Friday, February 8, 2008

To Bill, or not to Bill?

I've been listening to the CNN team talk about the impact of Bill Clinton on the Democratic Primary race, and reading articles in the New York Times dealing with his own analysis of his impact. Clinton acknowledges his role in the loss of South Carolina, although he falls short of owning up to the divisive racial undertones of his rhetoric. His defense of Hillary Clinton operates publicly at the level of former president more than it does as supporting husband, according to him. He can support but not defend. I think that's a cop out but it's almost beside the point.

I like Bill Clinton. His years in office were good years either as a result of his leadership or by blind luck in some cases, but our standing abroad was great and the economy boomed. That said, part of his legacy will always be Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky. Both of those scandals were real, but were largely unimportant to his role as the president of the United States. The impact of those scandals would have been limited to historical footnotes had the Republican machine not latched onto them and run them into the forefront of mass media coverage for years on end. The legacy of the Clinton administration will be remembered as much for the Republican smear campaigns as they will for the successes of our nation under his leadership.

Why is this important now? It's important because this legacy will become the potential undoing of the Democratic Party's run at the presidency if it's not careful. It's inevitable that the GOP will smear Hillary Clinton throughout the general election if she wins the nomination. They will drag out the Whitewater situation, Monica Lewinsky, and anything else they can get their hands on. They want to dredge up the past in order to shape the future. It will work too. The worst thing that the Clinton campaign can do is have Bill out on the ground. Yes, he raises a lot of money. Yes, he's very popular. Yes, he's a popular former president. The problem is, people hate him. People remember the scandals. People remember the embarrassment. It worked to get George W. Bush elected over a standing Vice President in a booming economy.

Already, a number of knuckleheads in the mass media have questioned whether Bill Clinton will be seeking a 3rd term in office as his wife runs for the presidency. That's BS GOP talking point garbage, but it's real. The perception is there. It's easy to pull out that card and have it stick with enough people to make a difference. The more Bill Clinton is on the campaign trail, the more the GOP can help people remember the scandals they helped to create. The more he's out there, the greater the perception that we will be electing a presidential couple, rather than a highly qualified and effective candidate in Hillary Clinton. To that end, I think Bill should go on vacation somewhere outside the United States, stay out of view, and let the campaign take it's shape.

It won't happen. He loves the cameras and the spotlight, and frankly they need the money enough that he's got to be out there drumming up donations. If I were advising that campaign, however, I'd have him out of the camera's view as much as possible. I'll say it again. I like Bill Clinton. I will vote happily for Hillary Clinton if she's nominated, but there is a part of me that feels like we'll be in for another 4-8 years of GOP smear campaigns. The country doesn't need that. I cringe at the thought of it to be honest. If there weren't another viable candidate opposing McCain, I'd do my best to leave those worries in the background and go full speed ahead for Hillary. There is another candidate.....Barack Obama.

This is not a post designed to boost Obama, although you know I'm on his bandwagon. I think we've seen 12 years of Bush, Sr. in the White House as VP and President. We've seen his son for 8 years. We saw 8 years of Bill Clinton and we could potentially see another 4-8. Assuming Hillary wins and is re-elected, we could see the same two families at the reigns of power for 36 years!!!!!!!! America needs a hot shower and a big change. Obama is that clean start and offers a transformative change. That's how I made my decision to support him, beyond the truly uplifting spirit of his movement. That's why I feel that another Clinton administration, while a positive step in the right direction, is actually no better than a lateral move to the recent past.

1 comment:

mike's spot said...

Just a note about the Clinton's' if you look at their track record on speeches, they are some of the most unconstitutional people you'll every run across. Both of them are strong proponents of pulling in on the Bill of Rights, and limiting the rights of the average citizen.

here's a few of my favorite clintonisms.

[the United States] can't be so fixed on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans..." -- President William Clinton, March 1, 1993 during a press conference in Piscataway, NJ source: Boston Globe, 3/2/93, page 3

"You know the one thing that's wrong with this country? Everyone gets a chance to have their fair say." -- President William Clinton addressing the people of Philadelphia, May 28, 1993 in the Courtyard, City Hall, Philadelphia, PA

"I can't worry about every under-capatilized business" -- Hillary Clinton testifying before congress on the effects of Nationalized Health Care.

President Bill Clinton on the Constitution: "When we got organized as a country and we wrote a fairly radical Constitution with a radical Bill of Rights, giving a radical amount of individual freedom to Americans ..." "And so a lot of people say there's too much personal freedom. When personal freedom's being abused, you have to move to limit it. That's what we did in the announcement I made last weekend on the public housing projects, about how we're going to have weapon sweeps and more things like that to try to make people safer in their communities." -- President Bill Clinton, 3-22-94, MTV's "Enough is Enough"

"I wish we could give people more control over their lives, not less." --- Bill Clinton

"...unfortunately we can't control the actions of everyone." --- Bill Clinton 1993-04-20