Someday, sooner rather than later I hope, I will get back to real blog-writing; in the meantime another thought on the run . . . . I predict that very soon, Hillary Clinton will start "speaking truth to the American people" -- that is, start telling us something that we already know (because every thoughtful person knows it) but that doesn't get acknowledged publicly very much because of its political sensitivity. It will probably, although not necessarily, be about gender relations -- "post-feminism" or something like that -- and it might not take the form of a particular speech (that might be too blatant even for her). It won't be the substance that's important, but the tone -- "I am a real enough person to speak the truth without fear or favor," etc. You heard it here first.
The legitimate element of Clinton's campaign has consisted in attempting to draw a contrast between herself and Obama along the lines of: sure he's eloquent, but politics takes more than words, it takes monkey-grease, late nights on the job, and know-how. The dark side has been her attempts, on one hand, to steal the things that have worked for Obama -- the "change" theme, and so on -- while, on the other, to smear him in ways that John McCain would probably not to sink to himself, but which will certainly benefit him handsomely in November if Obama ends up as the Democratic nominee (for a catalog of the more recent slime by Clinton and her proxies, see this Bob Herbert column from the NY Times). The legitimate campaign theme hasn't worked too well -- after Bush it's certainly true that most Americans demand competence in their preferred candidate, but that's a necessary and not sufficient condition (we'd like a little inspiration, too), and despite her efforts to compare Obama to George Bush, she hasn't convinced anyone that Obama fails on that count. And so, following Obama's much- and rightly admired speech on race yesterday, I expect that we will see the light go on over Clinton's head -- "ahh, being real, being thoughtful -- not being completely and utterly political! -- is working for him; hell, I can do that, too!" And so I expect we'll soon be seeing the logical end-point of Clintonism: the greatness bestowed by rising above political calculation imitated in the service of sheer political calculation (along with, no doubt, the attempt to drag that genuine greatness back down into the mud).