Ms. Clinton’s calculation

I’m not more politically astute than you, Rocket Man, but here’s my take on Ms. Clinton’s decision to support the war. I think it means that she is running, although not necessarily in 2004. In the absence of political calculation, Hillary, a creature of the 1960s anti-war movement, would likely be opposed to military action of the kind that aggressively advances U.S. interests. However, the Clintons have figured out that the war will almost surely be successful and thus popular. Those who oppose the war will have quite an uphill climb in a race against President Bush in 2004 and even against some other Republican in 2008. A successful war would not make Bush unbeatable in 2004, given the state of the economy and the possibility of major terrorist successes. But it would mean that the Democrat who runs against him will be materially better off if he or she has supported the war.
But how will Ms. Clinton’s decision affect her standing among voters in Democratic primaries? Obviously, it won’t sit well with some. But her popularity with the left-wing of the party should remain high overall and, by 2008 (when she is most likely to run), her position on Iraq probably will not be a problem, assuming again that the war goes well. If she runs in 2004 (which she will do only if Bush appears vulnerable) her position on Iraq will hurt her in the primaries, but I think she has calculated that this risk is more than offset by the benefits she would obtain in the general election if she makes it that far.

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