It is sometimes hard to tell if Mr. Safire is being serious or not. His assessment of the imoprtance of speeches in our modern political world is quite accurate, but his conclusion about the future of the Opposition party raises questions. Al Gore, barring the most extraordinary disaster, will not run for president for at least ten years, and by then it may be too late for him. Hillary Clinton, if she is to be the prime candidate in 2008, has five whole years in which to either start the revolution or bury herself. All the sacrificial lambs that plan to run in 2004 have doomed themselves by admitting that they don't really plan to beat He Who Was Not Elected, just bloody him up so that Hill can knock out his own chosen successor when the time comes. By making plans for Hill to run in 2008, the Dems are essentially admitting that they lack the balls to run her against Shrub in 2004. Perhaps she would be defeated, but would that bar her from running again after Shrub's reign is up? If nothing changes about the current administration and Hill puts herself in the spotlight, takes some risks, and calls in the chips her name has earned, I think she would win. And if not, well, we'll have endured four years of madness, we can tough it out another four if we have to.

What scares me is that nobody seems to know exactly what kind of president Hill would make, and that they don't seem to care. I just want the Opposition to grow some real testicles, stand up, and say something that doesn't sound like rehashed populism and empty-headed intrasingence.

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