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Gay GOP strategist: sHillary will be 2008 Dem nominee

In the Jewish Ledger, an indy publication in Connecticut, there is an interview with Arthur Finkelstein, the infamous, secretive GOP consultant who has worked on some of the bigoted campaigns imaginable.

For instance, Jesse Helms received down and dirty political services from him on his Senate run against Charlotte Mayor Harvey Gantt in 1990. I was living in NC during this time period, and it was one of the nastiest, racist campaigns I’ve seen in a good while. It was a close race (Gantt was leading by a couple of percentage points), until Finkelstein and friends ran the infamous “white hands” TV ad showing a close-up of a pair of flannel-shirtsleeved hands crumpling a job rejection letter, with an ominous voiceover booming that he lost that well-deserved job because “they had to give it to a minority.” This, not surprisingly, appealed to the base instincts of blue collar, textile working folks in the rural areas, and Helms cruised to victory.

Finkelstein, who was outed in 1996, married his partner in Massachusetts back in 2005.

Anyway, in this interview, he basically echoes what many are saying about sHillary and the internal conflicts within the GOP between the cultural whack jobs and the fat cat fiscal wing of the party.

It’s more than likely that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee; Hillary, who encompasses so much of what is today’s Democratic Party. She reflects the anti-defense sentiment in the U.S. and captures the cultural left. Scoop Jackson and Hubert Humphrey would twirl in their graves to think that she is the symbol of their party, let alone its leading candidate. On the Republican side the battle is more interesting and will be more chaotic.

What you see in the immigration fight, for example, is Republicans trying to figure out whether they are cultural conservatives or freedom conservatives. There are open border people inside the Republican Party and also the “throw them all out and protect our culture” people. There’s Pat Buchanan, who wants to reorient the culture in protectionist terms, and there is Larry Kudlow, who defines the argument in terms of free markets and free people.

The battle inside the party is about which element is going to dominate. Are we going to be a party that makes personal freedom and liberty its priority or one that puts culture over all else? The party’s nominee could be someone who has a stake in both sides. But right now people are mostly lining up on the cultural side and the surprise cultural candidate could be someone like Mike Huckabee, governor of Arkansas. Or, on the freedom side where business interests reside, it could be a candidate like New York’s Governor George Pataki. It promises to be quite a contest.

Mind you, Finkelstein has worked with Pataki, so that was a bit of shilling there.

Otherwise it’s interesting, and consistent with the grumbling coming from the fiscal conservative circles (finally). One wonders how far gone did these bible beaters in their party have to take the country before the free market fools realized the train was out of control.

I have to differ with Finkelstein’s opinion that sHillary captures “the cultural left” when she spends her time on BS such as the flag burning amendment and flipping the bird to gays (always with the hat out, mind you) cozying to the Right. She’s shown precious little conviction that would convince either side to vote for her. What she does have, however, is a big war chest, and that’s frightening.

Am I missing something, or is there some sizable portion of the population that would actually vote for sHillary? To me, all the chatting up about her on the Right is about wishful thinking — they want her on the ballot because she’s make it an easy win for just about any (non-fundie-beholden) Republican they’d put on the ticket. If the party nominates a bible-beating Huckabee or racist George Allen, they are in big trouble.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding