Cal  Thomas

Few people know the Clintons better than their former adviser and pollster, Dick Morris. In a June 2003 article for National Review Online, Morris wrote: "The fact is that Hillary and Bill have had a relationship based on a sick cycle of accusation-denial-admission-reward for decades. He is accused of an affair. He denies it. He admits it when he has no choice. Hillary forgives him and then Bill showers gifts upon her in gratitude. For putting up with Gennifer Flowers and going on '60 Minutes' to 'stand by her man,' she got control of health-care policy. For Monica, she got a Senate seat. Some guys give necklaces, some give Senate seats."

Character is the starting point for judging the worthiness of Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States, not her positions on issues, whatever they may be.

The larger question is whether any of this - from character issues to shifting positions - will matter, especially to many "Oprah" women voters who may think Hillary "deserves" the job of president because of what she has endured with Bill (as if they had not made a bargain of convenience with each other).

According to the latest Fox News poll, Hillary Clinton is believed "qualified to be president" by a 59 percent majority, though the poll question was carefully phrased "Regardless of whether you would vote for Hillary Clinton ..." She even scores well among certain Republican constituencies.

As Morris notes in a column for The Hill newspaper, Hillary would be the strongest Democratic candidate since her husband first ran in 1992. Morris still wants Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to run against her, though Rice has firmly told me and others she has no interest in the job.

Morris asks us to "remember that while Bill is a moderate who becomes a liberal when he must ... Hillary is a liberal who pretends moderation when she has to."

In our feel-good age, we want to be told what we want to hear, and Hillary Clinton is the ideal pander candidate. Whoever runs against her will have his work cut out for him ... or her.

Cal Thomas

Get Cal Thomas' new book, What Works, at Amazon.

Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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