I discovered Peggy Noonan (former Reagan speechwriter; she wrote some of his most famous speeches) back in the early 90's when I read her great book about the Reagan presidency "What I Saw at the Revolution."
Since then I've read a number of her books (go here for a review of one of them: Tom Faranda's Folly: Latest read - "John Paul the Great" ) and usually take a look at her Friday column in the Wall Street Journal.
Today's column was classic, as she looked at political debates, Giuliani, and (Mrs) Clinton. Hit the link forthe full feature. Below it are some excerpts about the political debates and Clinton.
Death, Taxes, and Mrs. Clinton OpinionJournal - Peggy Noonan
I will never forget that breathtaking moment when, in the CNN/YouTube debate earlier this fall, the woman from Ohio held up a picture and said, "Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama, Mr. Edwards, this is a human fetus. Given a few more months, it will be a baby you could hold in your arms. You all say you're 'for the children.' I would ask you to look America in the eye and tell us how you can support laws to end this life. Thank you."
They were momentarily nonplussed, then awkwardly struggled to answer, to regain lost high ground. One of them, John Edwards I think, finally criticizing the woman for being "manipulative," using "hot images" and indulging in "the politics of personal destruction." The woman then stood in the audience for her follow up. "I beg your pardon, but the literal politics of personal destruction--of destroying a person--is what you stand for."
Oh, I wish I weren't about to say, "Wait, that didn't happen." For of course it did not. Who of our media masters would allow a question so piercing on such a painful and politically incorrect subject?
I thought of this the other night when citizens who turned out to be partisans for Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama and Mr. Edwards asked the Republicans, in debate, would Jesus support the death penalty, do you believe every word of the Bible, and what does the Confederate flag mean to you?
It was a good debate, feisty and revealing. It's not bad that the questions had a certain spin, and played on stereotypes of the GOP. It's just bad that it doesn't quite happen at Democratic debates. ...
This is the first time she's (Mrs. Clinton) faced a real threat, in Barack Obama, and it's left me thinking about how being The Inevitable is a high-risk game. You can get far being the inevitable choice. A lot of people will believe it and support you, especially the weak, and the pragmatic. They give you early support and early money. Others see the endorsements and contributions. Another level of giver and supporter kicks in. It starts to show in the national polls. Everyone knows you're inevitable.
But there are two problems with this strategy. One is that your support is by definition broad but shallow. You have a lot of people, but they won't crawl over broken glass for you. When I talk to Hillary supporters they mostly enact a facsimile of what they think passion is, and are reduced to a dulled aggression. "We're gonna win."
The second part of the inevitability problem is that once you seem no longer inevitable--once the polls stop rising or start to fall, once that air is out of the balloon and the thing that made everyone fall in line is gone--well, what do you do? If the main argument of your candidacy is you're inevitable and suddenly you're evitable, where does that leave you? What does it leave you with? Mere hunger. Insistence: "It will be me."
And anger at this nobody who wasn't even in the Senate when you took the big votes, this cream puff who was a functionary in Chicago when you were getting your head beaten in by Ken Starr. What does Mrs. Clinton do when she's feeling angry? What has she done in the past? Goodness, this won't be pretty.