Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rich Lowry On Hillary Clinton

For political junkies, the end of one election cycle has but a brief moment before the next one heats up. We do have elections every two years in America; every four years, the dogfight occurs for the presidency. We are now in the middle of such a fight as primary candidates try to make the people understand their point-of-view on issues and topics that are important to the electorate. Both sides have their strong candidates and their weak ones. (A brief check of our column archives shows that we have disseminated the GOP candidates fairly, and without any sort of whitewash to them.)

One person stands out on the other side of the aisle, and that is Hillary Clinton. Groan and gnash your teeth if you must, but she is the key frontrunner on the Democrat side, and even though Rich Lowry will never vote for her, he goes on the record stating he will never underestimate her again:

Hillary Clinton has led in almost every national poll among the Democratic presidential candidates, usually by double digits. She has turned in a solid, self-assured performance in all the debates, has revved up an impressive organization and hasn’t made a major mistake under the glare of a media that magnify everything she does.

Clinton is the underestimated frontrunner. How much will-he-or-won’t-he commentary has been devoted to almost-certainly-won’t Al Gore, and how many glossy pages and adoring column inches to Barack Obama, as she continues her steady march toward the nomination?

Conservative commentators like me have especially tended to discount her. We have argued that she’d never dare to run for Senate in New York; that if she ran, she’d be a terrible candidate; and that if she really ran for president, she would collapse under the weight of her own dullness and high negatives. Alas and alack, it is instead incontrovertible that — in her own way — she’s a talented politician who has a clear path to the Democratic presidential nomination and to the presidency.

She’s not a natural, a fact highlighted all the more by her association by marriage to the great natural politician of his generation. If the test of a candidate is whether you would like to sit down and have a beer with her, she will never pass it.

She excels on other tests. Iraq seemed her greatest liability at the beginning of the campaign: She would either have to repudiate her vote to authorize the war, or be repudiated herself by anti-war Democratic voters. But she found her way out of the trap.

Read the whole thing because it is well worth the time. Mr. Lowry takes time to munch on some crow, and that is something Thomas and I do occasionally when watching her. She is slick and able; her spirit and will to achieve the presidency cannot be denied. Unlike the others she is facing, she has experience in politics that prove to be the keys to the White House. We can look to the recent rhetorical flap going on between her and Barack Obama, but she did come out swinging with the right jabs at his debate answer from Monday night.

The fact that he stated he would meet with enemy nations, without any sort of pre-conditions is a dangerous gamble to take. Thomas and I still believe this is Senator Obama's "global test" moment. While she may not believe that the world is a dangerous place, she is hitting all the right buttons with the electorate. Her answer to the question on Monday -- invoking Fidel Castro's name -- was priceless. We tend to forget the Cuban-Americans in Florida that detest the man, and such a subtle appeal to them could prove invaluable.

Her march to the nomination is virtually unstoppable, save for a serious mistake or gaffe she may make between now and then. But her campaign is filled with professionals that know their job, and they are working for a woman that does not suffer fools long. One mistake made by them, as Mr. Lowry observes, and they will most assuredly be out of a job. While Senator Obama and Mr. Edwards may make life rough for her, she is still going to emerge from the primaries as the de facto nominee.

The Republican nominee must not only be someone who has a clear vision of the future of this nation, but also one that can contrast -- sharply -- to Senator Clinton's vision. We already know what this woman is about, and so do many others. Her unfavorability amongst voters is the only weight around her neck. What others perceive as cold, some prefer cool confidence. When others see arrogance, her supporters see unflappable assurance. There is a tit for every tat with this woman, and many have made the mistake of underestimating her.

We would be wise to remember that this woman, while not as coy and cagey as her husband, still has what it takes to win what she wants.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

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July 27, 2007 at 4:53 PM  

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