After Bill Clinton's Missoula visit this week, I heard one Hillary Clinton supporter describe Barack Obama's apparent march to the nomination as a triumph of emotion over intellect--that voters are making their choice with their hearts instead of their heads. Translation: Hillary has the intellect, experience, competence and guts to make a very good president. But America wants to be inspired and is willing to take a chance on someone whose credentials and policy positions aren't quite as impressive.
I've also read a lot during this campaign about how race and gender are impacting the Democrats' race for the nomination. It's dangerous to read too much into primary election results, but I now believe that Obama's triumph means that Democratic voters--by a narrow margin--are saying that healing racial divisions is more important than healing those between men and women. In other words, we need a minority president more than we need a female president. Obama already has broad support among African-American and Native Americans. If he can make that idea resonate among Hispanics, Asian-Americans and Arab-Americans, he could get the mandate he needs.