There appears to be a sense of optimism among some Americans – and fatalism in others – that Hillary Clinton is destined to become

the next President of the United States; no matter what. The talk show hosts say it is so, the media says it is so; so it must be so. I’m not so sure. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt from the US Presidential elections of 2000 and 2004, it’s that it is not the guys who write editorials and reasoned letters to the editor, who necessarily elect an American President. One reason could be that many of these folks don’t bother to actually get out there and vote. Sure, they believe that George Bush is the worst disaster to befall their country since Dan Quayle, but does that really count in an election? I am convinced that a majority of Americans are a lot smarter than the Jaywalkers on the Tonight show, but they would not exactly qualify as intellectuals either. Esoteric qualities like political acumen and high-brow oratory don’t mean much to them. They prefer to stick to the basics, like a steady job, affordable health care; and the World Series. According to an excellent recent article by David Brooks in the New York Times, American voters are generally happy with their own lives. More that three quarters of them say they are satisfied with their jobs and family incomes. Their homes are bigger, they own more cars; and they feel more affluent. Also, two thirds expect their situation to get better over the next five years. More importantly, very few of them believe their optimism is dependant on Hillary Clinton becoming their next President. Sure, many Americans are disillusioned with George Bush but, equally so, with the Democratic-controlled Congress. As many as eighty per cent believe the Congress has accomplished nothing. This leaves many Americans in a quandary. They want a change, but they don’t want a change that will upset their present way of life. In short then, many Americans are pretty satisfied with the state of their personal lives, though they do not necessarily believe the Republicans can take credit for that. In fact, according to Brooks, they want a government that will stay out of the intimate realms of their lives. There is another factor, of which I got a personal taste recently, while staying with some friends in Southern California. The religious Right may be dismissed as a lunatic fringe by some liberals and intellectuals, but I believe they are a very potent force. The family I stayed with are Baptists and, after talking to them and meeting their friends, it soon became clear that they set an enormous value on adherence to Christian fundamentals and their concept of moral righteousness. This led them to reject outright any candidate they felt did not meet these attributes; no matter how politically qualified they may be – read Hillary Clinton and many of the Democratic candidates. And remember, this was in “liberal’ California. I can make an informed guess about what attitudes must be like in the so-called Bible Belt states. As I write this, I just read that Hillary Clinton got quite badly mauled by Obama and Edwards in the latest Presidential debate, but I don’t think she has to worry much about them. I think they know it too; and all this grandstanding is merely laying the groundwork for, hopefully, 2012 but, more realistically, 2016. What Hillary has to be concerned with is the masses in the vast American hinterland; who aren’t her kind of people at all. They don’t watch debates; they aren’t impressed by her huge treasure chest; nor are they influenced by the television ads – assuming they even bother to watch them. They have a pretty clear notion about the type of person they want as their next President – and Hillary does not fit the bill. And they are the folks who will quietly get out there on election day; and put their ballots where the Liberals’ mouths are.

If was Hillary, I wouldn’t make plans for redecorating the Oval Office just yet.