Sunday, June 17, 2007

Going to Bat - On Hillary

If Hillary Clinton has any serious skeletons in her closet, expect to hear about them soon, very soon. As the Democratic frontrunner, she's become the prime target for a right-wing smear job.

A movie is in the works which is intended to "expose the truth about her conflicts in the past and her liberal plot for the future."

The anti-Hillary campaign is being modeled on the highly successful Swift Boat campaign that was used to defeat John Kerry and its backers' names include the usual suspects.

Anti-Hillary web sites are popping up including the likes of StopHerNow, StopHillaryPAC and HillCAP. One of them even accuses Clinton of illegal fundraising and seeks to have her prosecuted.

Then there will be the books. These include "The Extreme Makeover of Hillary Rodham Clinton", by Bay Buchanan, sister of former Republican presidential hopeful Pat Buchanan, and "Whitewash" by Brent Bozell, a veteran conservative who will try to show that Clinton is a pawn of the liberal media. Another book, "God and Hillary Clinton", will look at her religious beliefs and her pro-choice position on abortion.

"The Republican approach has been to maintain a distance between the dirty tricks-style operators and their senior figures. 'It is all based on plausible deniability, so that mainstream Republicans can dissociate with anti-Clinton activists,' said Shawn Bowler, a political scientist at the University of California.

"However, there is some clear overlap. For example, Texan businessman Bob Perry has joined Republican Mitt Romney's campaign as a fundraiser. In 2004, Perry gave more than $4m to the Swift Boat campaign.

"Her campaign is prepared for a conservative attack, no matter how dirty. On the campaign trail, one of her slogans is: 'I know how Washington Republicans think, how they operate and how to beat them.' Her staff have vowed not to repeat Kerry's 2004 mistake with the Swift Boat campaign when he delayed responding to their accusations that he did not tell the truth about his war record.

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