It's a horrible prospect to ask yourself, 'What if? What if?' But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world," she said.Of course, her Democratic opponents exploit this opportunity to attack her. The bland Senator Dodd said it was "tasteless." Senator Edwards calculated that the best thing to say is that we should never engage in "political calculation" when the subject is terrorism. They're concerned about America's vulnerability to attack, but they are also concerned with their own vulnerability to attack. They must realize that Clinton would be the stronger candidate for the Democratic Party if a terrorist attack occurs before the election. Since the party will have determined its nominee long before the election, there are many months when something might happen, and yet it will be too late to switch to a more hawkish nominee.
"So I think I'm the best of the Democrats to deal with that as well," she concluded.
It's not really a question of whether it's calculating or in bad taste to talk about how a terrorist attack might affect the race. It's a question of which candidates see political advantage in asking voters to visualize the election under changed circumstances and which ones would like to soothe us into thinking only in terms of existing conditions. Clinton is prodding us to think about what a good candidate she will be in different situations that may develop over the lengthy campaign season. The others don't want to talk about that because they look worse in these imagined scenarios.
So here we see how Clinton has played a shrewder, more complex game all along. Doesn't this suggest not only that she will be a more capable candidate, but also that she will operate more effectively in foreign affairs if she becomes President? In this view, fretting about taste and calculation seems rather childish. I want a President who can calculate and is not afraid to say tough things at the right time.