You might note that Hillary did not come away chastened from the stinging personal defeat of her universal health care ploy. To the contrary, she said, in Iowa, concerning Hillary Care, "I now know what the roadblocks and obstacles are." (I fault her here, by the way, not for her unflinching commitment to socialized medicine -- I'll save that for later -- but for her usual duplicity in disguising it.)
On Iraq, Hillary has long been speaking out of both sides of her mouth. She figured out early on that she would have great difficulty courting a center-right electorate in a general election with the purely antiwar message her liberal base uncompromisingly demands. So she has been back and forth on Iraq -- a hawk with dovish wings -- almost as much as the perpetually double-tongued John Kerry.
For now Hillary seems to have settled -- appropriately -- on the Clintonesque position of taking responsibility for her vote to authorize the war against Iraq, while simultaneously denying responsibility because President Bush "misled Congress and the country on what he was seeking and what he intended to do."
On the broader war on terror, she throws bones to the right, saying, "we must [defend] our country and [deter] those who wish us ill, as they still do." Yet she says we must end "the alienation toward us in the rest of the world," a statement sure to warm the hearts of Jane Fonda and the 12-year-old war protestor who lamented that "the rest of the world sees us as a bully and a liar." Hillary's words should also please John Kerry, who just said on foreign soil that the United States is now considered an "international pariah."
It has yet to be determined, however, whether Hillary subscribes to Kerry's "global test," where we would virtually confer on other nations a veto power over our sovereign decision to go to war.
Though we will continue to see abundant evidence apparently to the contrary between now and November 2008, Hillary knows exactly who she is and what she wants. The open question is: How many naive or uninformed voters can she fool without permanently estranging herself from her natural soulmates on the far left?