The Corner

A Dean Loss

What I don’t understand is why Hillary and Bill want Clark. Sure, if Clark wins, the Clintons would be key powers. But Clark will probably lose. Yes, Hillary and Bill are doing the responsible thing for their party by trying to top the ticket with someone who won’t sink the congressional candidates. That gets them credit with the party. But the truth is, what Hillary and Bill really need is a big Dean loss in the general election. The other thing I don’t understand is why Gore wants Dean. Sure, if Dean wins, Gore could be Secretary of State (see Charles Krauthammer’s latest column). But if Dean loses, won’t that just turn the Democratic party over to the Clintons, who will be able to say, “I told you so.” The bad news is that, with the Democrats now split between the resurgent Dean left and Clintonians for Clark, Hillary is in the remarkable position of seeming to head up the practical, defense oriented wing of the party. This post rightly belongs to Leiberman. It says something about how far gone the Democrats are that Hillary is taking it instead. But Hillary is taking it, and this helps her materially. Just by being against Dean, Hillary is made to seem more moderate than she really is. In fact, so long as Dean gets creamed, it’s Hillary who stands to benefit. Like I said, Hillary should actually prefer Dean. With Clark, she gets the right to influence a loser. With Dean, she gets the right to succeed a loser. So what we’re looking at is a Dean loss in 2004, and Hillary versus Jeb in 2008. By that time, Hillary will have had four more years to burnish her bogus move to the center, and the country will be tired of Bushes. Naturally, speculation at this distance is of limited value at best. But the scenario for Hillary in ‘08 looks a whole lot rosier than I’m comfortable with.

Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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