Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) is shocked, shocked, that race has been injected into the presidential campaign, though not by her, of course. The First Couple who used Sister Souljah so skillfully as a prop, who reveled in the poet Toni Morrison’s description of President Bill as the first black president, who questioned the racial sensitivities of anyone who spoke in opposition to racial quotas or welfare reform — that First Couple is shocked that her opponent has injected race into the campaign. Oh, and should we mention that Clintonistas Billy Shaheen, Mark Penn and mega-bucks Robert Johnson continue to spread scurrilous and totally unsubstantiated rumors about Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.)?

Maybe it is unfair that the race card is being used against the Clintons. It’s just a little hard to feel sorry for two people who have benefited from its use so often in the past.

On Iraq, the junior senator from New York has a truly innovative explanation for the success of the surge. Recall that she has spoken out against it again and again and predicted its failure on numerous occasions. Faced with overwhelming evidence that the surge is indeed working as intended, Sen. Clinton credits, not President Bush, not Gen. Petraeus, not the soldiers themselves, but, drum roll please, she credits HERSELF. She told a slightly incredulous Tim Russert that it wasn’t until SHE started running for president that the Iraqi government finally got serious about reconciliation because it knew that SHE would begin withdrawing American troops immediately upon her election.

Only the narcissism of baby boomers Bill and Hillary could possibly conclude that the progress in Iraq has anything to do with THEM.

For the record, what is really happening is that the stabilization of the military situation in Iraq has provided the breathing space necessary for the Iraqi government to begin the process of reconciliation, which began in Anbar province and is now moving forward nationally. Sunnis are turning against the murderous al Qaeda thugs because they know the U.S. is finally serious about security.

The No. 1 goal for the next president is to ensure that progress toward the establishment of a stable, non-terrorist Iraqi government continues. All political rhetoric aside, that would be in the best interests of the United States and a big step forward in the war against global terrorism.