One of the few downsides of the defeat of John Kerry was that it might have deprived us of a Hillary run for the White House (if I thought she could actually win, I wouldn’t be salivating at the idea).

The theory behind the Hillary decline was that the Dems wouldn’t be able to run another blue-state liberal. They’d have to go out and find somebody with a blue state mind in a red-state package.

But Peggy Noonan takes a look at Hillary in today’s Wall Street Journal and finds that Hillary is positioning herself for a run by adopting some ideas that are appealing to people outside the coastal blue bands.

Noonan notes that Hillary is positioning herself to the right of George W. Bush on several issues. Why is she doing this?

“Three reasons,” writes Noonan. “The first is that she knows another attack on American soil is inevitable and wants to position herself politically as The Wise One Who Warned Us.

“Second, she knows that a woman perceived as a liberal has no chance at winning the presidency while a woman perceived as a tough, pragmatic moderate does. So she is tough where Mr. Compassionate Conservative is soft (immigration), or is vulnerable, after a coming attack, to charges that he was soft (homeland security). She can’t lose on this one. Security can always be better, and after America is attacked again anger and finger pointing will be widespread.

“Third, Mrs. Clinton knows the Democratic Party as a whole is to the left of the electorate. She is used to this. It is the story of her life. The electorate in Arkansas were always more moderate than Gov. and Mrs. Clinton, and President and Mrs. Clinton for that matter. She knows how to operate in such conditions. She does not intend to go down in flames as a leftist when she runs for president. This will take guile. She has guile.”

One of John Kerry’s shortcomings was his inability to speak convincingly about his religious faith (this is hard to do when you are at odds with your church on major issues). Those rascally Clintons have no trouble talking about their faith.

“[Hillary]is about to get very spiritual,” writes Noonan. “She knows it’s not enough to run around quoting scripture on the stump, as John Kerry did. On the other hand she cannot speak as Bush did of Christ as the center of her life because that would not be credible: She has never spoken that way and strikes no one as born again.
“But she can go about it in her own way. She will begin giving interviews in which she speaks of the importance of the teachings of Christ in her thinking about policy issues. She will also begin to emphasize as never before her Methodist youth, and her hometown pastor’s emphasis on public service. Something tells me a big black Bible is being put on a coffee table in her office even as I type. And there will also suddenly be more media availabilities after Sunday church service.

“Always remember what Bill Clinton did after he lost re-election to the governorship in 1980. He joined the choir in the only local church whose services were broadcast on television throughout Arkansas every Sunday morning. You could turn in every Sunday and see him in his robe, with his music book, singing spirituals.”