There was some discussion in the comments on my post about Maureen Dowd's misogynistic snipe at Hillary Clinton about whether I actually meant to suggest that Senator Clinton has a realistic change to be elected President - "the first [woman] in U.S. history with a real shot at the Presidency," as I put it. In other words, is Clinton electable?
My answer: yeah, she is.
To be sure, handicapping Presidential races twoyears out is an inexact science. Things have to break right for her - in the opponent sweepstakes, especially - and she may have to weather some Democratic primary losses (John Edwards is the next-strongest candidate, barring a Frankensteinian Al Gore rebirth). It'll be a fight. But I can see her whipping anybody not named McCain on the GOP side. She was wrong about the war and there's certainly a whiff of dynasty about her career, but she may well be the toughest, most disciplined major elected politician in America.
Now, this puts me at odds with most of the readers' comments - even those who blasted Dowd for her blatantly anti-feminist language mostly thought Clinton is already toast, the victim of a. her ambition, b. her gender, c. demonization by the right, or d. all of the above. Chuck's comment is typical:
HRC is where she is at because she married a fast track guy. Nepotism is not merit and the vast dumb-voter conspiracy will never cast their votes her way. She will lose... she is now a "brand" created by the GOP with years of demonization and hatred. Hillary is hated like no other. NO one I know would ever talk about her with ANYTHING other than disdain in public.
Respectfully, I disagree - and point to this comment by Sally, who sums up my current POV on the efficacy of a Clinton candidacy and earns comment of the week:
Too many Dowdisms are about Hillary's gender although that is vehemently denied time and again. As terrible a person and president Bush is, I doubt anyone has written as many negatives about him (or Cheney or Rumsfeld) in one column as the anti-Hillarys do. Get over the fantasy Republicans want her to run. Just like they are anxious for Bill to be her campaign manager. I think not, ladies and gentlemen.