Hillary is not the Queen

[by David S. Bernstein] 

The cover of one New York tabloid blared “It’s Her Party” on the cover this morning, and the accompanying photo was of Hillary Clinton, not Nancy Pelosi. That was an outlier, even in NYC. Newsday put Pelosi on its cover with the words “It’s her House.” The Post said “Dems Clean House,” and relegated Clinton to a minor “Hill & Eliot Win” subhead.

The national nature of the election was bad luck for Hillary, on a night she certainly wanted to use as a launching pad for her expected ’08 Presidential run. She had an impressive night. It’s one thing to swoop in and use your husband’s popularity to win election the first time; it’s quite another to win re-election six years later -- by a nearly four-to-one landslide vote.

Her huge victory seals her bona fides as a Presidential candidate in her own right, and she gave a solid victory speech with big national themes; her catch-phrase is “a new course,” which nicely captures the current political mood of the nation. (And, at least to my ears, beats Barack Obama’s “Audacity of Hope,” and is certainly worlds better than John Kerry’s “…You get stuck in Iraq.”)

But the national spotlight proved elusive last night for Clinton -- although both MSNBC and CNN stayed with her when Joe “Party of One” Lieberman started his speech right in the middle of hers. The most common analysis of her speech, however, ran along the lines of: “I couldn’t take my eyes off of Bill, and that’s going to be a problem for her.” Meanwhile, Obama’s TV presence was so ubiquitous I expected to see him twirling across Dancing With the Stars. And for the forseeable future, the face of the Democratic Party -- the Sun’s opinion notwithstanding -- is undeniably Madame Speaker Pelosi’s.

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