Few people have paid notice to the inexplicable absence of Senator Hillary Clinton from the Democratic victory party on Capitol Hill this past week, not to mention the huge media bonanza surrounding the Bush bashing in the committee rooms. I couldn't help but ask myself all week, does she know something everybody else doesn't? Then it occurred to me, she doesn't, but s/he undoubtedly does. So soon we all forget that as an ex-president, Bubba is entitled to complete intelligence briefings everyday, thus making him much more informed than every single member of Congress, except maybe his wife, whom I assume he keeps fully updated so she doesn't say anything stupid.
Hillary had the sense to hightail it out of town when her colleagues stayed to not just grandstand Bill maybe tipping her in on what he is hearing in his daily intelligence briefings. What if she, or more likely he, has read the report? What if s/he is the only senator who has, other than McCain and Lieberman, actually read the report. I suppose that they may have by now, but I doubt they had when they turned up the lights on Thursday morning. Clinton is headed for a photo-op on the front lines, making brief day trips to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, just so she can get back to make a splash on Tuesday. Most likely, she is trying desperately to meet the challenges put forth by Bush Administration officials, Senator John McCain and the entire Fox News crew, which asks the simple question, "Do you have an alternative that is more than rhetoric?" She would be the first to do so, but any major proposals at this point aren't likely to be detailed enough to make much of an impact on the overall debate, but I can guarantee it will be fully vetted and weighed on its merits, which is more respect than Bush and his backers have received from the media thus far.
She has already reignited her previous campaign to send more troops into Afghanistan while in war torn country. These calls are echoed by NATO, and are being spearheaded threw Brussels on the backs of the German Chancellor and the British Prime Minister. One certainty of a Hillary presidency, just as Bush may have been thinking about his father's decision (mistake) to leave Saddam in power, Hillary will stop at no lengths to eradicate Osama bin-Laden and his entourage in the mountains Asia Minor, even if it involves ruffling the feathers of the Pakistanis or the international community. In the words of the recently infamous Sasha Cohen- "Respect"- at least on this position.
Besides the perks of being the former-leader of the free world, Bill Clinton also doubles as a brilliant chameleon with the uncanny ability to gage the swings in the mood of the American voters (which are far more important than the rest of you). Even if s/he doesn't think that Bush's plan is worth giving some time to see how it plays in Iraq (as it appears s/he doesn't), she will be able to go through her tour and come back with the most credible argument against the "surge", particularly since her colleagues have all gone on the record and established positions in the media. My guess is she will probably talk out of both sides of her mouth very effectively, knowing that she is must regain some of the anti-war, bring the troops home crowd if she is going to compete in the primary, but she also needs to avoid turning off too many soccer moms who associate her with thoughts of Barbara Boxer or Nancy Pelosi, who rarely put much thought into the words they speak, but try their best (which is shameful) to emulate the Hillary-style of empowered female progressive.
It is amazing, nobody has seen it yet, but I have. They are all talking about the Democratic swing and they are going to come out of this week looking like amateurish, uninformed pontificators. So much for their hundred hours, most of the legislation they have passed through this week was poorly scripted as a consequence of insufficient oversight and debate. So far Hillary has avoided the limelight and let her competition dictate the debate, but she will have credibility and her husband's security clearance to her advantage. Things are looking good for the Senator from New York, but we still have a long way to go...