Mrs. Clinton offered a revealing answer when asked recently whether Republicans might be hoping that she becomes the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008, since it would give the G.O.P. a divisive figure to run against.She might be onto something. No really! See, there are a lot of theories on why Bush won in 2004, but one plausible theory holds that liberals whipped themselves up into such an anti-Bush frenzy that they couldn't actually put forward a positive progressive agenda. As Andrew Sullivan likes to say, Bush-hatred only helped Bush. In an evenly divided political landscape -- and in an age where, as Jon Chait says, personality matters more than policy -- running as a polarizing figure may well be an advantage insofar as it turns your opponents into raving lunatics. Clinton herself saw that in the 1998 midterms, when Republican anti-Clintonism turned so frothy that the GOP lost a good deal of credibility -- and a good deal of seats.
Mrs. Clinton - who studiously avoids answering questions about her presidential ambitions - quickly responded. "We have a president who is quite polarizing - and very successful, I might add," Mrs. Clinton said during an appearance on NBC's "Today."