If nothing else, Sen. Barack Obama's probable entry into the presidential race has hastened a decision by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton about her candidacy.
At the risk of annoying her loyal supporters, here is an opposing view from the analysts and bloviators who already have her in the race. Her front-runner status in the largely name-ID polls can be deceiving.
There are several difficulties she should consider before taking the plunge. Most important is that she may win the nomination, but the Republicans could slice and dice and defeat her in the general election.
But consider these other problems:
Don't be misled by the admiring words coming from Republican colleagues in the Senate who have praised her for hard work and collegiality. The Republican attack machine is eager to run against her. Those negative files at the Republican National Committee must be brimming with material.
Hillary Clinton is a smart woman. She has to recognize the polarizing factor she would bring to the race in the next two years.
Indeed, she has established herself in the Senate. So why not wait for an opening to be the first female majority leader when Sen. Harry Reid steps down?
She has already been first lady of Arkansas, first lady of the land, and a sitting senator from the nation's third-largest state. A history-making move as the first woman to be majority leader should be satisfying to a onetime Goldwater Girl from Illinois.
Think about it, Mrs. Clinton. This will not be as easy task. It could turn into a nightmare, despite all the money you have to throw into the race.