Carol Platt Liebau: Who Would Have Thought?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Who Would Have Thought?

After a year of coasting on the waves of supposed inevitability, a funny thing happened on the way to Hillary Clinton's march to the nomination-- and now, she's in a dogfight with Barack Obama and John Edwards; in fact, Robert Novak predicts she'll actually come in third in tomorrow's Iowa caucuses.

This, of course, is attributable to the fact that people either love Clinton or hate her, even among Democrats; she's the second choice of very few caucus-goers. What's worth considering is how much greater a lead Barack Obama would have if John Edwards weren't in the race at all, and one grasps the depth of the concern that the majority of Iowa Democrats obviously feel about Hillary Clinton.

The contrast between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama is most evident in the approach they take. Obama is conciliatory (at least in words) toward political adversaries on the right; Clinton talks about how she's taken "incoming fire" for 16 years. What's interesting is that Clinton may be the victim of the polarized politics that she and her husband (yes, along with some Republicans, too) did so much to create. The country is tired of division and quarrelling, which may explain why so many Democrats support Barack Obama notwithstanding his lack of experience. That, in fact, may be part of the change that voters are saying trumps experience for them in choosing a president.


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