Dowd has a column in today's NYT entitled "The Hillary Waltz" in which she exhorts us to accept Hillary's tough campaign as a kind of crucible for Obama. After seeing Obama give an amazing speech in the wake of the Reverend Wright flap, I have to say I continue to be surprised at hoe events in a camopaign unfold.
My concern about the length of this Democratic nomination process has started to be about giving the party time to organize before the convention. But when I look at the ride Obama's had, it looks to me like he's improving as a candidate. And that can only mean good things when he eventually faces McCain, as I expect will eventually happen.
True, McCain has had some political cover during this time, because of the attention on the Democrats. But polls now and gaffs now don't matter much. McCain is already the nominee for the Republicans, so he's not going to disappear after a couple of gaffes. Mistakes are more critical during the endgame of the campaign, which is another reason why airing "dirty laundry" is best done now than later.
Of course, there is the important question of whether Democrats will be united behind their eventual nominee. I think that depends a lot on the runner up.
Democrats getting jittery about the alienating effects of the endless soap opera they call their campaign should buck up. These "hand-wringers," as the Hillary strategist Harold Ickes calls them, are not seeing the larger picture. [...]
One of the most valuable lessons the gritty Hillary can teach the languid Obama - and the timid Democrats - is that the whole point of a presidential race is to win.
It's not to share power, or force the squabbling couple into an arranged marriage. The winner wins, even if it's only by a fraction of a percentage point or one Supreme Court justice. Winning has no margin of error, as the Democrats should have learned by now. And the winner gets to decide his or her running mate.
Perhaps the problem is just that. For those of us on the sidelines, many of us would just like to see an end to the Bush legacy. Despite McCain's attempts to distance himself from the president on things that are barely on this year's issue radar screen, McCain will be a third term of Bushhit when it comes to things that are most important. And we're worried about all of the Republican chops-licking over a Hillary nomination. And some of us are just plain worried that the Democratic party may not be what we hope it could be with Hillary in the lead.
All this makes some of us pretty damn nervous. Winning has no margin of error, so forgive us a little hand wringing over here. We're looking down the barrel of another four years of ulcers. Isn't that worth a little emotion? But I do appreciate the reassurances. And I hope she is correct.