Why Karl Touts Hillary
Opponents stagnate. And what about the attacks from Democrats? So far, they've been either predictable or weak, or both. Obama has pounded her on her war vote; she's punched back by criticizing his "naive" foreign policy views. She talks of her 35 years of invaluable experience; he calls for a change from the old-style Washington politics (aka Clinton-Bush) to a post-boomer mind-set. Yet while Obama's message resonates with a solid piece of the country sick of politics-as-usual, he hasn't managed to add to that base what he'll need to beat Hillary Clinton, at least according to recent polls. As for John Edwards, both he and his wife have been busy attacking Clinton's Washington connections and money, touting his "not for sale" candidacy—only to see his campaign lose altitude as his persona diminishes. (In one debate, Edwards took a dim view of the color of Hillary Clinton's blazer. Imagine what he would have said if she had been the one to get a $400 haircut.)
This is not to say, of course, that Hillary Clinton should be off limits. But she has proved herself to be a strong adversary—and a steady politician. Sure, Karl Rove has a point: Clinton enters this race with among the highest negative ratings of any candidate "in the history of the Gallup Poll," with nearly half of all voters viewing her unfavorably. And she's clearly the candidate he would like to run against. Now all Rove has to figure out is who can beat her.