, it will be an issue to fewer and fewer.
Two highly inept campaigns cured me of that.
About Keyes specifically? Yes. Ditto.
At least Louisiana kept it close.
I've voted for people of all races and ethnicities in my 4 election years starting in 98. I really do not want to agree with you about this, but there's this nagging doubt in the back of my mind as well, and it doesn't apply to just the South. Blacks seem to do well in lower profile mid level and local offices (Sec of State, state rep/senate, State Supreme Court), but do not win senatorial or gubenatorial races. Illinois(Obama/Braun), Virginia(Wilder), and Massachusetts(Ed Brooke) are the only states since reconstruction to do so.
In 1986, Bill Lucas(R) ran for governor in Michigan against incumbent Jim Blanchard(who was ousted in 1990 by then unknown John Engler). Lucas(who was black) was Wayne County Sheriff and switched parties not that long before his gubenatorial run. Now he wasn't our best candidate, but we did not expect a disaster on this level. It was an approximately 67-34% defeat statewide, and a worse thrashing than even what John Engler did to Geoff Fieger(who even lost Ann Arbor). Some of that was the normal democrat vote, but even sacrificial lamb candidate usually hold the democrats under 60%. Keep in mind that most statewide races here are within 5% as well.
We may have a candidate for senate here who is the most qualified individual IMO of those who have announced their candidacy. He happens to be black. I think he has a shot to win, if he can get his message out to people. Can he get the message out, and will people listen? How far as Michigan come since 1986? That's a good question. I know what I'd like the answer to be.
In all honesty, I don't know of a high-profile Republican woman who isn't regarded as "pro-abortion" depending on how you define it. A Veep would have little if any effect on the national policy unless the front of the ticket died in office and she became president. I do agree, however, that many pro-lifers would care about the Veep's position and might even stay home if they disagreed with it unless the presidential candidate was clearly pro-life.
Remember, too, that the Veep is usually the nominee's choice, needing only a rubber-stamp confirmation at the convention (I've yet to see a convention reject whoever the nominee chose). If the nominee wants Condi Rice or Kay Bailey or whomever, the party will go along and my guess is that few would choose not to vote for the nominee solely on the choice of running mates.
But he was a light - skinned guy from India.
Illinois(Obama/Braun), Virginia(Wilder), and Massachusetts(Ed Brooke) are the only states since reconstruction to do so
Yes, but those examples are either yankee, democrat, or both.
So you are saying that in 2008 Alabama would vote for a Dem ticket with Hillary on it instead of a GOP ticket with Condi Rice as the VP candidate because Condi is black?
You seem to be quite the apologist for Mrs. Clinton, routinely arguing a political equivalency (outside of judicial appointments) between her and President Bush. Have you forgotten the institutionalized corruption brought by her and Bill? Rifling through all the FBI files on political opponents at the WH residence? Webb Hubbel? Removal of the levels of security clearances at Savannah River? Los Alamos? Loral, its uber-DNC-doner head Bernard Schwartz, and the overriding of Defense Dept objections to shift missile technology sales to Commerce? China's subsequent decade+ leap in their missile program that suddenly allowed them to accurately target them and reach the US with their nukes? They just did a new test fire a few days ago, one would think that might remind you of the heavy downside price one has to pay when dealing with the devil out of bitter spite.
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