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   Don't Overestimate Hillary: Everyone thinks Mrs. Clinton is a brilliant politician. That proves she isn't.

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4/18/2005 12:45 pm

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Entered 4/18/2005, Updated 4/18/2005

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It is, of course, gospel that Hillary Clinton is a political genius, or something to that effect. She is so brilliant that potential Democratic opponents are warned by pundits everywhere that she will work her secret devil arts on the poor fool who dares cross her. She is that good. Ostensibly, the only hope that humble conservatives have to keep her from being the first female president is some tawdry book by Ed Klein. I have never understood this. Where do her political credentials come from? It seems to me that she was a great supporting player to a good (though highly overrated) politician. She played the part of the forgiving, intelligent, driven wife with great effectiveness. When she takes center stage, however, the results are quite mixed. She botched health-care reform so badly that President Clinton got absolutely nothing from a Democratic Congress. She coined the term "vast right-wing conspiracy"--guaranteeing that conservatives everywhere would curse her existence until the end of time. She did win that New York Senate seat, but that, to my mind, was pretty unimpressive. She beat latecomer Rick Lazio, who was not a formidable candidate, to say the least (the word "sophomoric" comes to mind). If her political accomplishments are unimpressive, why is she so feared? Why is she seen to be a political genius? The answer to this question eluded me for a long time, perhaps because it is so simple. The plain fact is that Hillary Clinton is actually one of the worst politicians in national politics today. She is feared as a brilliant politician only because she is such an obvious politician, which is actually the key mark of a bad politician. The answer to this question boils down to obviousness. Hillary's movement is a big deal first and foremost because everybody notices her movement. Mr. Frist and others do not get noticed because, while one can identify their political movements through systematic evaluation of their voting records, their positioni


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