By Ben Cohen
Peggy Noonan is an annoyingly astute right wing political pundit. It's hard to listen to a woman who wrote many of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr speeches (and also helped get W elected for the second time), but she is highly perceptive and interesting to listen to. Here is an excellent analysis of why Republicans are fearful of Barack Obama and would love to run against Hillary Clinton:
Can Mrs Clinton Lose?
By Peggy Noonan
If Hillary Clinton loses, does she know how to lose?
What will that be, if she loses? Will she just say, "I concede" and go
on vacation at a friend's house on an island, and then go back to the
Senate and wait?
Is it possible she could be so normal? Politicians
lose battles, it's part of what they do, win and lose. But she does not
know how to lose. Can she lose with grace? But she does grace the way
George W. Bush does nuance.
She often talks about how tough she is. She has fought
"the Republican attack machine" that has tried to "stop" her, "end"
her, and she knows "how to fight them." She is preoccupied to an
unusual degree with toughness. A man so preoccupied would seem weak.
But a woman obsessed with how tough she is just may be lethal.
Does her sense of toughness mean that every battle in
which she engages must be fought tooth and claw, door to door? Can she
recognize the line between burly combat and destructive, never-say-die
warfare? I wonder if she is thinking: What will it mean if I win
ugly? What if I lose ugly? What will be the implications for my future,
the party's future? What will black America, having seen what we did in
South Carolina, think forever of me and the party if I do low things to
stop this guy on the way to victory? Can I stop, see the lay of the
land, imitate grace, withdraw, wait, come back with a roar down the
road? Life is long. I am not old. Or is that a reverie she could never have? What does it mean if she could never have it?
We know she is smart. Is she wise? If it comes to it,
down the road, can she give a nice speech, thank her supporters, wish
Barack Obama well, and vow to campaign for him?
It either gets very ugly now, or we will see unanticipated--and I suspect professionally saving--grace.
I ruminate in this way because something is happening.
Mrs. Clinton is losing this thing. It's not one big primary, it's a
rolling loss, a daily one, an inch-by-inch deflation. The trends and
indices are not in her favor. She is having trouble raising big money,
she's funding her campaign with her own wealth, her moral standing
within her own party and among her own followers has been dragged down,
and the legacy of Clintonism tarnished by what Bill Clinton did in
South Carolina. Unfavorable primaries lie ahead. She doesn't have the
excitement, the great whoosh of feeling that accompanies a winning
campaign. The guy from Chicago who was unknown a year ago continues to
gain purchase, to move forward. For a soft little innocent, he's played
a tough and knowing inside/outside game.
The day she admitted she'd written herself a check for
$5 million, Obama's people crowed they'd just raised $3 million. But
then his staff is happy. They're all getting paid.
Political professionals are leery of saying, publicly,
that she is losing, because they said it before New Hampshire and
turned out to be wrong. Some of them signaled their personal weariness
with Clintonism at that time, and fear now, as they report, to look as
if they are carrying an agenda. One part of the Clinton mystique
maintains: Deep down journalists think she's a political Rasputin who
will not be dispatched. Prince Yusupov served him cupcakes laced with
cyanide, emptied a revolver, clubbed him, tied him up and threw him in
a frozen river. When he floated to the surface they found he'd tried to
claw his way from under the ice. That is how reporters see Hillary.
And that is a grim and over-the-top analogy, which I
must withdraw. What I really mean is they see her as the Glenn Close
character in "Fatal Attraction": "I won't be ignored, Dan!"