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Call me an old cynic, but I'm not sure you can infer all that much of what a successful candidate will actually do once elected based on their campaign team and rhetoric.

There are two radically different games being played here

  1. Do/say whatever it takes to get elected

  2. Think about what you really want to do when you get elected and appoint your governing (as opposed to your campaign) team appropriately at that point.

Under 1) Hilary had to look tough as a women.  She probably has the instinctive Clinton game plan of not being trumped on national security issues by the GOP, so be as right wing as you think you can get away with and still win the Dem nomination.  Big problem was the Dem faithful don't want anyone within an asses roar of Bush to be their nominee.  She underestimated the degree to which public opinion ha turned on Bush and anyone vaguely close to him on foreign policy.  She should have secured the democratic faithful first and worried about not being blind-sided on National security later.

For Obama it was easier.  Hillary was the front runner running a typically centrist campaign to try and overcome her partisan image and pull in some independents.  Position yourself slightly but distinctly to the left of her.  Opposing Iraq was a no brainer if you weren't so obsessed with not being trumped by GOP on national security. First focus on wresting the Dem nomination from the heir presumptive Hillary.  Otherwise she had it sown up anyway.

For Edwards the focus was perhaps more on trade and corporatism at the expense of workers.  Position yourself slightly to the left of the heir presumptive Clinton on social and economic issues.

In trying to secure her right flank Clinton left herself too exposed on her left flank on both foreign and domestic policy.

2)  So what would they all actually do if elected?  To an extent they have to at least appear to genuflect to their base which got them into power.  So the initial mood music and image management would certainly be different.  But very soon the actual election and how it was fought and won is forgotten.  Events dictate what happens next and for all I know Clinton could be more radical and decisive than the other two.  She certainly has waited a long time for her chance and for her there will be no next time.  I don't have a clue what Obama would do except that is focus might be more Asia than Europe.  Edwards might be more focused on domestic rather than foreign policy issues -provided events did conspire to force him to focus on trade and geopolitical issues more.

But its all guesswork.  You need to have the inside dope on what these guys discuss in private when they are not talking electoral politics.  It really has vry little to do with actually being President.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jan 6th, 2008 at 09:08:12 PM EST

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