"Be careful what you wish for, Rush"

Notwithstanding Tuzla-gate and all the other problems that the Hillary Clinton campaign has faced, I think that that the extended primary campaign is making Senator Clinton into a stronger, more appealing candidate.

Not unlike John McCain, she is more likeable as a scrappy fighter against a wealthier opponent than she is as the front-runner. Similarly, she is demonstrating toughness, resilience, and ability to adapt to unforeseen circumstances--good traits for a commander in chief.

Now, with bitter-gate dominating the political news, Senator Clinton has found perfect pitch. Check out this video of her speech in Valparaiso, Indiana. If the spirits of Franklin Roosevelt or Hubert Humphrey were brought back to earth, and didn't know any of the facts of the 2008 campaign, and were allowed to watch Senator Clinton's Valparaiso speech, I suggest that they would exclaim, "That's my kind of Democrat!" The politics of can-do optimism and not of bitterness; appreciation for the religious character of small-town America; affirmation of the Second Amendment and the rite of passing the tradition of responsible participation in the shooting sports from one generation to the next.

Yes, I know that Senator Clinton's prior record is not exactly consistent with her Valparaiso speech, particulary in regard to Second Amendment issues.

Still...every good American should want both of our major political parties to be patriotic parties: to believe that in every year of American history, there have been many reasons to be proud of America, notwithstanding its flaws; to believe that Americans are the masters of their fate and not the victims of economic determinism; and to see the American people not as "bitter" or "mean" but as hard-working, decent, and good.

Even if you believe Senator Clinton's speech entirely hypocritical (I consider it to be partially but not entirely so), "hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue." Senator Clinton's Valparaiso speech moves the party a step closer to its virtuous traditions.

The Real Clear Politics polling averages already suggest that if the election were held today, Senator Clinton would beat Senator McCain in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and that Senator Obama would lose both of those states to Senator McCain. You've got to go back to 1960 to find a candidate who won the general election while losing Ohio, and in 2008 it would be very tough to defeat a candidate who won both Ohio and Pennsylvania. Senator Clinton is effectively using bitter-gate not only to improve her already-solid chances of winning the Pennsylvania primary, but to strengthen her general election message as a traditional Democrat who embraces the best of America's past, present, and future.