The Moose attempts to quell a columnist's fear of a Hillary candidacy.
The Moose believes that it is far too soon to saddle up with a horse for '08. Nevertheless, speculation is inevitable. To keep things in perspective, who thought Clinton would be the nominee in May, 1989 or for that matter who predicted that Carter would be the standard bearer in spring of 1973? Things happen and candidates will rise and fall, announce and withdraw.
It is certainly far too soon to count any candidate out. That is exactly what the usually-insightful Joe Klein does to Hillary in Time Magazine. To summarize, Klein argues that a Hillary candidacy would unleash the conservatives dogs of hell and Hillary may be unprepared to handle the attacks, that Bill would be a liability and there would be no role for him in the Administration, and finally the American people would resist a monarchial succession.
On the first point, the Moose can attest from his conversations with smart conservatives that they genuinely fear a Hillary candidacy. They understand that Clinton uniquely can move to the center politically and they believe that she is more disciplined than her husband. More than most, Hillary grasps the Democratic weaknesses in the areas of values and security and is aggressively seeking to address them. Yes, the right will attack her viciously, relentlessly and with no mercy. But, they also realize that she would give as good as she got.
The ugly truth is that if Jesus of Nazareth himself returned and dared to run on the Democratic line the righteous right would tar him as a bleeding heart vagabond who couldn't hold a job and that he needed a shave. No doubt a Galilee Fishingboat Veterans for Truth outfit would call into question Jesus' miracle claims - financed with lavish funding from Rove's buddies in Texas and maximum exposure on Fox News. Just imagine the book - "Unfit to Save".
And unlike the Kerry campaign, Hillary would not hesitate or delay in responding to such attacks. Remember, she deeply understood the vast right wing conspiracy before most knew that it existed.
As for as Bill being a liability, Klein should read the latest Democracy Corps poll which shows that in a hypothetical 2008 George W. Bush v. Bill Clinton matchup- old Bubba would prevail over W. - 53-43. In '08, the eight years of Clinton peace and prosperity might look mighty fine. And the answer to Klein's concern about monarchy is that the public didn't seem to mind that H.W. was followed by W with another President in between.
This is all not to say that Hillary should be the nominee, only that she shouldn't be ruled out. Anyone who gives the right-wing plutocrats conniption fits is just fine with the Moose. --