For those who can’t wait for 2008, an important prerequisite for the presidential race to start took place this week in Buffalo, N.Y., when America’s second-most fascinating politician accepted her party’s unanimous nomination for a second term in the U.S. Senate.

Hillary Clinton completed another step in her truly improbable saga. Today she is taken for granted as a fixture in American politics. Recall that just six years ago, the first lady of a sitting president, with her roots in Illinois and Arkansas, moved to New York, a state where she had never lived, a state with an abundance of its own outsized politicians, and through skill, savvy, relentless hard work and luck was handily elected senator.

She swept to the nomination despite a critical difference with her admiring supporters. She supports the Iraq war. The delegates don’t and, moreover, voted for a resolution demanding immediate withdrawal.

Clinton’s acceptance speech, political observers noted, focused on national rather than state issues and called on the electorate to reclaim America from President Bush and the Republicans.

Now, as a prelude to a possible presidential bid, all she has to do is win re-election in New York, preferably while running well in Republican areas and ahead of her percentage of the vote in 2000. That shouldn’t be too difficult.

The badly divided Republicans have been unable to unite behind a candidate, and although Clinton might face a primary challenge it would be from a Democrat whose name the convention didn’t even bother nominating.

Meanwhile, the most fascinating politician basked in a standing ovation, was mobbed by well-wishers and worked the room even after the Senate candidate had left. That would be, of course, her husband Bill Clinton.

(Contact Dale McFeatters at McFeattersD(at)