In case you missed it, the Hillary Clinton campaign completed one of the most brilliant plays of the cycle this past Monday night.
Clinton appeared, along with Obama and Edwards, at a forum sponsored by “the liberal Sojourners/Call to Action” evangelical organization. Stop right there, because that’s half of the strategy: there’s now a liberal evangelical group, conveniently positioned to get Democratic candidates’ faith out in public.
So Clinton knew that at this novel forum she had a chance to make real news. And make news she did: she confessed that only her deep religious faith got her through her husband’s infidelity.
Hillary knew, of course, that even the most glancing reference to the blue dress would steal the headline.
So why go there?
Because at a stroke Hillary’s confession converted the seamy details of the Clinton adultery story into a story about religion. Cigars, thongs, stained dresses from the Gap — those lurid elements now suggest their moral opposites.
Suddenly any mention of Monica becomes, ipso facto, a mention of Hillary’s faith.
Call it political transubstantiation. A miracle, of sorts.
Anyone who thinks the Clinton camp hasn’t got some folks with some big brains isn’t paying strict attention. She may not win the nomination, but if she doesn’t it won’t be because her people thought too little about the facts at hand.