To me the Hillary Healthcare roll-out was one of the most interesting moments in politics we have witnessed in a long while. While the plan would please the Democratic base, of course, it was also designed as yet another introduction of the general election candidate. Fittingly, her policy, as well as its introduction, were carefully built to withstand GOP criticism and to avoid Republican traps.

It is Sen. Hillary Clinton and not George W. Bush who has best mastered Karl Rove's trademark political tactic of turning one's weakness into a strength, always to choose offense over defense. At the introduction of her first healthcare reform proposal since her 1993 plan turned into a political debacle of historic proportions for her then-president husband, Clinton took great pains to recall repeatedly that failure and show how much she has changed.

But wait, she also released an ad about it in New Hampshire and Iowa recalling failure as success — "She changed our way of thinking when she introduced universal healthcare to America," the ad said. It's staggering enough to make even Rove himself fall out of his chair.

As for her opponents, they blasted her but not so much her proposal. John Edwards actually thinks the plan is a good copy of his. Mitt Romney should have tried taking this route instead of calling it "European-style" socialized medicine when he passed something similar in Massachusetts as governor, a plan requiring people to have health insurance. Good one, Mitt. Finally, Clinton's plan won praise from David Brooks, and who else does she need? She isn't trying to get the Heritage Foundation endorsement.

Because her plan doesn't mandate "alliances" or force those satisfied with their coverage into something they don't like, Clinton escapes the labels attached to her 14 years ago. But her credentials as an expert, combined with the outcry throughout the United States for reform of our healthcare system, makes this issue a huge asset for her should she become the nominee. In fact, anyone hoping to be the GOP nominee better make sure he draws up a healthcare plan of his own before taking on Hillary Clinton.


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