But, if I had to be a bit more mathematical about it, I’d look at it this way. If the Democrats ever want to take back the White House, 2008 is their best shot. After the 2010 census, the electoral college apportionment for the 2012 Presidential campaign will reflect the population shifts to the south and west – ie, growing Republican “red” states will get more votes and declining Democrat “blue” states will have fewer. The trouble with being a party that promotes abortion as a sacrament is that after a generation or two it catches up with you: in 2004, the 16 states with the lowest fertility rate voted for John Kerry; 25 of the 26 with the highest fertility rate voted for George W Bush. In the long run, a lot of Democratic turf is looking as demographically barren as the European Union. And, even discounting the long-term prognosis, right now more red states are trending blue than vice-versa. So, if the Dems don’t win in three years’ time, things are only going to get worse. In 2008, they need a candidate who can hold all the territory John Kerry won plus flip Ohio or Florida into the Democratic column.So the electoral math is as favorable as it's going to get for quite awhile. But the real reason is that Hillary is the only Democratic figure with enough star power/political capital to run to the right on national defense issues while keeping the left wing fringes from going into revolt.
Lately, for example, she’s been making some tentative moves away from Democrat orthodoxy on abortion. The abortion absolutism demanded by the party’s wrinkly feminist activists is a net vote loser for the Dems, but figuring out how to shake off Gloria Steinem and co is a tricky business. John Kerry was reduced to claiming that, while he personally, passionately believed life began at conception, he would never let his deep personal, passionately held beliefs interfere with his legislative programme; Howard Dean, declining to torture his rhetoric so pitifully, was practically offering to perform partial birth abortions on volunteers from the crowd. But Hillary’s begun to sound kinda-sorta-pro-life-ish: “We can all recognize,” she said the other day, “that abortion in many ways represents a sad, even tragic choice to many, many women.” Really? The abortion lobby doesn’t think it’s “sad” and “tragic”. They think the choice is something to be celebrated. Yet, unlike Kerry and Dean, if Senator Clinton tiptoes further down this path, I’ll bet the Democrats’ feminist enforcers decline to protest.And that's before you even talk about Iraq and her remarkably hawkish position. Anyway, RTWT, as they say. It's worth it.