Rich Lowry

Why should she get them? Both she and Obama went to Ivy League law schools. The difference is that Obama left Harvard Law School for community organizing in Chicago and then a political career on the South Side. It's as if Bill and Hillary Clinton had departed Yale Law School and headed straight to San Francisco to clamber up the slippery pole of progressive politics. That way lies Nancy Pelosi.

Instead, they went to Arkansas and had to win over Bubba voters to survive. Democrats successful at the national level come from the South because it forces them into sympathy with parts of America not represented in the liberal, coastal bubble. Hillary obviously doesn't have the natural popular touch that Bill does, but she's sending him to every small town in America on her behalf.

Then, there's the matter of experience. Hillary's years in politics benefit her not because she's used to answering that proverbial red phone, but because they have roughed her up, making her -- like the Velveteen Rabbit -- more real for her voters. The soaring idealism in Hillary was long compromised away (by her) or kicked out of her (by her critics), giving her a battered grounding in realism that Obama lacks.

All of this has made her a stronger candidate. Operating on the Bill Clinton model, a Democratic candidate needs a "Sister Souljah moment," distancing him from the fringes of the party. Hillary Clinton's Sister Souljah moment has been running against Obama, pushing herself to the center in relation to him and forging a bond with voters Democrats need in a general election. Oddly, she may be a more electable candidate now when the odds are against her winning the nomination than when she seemed a lock. Tangled webs, indeed.


Rich Lowry

Rich Lowry is author of Legacy: Paying the Price for the Clinton Years .
 
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