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Clinton’s Silence Not Unnoticed

Somebody over at the Washington Post also notices how strangely quiet Clinton has been:

Clinton has been surprisingly quiet in the days since Palin was nominated. She issued a bland statement the day McCain announced his surprise pick: “We should all be proud of Governor Sarah Palin’s historic nomination, and I congratulate her and Senator McCain. While their policies would take America in the wrong direction, Governor Palin will add an important new voice to the debate.” Last Thursday, Clinton put out just her second statement about Palin, saying she wanted to “slightly amend” one of her best zingers in Denver: “No way, no how, no McCain-Palin.” And while Clinton is scheduled to stump in central Florida Monday on Sen. Barack Obama’s behalf, the trip is not, according to people in both Democrats’ camps, designed as a direct response to the debut of the second female vice presidential nominee in U.S. history.

It doesn’t exactly add up to a resounding attack, especially during the heat of the campaign. Former Clinton advisers offer various explanations: She would only energize the Republican base if she criticized Palin; she doesn’t want to diminish her own stature by attacking McCain’s rookie understudy rather than McCain himself; she is not on the ticket, so why should she intervene? Still, the result is a strange silence from the woman who, until just two weeks ago, had arguably the most powerful female voice in American politics.

I expect her upcoming campaign tour will be similarly mellow.  I wouldn’t be surprised if she softens any attacks she makes with lines like “no matter who wins, this will be a historic election.”  Her focus will likely be on how, “McCain’s policies are wrong for America” rather than how “Palin’s policies are wrong for women”. Clinton in 2012?

Even that plan is tenuous.  Obama is a hugely important figure on the political scene these days.  He wasn’t a halfhearted pick from a slate of old faces like Kerry.  His rise was a momentous and inspiring event to his supporters.  People are unlikely to forget him the way they quickly forgot much-unloved Kerry.  Clinton faces an uphill battle if she hopes to capture the 2012 Democratic nomination.  In 2008, at least, I wish her the best.

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