If Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, you can be sure that even before the balloons hit the floor at the close of the Democratic National Convention this August in Denver she will make a mad dash to the Right in the general election.
She will face a ferocious right-wing backlash and a Republican Party energized and unified against her as no other candidate could provoke, while the Democratic Party base will be complacent and lukewarm.
The GOP ticket will beat the war drums, bash gays, lesbians, and immigrants, and remind everyone what a terribly dangerous world we live in. Mike Huckabee's folksy populism would be a perfect palliative to John McCain's inside-the-Beltway stodginess. McCain will be hunting in Ohio with NRA enthusiasts and Huckabee will be playing bass guitar in Colorado and Florida while he tours the NASCAR circuit with Chuck Norris.
This Republican display will lead Hillary Clinton to begin sharing cookie recipes with mythological "security moms," and maybe even don camo to go duck hunting for the TV cameras as John Kerry did in 2004. She might also send her husband Bill out on a good will tour with his buddy George Herbert Walker Bush to spread the gospel of "bipartisanship," and remind high-rolling voters how Rubinomics was so great for Wall Street in the 1990s.
When Hillary Clinton sprints to the Right in the general election we might hear rhetoric similar to George W. Bush's speeches back in 2000. In his convention acceptance speech, Texas Governor George W. Bush touchingly spoke of:
"single moms struggling to feed their kids and pay the rent. Immigrants starting a hard life in a new world. Children without fathers in neighborhoods where gangs seem like friendship. . . . We are their country, too. . . . When these problems aren't confronted, it builds a wall within our nation. On one side are wealth and technology, education and ambition. On the other side of the wall are poverty and prison, addiction and despair. And, my fellow Americans, we must tear down that wall."
During the 2008 election campaign I'll bet you that both Hillary Clinton and John McCain sound a lot like George W. Bush did circa 2000. McCain will feign like he cares about women and children and tone down his warmongering, while the conservative "Independent Women's Forum" will ravage Ms. Clinton with attacks that will make the Swift Boaters look like pacifists.
The GOP Right will be sure to put a female face on their smear machine against Hillary Clinton. Peggy Noonan, Kate O'Beirne, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Phylis Schlafly, Janet Parshall, Mona Charen, Laura Ingraham, Monica Crowley, Camille Paglia, and dozens of their far-right sisters have been waiting for this election for years. These right-wing women and their associated organizations will launch a frontal assault on Hillary Clinton the likes of which the country has not seen since anti-feminist women killed the Equal Rights Amendment in the late 1970s.
If the Democratic Party machine succeeds in nominating Hillary Clinton I hope its leaders and consultants are prepared for the onslaught from right-wing women who will do everything in their power to demean and silence the female voice in our politics even as history could be made with the first woman president. Ms. Clinton will need to match them unapologetically, woman for woman, with pro-choice feminist voices or she's going to be eaten alive.