John Podhoretz, in his New York Post column, aruges that Hillary is still likely to be the Democratic nominee:
And here we have the problem for Obama: While many people are thrilled by the prospect of a revolutionary presidential candidate, it’s not most people – not even most liberals.
In the end, except in rare circumstances, presidential candidates are the ones who seem like the safest choices. Voters are instinctively “conservative” even when they’re liberal. This is truer in the general election than it is in primaries, but time and again voters have followed this pattern in primaries as well.
Hillary Clinton’s greatest problem as a candidate was precisely that she was a potentially revolutionary figure – the first female president, as well as a liberal icon who would shift things to the left.
Now she’s the establishment candidate of the Democratic Party – a “semi-incumbent,” in Plouffe’s words. With Obama as the first serious black candidate, her standing as the first serious female candidate seems far less revolutionary. And with him running to her left, she is well-positioned as the more moderate choice.
Obama and his partisans will need to tread carefully here. If they try to caricature Hillary as Bush in a dress, they’re going to suffer for it. It’s a ridiculous conceit, so divorced from reality that it will give her easy ammunition both to demonstrate her liberal credentials and to seem the victim of over-aggressive negative campaigning.
No matter how much money Obama raises or how much enthusiasm he generates, Hillary is still going to have to stumble for him to catch up to her. That’s the advantage of being a front-runner. Many candidates stumble. But some don’t. And so far, Hillary doesn’t seem like a stumbler.