Surprise of the century. I still don’t see how she can win the primary, for a number of reasons:
As the situation in Iraq gets worse and worse from now to early 2008, Hillary – as the only one of the three major candidates to still think that the invasion was a good idea – will upset basically everyone in the Democratic party more and more. It’s not enough, in my mind and in the minds of many in the party, to call for a withdrawal after it’s painfully obvious that that’s the least bad option. The POTUS needs to be able to make intelligent foreign policy decisions based on the information available at the time they’re made. Hillary’s support for the war demonstrated that she is utterly incapable of doing that.
Hillary has no accomplishments under her belt. Obama, in two years – both in the minority – in the Senate, has improved government transparency dramatically, worked to address the situation in D.R. Congo, and reduced the availability of small arms globally. After six years – two in the majority – Hillary has no similar accomplishments, and much of her proposed legislation has been both trivial and unsavory: her video game censorship bill, protectionist legislation that would pay companies to impoverish poor third-world workers, and a capitulationist bill that would criminalize speech in the form of flag-burning. She’s going to be hard-pressed to show that she’s been at all effective as a Senator, whereas Obama can show his results with relative ease.
Building off the last two points, Hillary is going to have to face the fact that what smells rotten about her candidacy – to me and to a lot of people – is the nepotism of it. She would be as viable a candidate for the presidency as Dianne Feinstein were she not Bill Clinton’s wife; the only reason she’s been taken seriously, and supported in some circles, is because of that connection. But she’s not Bill Clinton. She doesn’t have the charisma, the policy ingenuity, or the political tact of Bill, and that’s what makes Clinton fans like me more willing to support Obama, who actually has more in common with Bill than does his wife.
I don’t dislike Hillary. Compared to Edwards, who is a grade-A snake oil salesman with the gall to run an anti-poverty campaign with a major component being a full-frontal assault on the poor, she’s positively refreshing. But candidates with Obama’s charisma and intellect don’t come around often – Bill and JFK are the only reference points that make sense.