Peggy Noonan, on Mrs. Clinton seeking the presidency:
Republicans—I have been among many—are now in the stage of the Hillary Conversation in which they are beginning to grouse about those who keep warning that Mrs. Clinton will be a formidable candidate for president in 2008. She won’t be so tough, they say. America will never elect a woman like her, with such a sketchy history—financial scandals, political pardons, the whole mess that took place between 1980 and 2000.
I tell them they are wrong. First, it is good to be concerned about Mrs. Clinton, for she is coming down the pike. It is pointless to be afraid, but good to be concerned. Why? Because we live in a more or less 50-50 nation; because Mrs. Clinton is smarter than her husband and has become a better campaigner on the ground; because her warmth and humor seem less oily; because she has struck out a new rhetorically (though not legislatively) moderate course; because you don’t play every card right the way she’s been playing every card right the past five years unless you have real talent; because unlike her husband she has found it possible to grow more emotionally mature; because the presidency is the bright sharp focus of everything she does each day; because she is not going to get seriously dinged in the 2008 primaries but will likely face challengers who make her look even more moderate and stable; and because in 2008 we will have millions of 18- to 24-year-old voters who have no memory of her as the harridan of the East Wing and the nutty professor of HillaryCare.
The Hillary those young adults remember will be the senator—chuckling with a throaty chuckle, bantering amiably with Lindsey Graham, maternal and moderate and strong. Add to that this: Half the MSM will be for her, and the other half will be afraid of the half that is for her. (You think journalists are afraid of the right? Journalists are afraid of each other.) And on top of all that, It’s time for a woman. Almost every young woman in America, every tough old suburban momma, every unmarried urban high-heel-wearing, briefcase-toting corporate lawyer will be saying it. They’ll be working for, rooting for, giving to the woman.
I am of course exaggerating, but not by much.
Not to mention that the 18-24 crowd didn’t have, as usual, the voting impact in the 2004 election many hoped they would.posted on March 31, 2005 12:12 PM