...exactly what people think of her. Which is why, when asked by her own canvassers--according to a story by Jeff Zeleny and Katharine Q. Seelye in the New York Times--"what they should tell voters on her behalf," she answered, "Oh, just knock on the door and say, 'She is really nice'." "Or you could say, 'She is not as bad as you think'." Hillary really knows that people don't like her. "I am not as bad as you think."

Imagine going through life knowing people think you are... well, what do they really think of her? That she is haughty, that she is a know-it-all, that she is nasty, self-centered, self-righteous, unkind--no--actually mean, holier-than-thou, pompous, entitled, presumptuous, abusive... and I have not yet consulted Roget's. I can grasp that, if you've lived life knowing that's how your contemporaries, neighbors, even friends feel about you, you must be unhappy. And only someone so unhappy would rely on getting the nomination and winning the election to secure some semblance of happiness and satisfaction. In this sense (and in others, I believe, like having an "enemies list") she seems to me very much like Richard Milhous Nixon. People like that need desperately to add to their heft with a middle name: Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Well, she is as bad as you may think. (Why did the censorious green underlining show up on my screen right under "as bad as you?") My proof:

Hillary as at the tail-end of the Pennsylvania primary campaign put out a TV spot that is the logical conclusion of her hopeless effort against Obama. Or, as Zeleny and Seelye report, "After a weekend of sharp exchanges, the Clinton campaign began airing a new television commercial featuring images of Osama bin Laden and the attack on Pearl Harbor, and closing with a terse question: 'Who do you think has what it takes?' "

Frankly, just because a politician can be mean to opponents does not mean that she or he can be decisive or even effective against enemies of the nation. And, indeed, when Osama and other terrorists came calling on his first visit to the World Trade Center in 1993, or to the Khobar Towers, or with bombs at the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, or with an assault on the USS Cole, killing hundreds and hundreds, President Clinton (under whom she ostensibly has been trained) and all his men and women flopped the test. Many of them are now Hillary's advisers. And especially: Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger, an unsuccessful petty filcher.

And, in any case, with this shabby record, why would anyone claim to have been prepared by its codes and operatives?