Here’s another way of looking at my point about Hillary yesterday. Every time the Bush administration has a major appointment to make, particularly for the Supreme Court, Chuck Schumer preemptively declares that Bush must not appoint any “divisive” candidates. Invariably, this is code for “any candidate liberals don’t like.” Schumer will often expound on how this or that nominee may be a good person but that his or her appointment would nonetheless send a partisan signal hence justify Democratic intransigence. The press often buys this logic as do many moderates, even though it’s usually very stupid.
Well, Republicans might be smart to make the same case about Hillary: She may be a fine person, but she’s just too divisive. Personally, I have no principled problem with deeply ideological presidents being as “divisive” as they can get away with — within the confines of democratic politics – to get their agenda through (though I obviously have deep problems with specific ideologies). Our politics could use more partisanship if you ask me. But lots of other people think government should hum along amiably like a meeting of the Swedish Board of Trade or something. And Republicans could help themselves by appealing to those people with Daschle-like “sadness and disappointment” that the Democrats decided to go with such a divisive, polarizing candidate.