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   Hillary in 2008? No Way!

NEWS INFORMATION

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Parent

News Date

5/8/2005 12:00 am

Author

Media

TIME Magazine

Category

Commentary

Database Record

Entered 5/8/2005, Updated 5/8/2005

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I was having a fascinating conversation with a Middle East expert about the intricacies of Israel's disengagement from Gaza when I noticed the fellow growing impatient. "Enough of this," he said. "What about Hillary?" Welcome to my life. In airports, on checkout lines, at the doctor's office: "What about Hillary?" (Everywhere except in Washington, where everyone "knows" she's running.) I shrug, I try to avoid the question, I say it's too early—and it is. But you want to know too, right? So here it is. I like Senator Clinton. She has a wicked, ironic sense of humor (in private) and a great raucous belly laugh. She is smart and solid; she inspires tremendous loyalty among those who work for her. She is not quite as creative a policy thinker as her husband, but she easily masters difficult issues—her newfound grasp of military matters has impressed colleagues of both parties on the Armed Services Committee—and she is not even vaguely the left-wing harridan portrayed by the Precambrian right. I also think that a Clinton presidential candidacy in 2008 would be a disaster on many levels. It would doubtless be a circus, a revisitation of the carnival ugliness that infested public life in the 1990s. Already there are blogs, websites and fund-raising campaigns dedicated to denigrating her. According to the New York Observer last week, these sites aren't getting much traffic—yet. But they will. I remember several conversations with Senator Clinton after her health-care plan was killed 10 years ago, and she was clearly pained—nonplussed by the quality of anger, the sheer hatred, directed against her. That experience would be a walk in the park compared to the vitriol if she ran for President. And while I'd love to see someone confront, and defeat, the free-range haters on the right, the last thing we need is a campaign that would polarize the nation even more. Indeed, we could use the exact opposite—a candidate who would inspire America's centrist majority to ri


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