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President Clinton?

(Reprinted from SOBRANS, January 2007, page 1)
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.”

The 12th annual SOBRANS gala was a big success. Pictured are speakers Doug Bandow (left) and Tom Fleming (Center) with Joe Sobran. A full report on the Charter Subscribers’ Celebration will be in the February issue.
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.

Joseph Sobran

Photo: Paul Haring.
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