January 2007
                         (page 1)

President Clinton?
by Joe Sobran

     The U.S. Constitution dooms us to have a 
presidential election in 2008, whether we need one or 
not, and the media are trying to create excitement about 
the grim prospect. NEWSWEEK has run a breathless cover 
story pitting Hillary Clinton against Barack Obama with 
the big question, "Is America Ready?" A historic choice 
indeed! Will it be the First Woman President or the First 
Black President? Be still, my heart!

     The other day I awoke with a groan to find Hillary 
being interviewed about her plans. She was trying to be 
coy, but nobody was fooled. A new edition of her classic, 
IT TAKES A VILLAGE, has just been published, and she was 
droning on about "child poverty" being "up," as if this 
were an issue convulsing the electorate. Still barely 
half-awake, I was seized with a conviction: "No way is 
this tiresome old woman going to win."

     In the endless presidential horserace this former 
republic has become, Barack Obama is the frisky young 
colt, and Hillary is the old nag. We've already had to 
put up with her far too long. We've heard everything she 
has to say, and we don't need four (let alone eight) more 
years of it. Nearly half the voters say they will never 
vote for her, and the Democrats doubt that she's 
electable. Besides which, many Dems are disgusted with 
her for failing to oppose the Iraq war. She'll never be 
exciting again. She belongs in a rest home.

     All this may sound as if Obama is a shoo-in to take 
the nomination from her, but Dick Morris, who hates her, 
isn't so sure. He thinks her lead is still too big for 
any Dem challenger to overcome. Paradoxically, he argues, 
Obama is actually helping her. He's creating so much 
excitement that he is making it hard for the party's 
other hopefuls to get any attention or traction. Yet he 
himself is young and unproven.

     Not to mention black and liberal. Amid the general 
cooing over this amazing phenomenon, Peggy Noonan, 
writing in the WALL STREET JOURNAL, has gently pricked 
the bubble with her usual presence of mind. When you blow 
away the froth, she points out, all you find is a routine 
left-Democrat without the usual abrasiveness. Over time, 
this will sink in with the voters.

     At least I hope so. Starting with 1968, it seemed to 
be an iron law that the Republicans won the presidency 
whenever the Democratic nominee seemed clearly the more 
left-wing of the two; the Democrats won only when they 
managed to blur the difference, as Carter and Clinton 
did. We will see whether that still holds true in 2008.

     If Morris is right, Hillary gets the party's nod by 
default and then loses the election to whichever of the 
GOP's sorry lot opposes her: McCain, Romney, Giuliani, or 
some other political cadaver. Obama seems to me the 
Democrats' answer to Giuliani. Whether he will similarly 
flare out is the question.


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