David vs. Goliath

This has been what the story was all about, the rest of the candidates merely just supporting cast.  Biden, Dodd, Richardson, Kucinich, Gravel, even Edwards, all of them were just recurring characters compared to the two stars of the piece; Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Bill Clinton.

Nor, has my first assertion yet to be proven wrong, the reason why I was initially opposed to the Clinton campaign when she first announced.  That being that her run is essentially a vanity run, a “it’s my turn now” run, and one that is fixed with a tragic fate.  It is not enough that Hillary Clinton is meant to lose, but before she does so, the greatest tragedy is that she would knock out other candidates, better candidates.  These candidates might be better qualified to be president such as Biden, Dodd, and Richardson, or they may be at least pure enough in their ideology like Gravel and Kucinich, or they may just be better suited to win the General Election like Obama or Edwards, but Clinton’s blinders prevent her from seeing any of this.

It’s her turn, everything else be damned.

And so she entered the melee a giant, and not just a giant but a giant perched atop an even greater giant; the only Democratic president in almost three decades, a two termer who left office with high approval ratings.  The not so secret weapon of Hillary Clinton has been her husband, a man that has enjoyed a great deal of respect among Democratic circles.

I don’t think Barack was ever supposed to last this long.  I believe he was supposed to fade away, perhaps make strong showings in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, but after having lost all three, he would drop out, support the front runner, and maybe even agree to be the running mate.  But that’s not what happened, and a win in Iowa and strong indicators that he’ll win in South Carolina have changed the script entirely.

Which led to the entrance of Bill Clinton into the arena, a move not unlike dropping a nuke on a people who have yet to figure that electricity thing yet.  In a battle of politics and ideas alone, Barack Obama has a fair fight against Hillary.  Throw in the organizational heft and support that she inherited from her husband, and it’s heavily skewed in Hillary’s favor.  Now add the actual face of the Democratic movement of the 90’s, the man who embodies political success amid a party that has remained stagnant for some times in many venues, and the unlikely underdog finds himself pitted between Scylla and Charybdis.

He can ignore Bill’s attacks, a move that is not without political merit as it would prevent him as being seen getting into it with one of the more highly regarded members of the party, or he can defend himself.  Unfortunately, both options carry with them terrible political consequences.  On the one hand, not only do letting the attacks go unchallenged allow more of them to stick, but it also portrays Obama as weak and unwilling to fight.  On the other hand, if he should choose to defend himself, he finds himself waging war not only against one of the more popular political figures of the party, but in a way, the party itself.

There is no safe ground.

This may seem like political brilliance, and on the surface it is.  That would be why, despite prominent leaders of the party beseeching Bill to back off, the Clinton campaign has decided to carry on; the math works out in their favor.  But this is no more brilliance at work than watching a military super power turn a third world nation into a glass parking lot, or a school yard bully and his gang pounding some bookworm for his milk money.  It’s not political shrewdness; it’s political thuggery.

It is merely asking Obama how he wants to lose the election, as a wimp, or as someone attacking a former Democratic president?  Obama is choosing the latter.

This is not, might I add, a winning strategy.  As Carrie Brown aptly points out, the Clinton’s most likely have the math on this just right and pitting Barack Obama against Bill Clinton, not Hillary Clinton, will put the Illinois Senator in his place.  Obama will win South Carolina, but he won’t win enough to even ensure a brokered convention, not against Bill.

And the plan will likely work, and Hillary will be the nominee.  But that is where the rest of my prophecy sees itself fulfilled.

In the Republican contest, John McCain is becoming more prominent than ever.  He won the state that knocked him out of the race in 2000, and with two prominent primaries under his belt, his stock is soaring.  Also, too, comes Mitt Romney, someone with three primaries under his belt and a political tenacity that is to be admired.

For McCain, who has always garnered much of his support from independents and Democrats, it’s not difficult to see how he could make a successful bid for the White House.  As for Mitt, if you don’t think he can do it, you’re underestimating him.  From the first time I watched him in the debates, I knew he had the political acumen to be a true General Election threat, and a history of a somewhat socially liberal past grants him a perfect springboard to drive back to the middle after the nominating process.

And in a contest against Hillary Clinton, you can bet your last dollars that Republicans will come out in droves to vote for either of them.

But losing an election is not the only risk that Clinton runs; far from it.  She also risks breaking the party.  There are an awful lot of Obama Democrats out there, and many of them I’m sure are not fond of Clinton in the first place.  This is to be expected, and in a party of ideas where people disagree, this confrontation alone is not so damaging that there can’t be reparations afterward.

But when Bill Clinton attacks Obama as though he were no different than Rudy Giuliani or Mitt Romney, to show the ugliest side to one’s own, that’s a deal breaker.

The fact of the matter is simply this; Hillary has a strong base of support within the party, but she doesn’t outside of it.  Independents and Republicans are not going to flock to her in the General Election, and by bloodying up her number one opponent so badly in the primaries, I think she can expect a good portion of the Democratic party to abandon her as well.

It’s a terrible thing to watch; all this distruction Clinton is willing to wage on her own party just because it’s her turn.

6 Responses to “David vs. Goliath”

  1. Snuffysmith says:

    The Weekly Standard might tend to agree with you by highlighting a further disadvantage: See this article:

    The Bubba Factor: Obama is at a disadvantage by Fred Barnes

    The Weekly Standard

    The Bubba Factor
    Obama is at a disadvantage.
    by Fred Barnes
    01/20/2008 10:12:00 PM

    IT TOOK A WHILE–for the duration of the Iowa campaign, to be exact–but the Clintons have figured out the most productive way to use former President Bill Clinton in Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Their division of labor is very simple: he criticizes Barack Obama while she mostly stays positive. It worked in New Hampshire and again in Nevada.

    What didn’t work was having Bill campaign with Hillary, speaking before his wife at events and introducing her. That was tried earlier in Iowa and of course she lost the caucuses there in what feels like an eternity ago but was actually only three weeks ago. At joint events, he overshadowed her and spent much of his time talking about himself. This prompted a newspaper cartoon with a tiny Hillary standing on the shoulder of a huge Bill. Now they appear separately.

    And they seem to understand Bill’s unique value in the campaign. As an ex-president he can command extensive media attention. What he says gets widespread coverage. In effect, he has a megaphone as big as his wife’s, maybe bigger. No other presidential candidate has a surrogate like Bill Clinton. Obama certainly doesn’t.

    When every candidate except Hillary wants to put out unfavorable information about an opponent and be sure to draw heavy press coverage, the candidate himself must handle the task. And there’s a downside: the candidate is deplored for “going negative.” But if an aide or supporter is assigned the task, the media is likely to yawn and the information the candidate wants to trumpet gets far less coverage.

    But not in Bill Clinton’s case. He’s the one supporter of a candidate whose words are reported to the world under blazing headlines. Thus when he criticizes Obama on Iraq and other issues, as he did in New Hampshire, we hear about it. And when he scolds the press for giving Obama a free ride, we not only hear about it but the press takes the criticism seriously.

    In Nevada, after two union endorsements of Obama put Hillary’s expected victory in the Democratic caucuses in jeopardy, Bill waded in again. He denounced the way the caucuses were set up as undemocratic and unfair. Later, he repeated charges that Hillary voters were being threatened into voting for Obama. Once more, the coverage of Bill was big-time.

    Bill Clinton does another thing for Hillary’s campaign–respond to criticism of her. When her experience as a major White House player has been questioned, Bill has stepped in to defend her. He should know, right? He was president.

    Without a surrogate like Bill, Obama is at a disadvantage. He’s been wary of responding to charges and criticism by Bill and other Hillary backers because it would detract from the positive tone of his candidacy. For the same reason, he’s been reluctant to go after Hillary himself. Obama’s strategy has been to stay above the fray as much as possible.

    Now he doesn’t have that luxury. To counter attacks by the Clinton camp effectively, Obama will have to step forward himself and respond. And if he wants to be sure voters hear about Hillary’s shortcomings, he’s the one who will have to point to them. What Bill does for Hillary, Obama must do for himself.

    Fred Barnes is executive editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

    © Copyright 2007, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/627lchzc.asp

    Posted by Snuffysmith at 7:13 AM

  2. Snuffysmith says:

    Snuffysmith said…

    Hillary’s “Experience” Lie
    http://www.slate.com/id/2182073/pagenum/2/
    If that’s her selling point, put me down for Obama.
    By Timothy Noah
    Posted Monday, Jan. 14, 2008, at 7:16 PM ET
    Hillary Clinton. Click image to expand.Hillary Clinton

    When the 2008 presidential campaign began, I lacked strong feelings for or against Hillary Rodham Clinton. I knew, of course, that many people loathed the former first lady and that many other people adored her. But I’d never felt the large emotions she seemed to stir in others. New York’s junior senator wants to be president? Fine, I thought. Let’s hear her pitch. Because she was still a relative newcomer to government service, I assumed that, more than most presidential candidates, Clinton would recognize the need to give voters a reason to vote for her. I waited expectantly to discover what that reason might be.

    I never dreamed the reason would be “experience.” More astonishing still, the public seems to be buying it. According to a new New York Times/CBS News poll, 79 percent of all Democratic primary voters believe that Hillary Clinton has “prepared herself well enough for the job of President,” compared with only 40 percent for Obama. “Experience Counts” declared the headline of a Jan. 9 editorial in the Boston Globe about the New Hampshire victories of Hillary Clinton and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. “The results suggest that, at the least, New Hampshire voters put more stock in the length of a candidate’s track record than Iowa voters did,” the Globe said. But the paper never got around to explaining what, in Hillary’s case, that experience consisted of.

    Let’s be clear. If you’re a Democrat, experience isn’t on this year’s menu. The most experienced among the major candidates seeking the Democratic nomination were Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware and Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut. They have now dropped out. The remaining major candidates—Clinton, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.—all lack lengthy records in government.

    Edwards served a single term in the Senate. Obama served eight years in the Illinois state Senate and is halfway through his first term in the U.S. Senate. Clinton is about to begin her eighth year in the U.S. Senate. Going by years spent as an elective official, Obama’s 11 years exceeds Clinton’s seven, which in turn exceeds Edwards’ six. But it’s a silly calculus. They all come out about the same, even when you factor in Clinton’s youthful work on the House judiciary committee’s impeachment inquiry, her membership on the board of the Legal Services Corp., her chairmanship of the Arkansas Educational Standards committee, her crafting of an unsuccessful national health-care bill, and her sharing Bill Clinton’s bed most nights while he was Arkansas governor and president of the United States.

    In Slate’s women’s blog, the “XX Factor,” various colleagues have argued (see here, here, and here) that Clinton has sufficient experience under her belt to be president. I agree, but that’s not the right question. The more urgent question is: Where the hell does she come off claiming superior experience? Here Clinton is in the Jan. 14 Newsweek, comparing herself with Obama:

    I wish it didn’t have to be a choice. I think a lot of people who are torn between us feel that way. But it is a contest, and the contrasts have to be drawn and the questions have to be asked because, obviously, I wouldn’t be in this race and working as hard as I am unless I thought I am uniquely qualified at this moment in our history to be the president we need starting in 2009 … I think it is informed by my deep experience over the last 35 years, my firsthand knowledge of what goes on inside a White House.

    Oh, please. Thirty-five years takes you back to 1973, half of which Hillary spent in law school, for crying out loud. I don’t mean to denigrate her professional experience. Clinton worked many years in corporate and public-interest law, performed advocacy work for the Children’s Defense Fund and other groups, and was a university lecturer. She also devoted herself to raising a seemingly bright and loving daughter, which is no small feat, particularly given the public spotlight and some conspicuously bad behavior on the father’s part.

    But in government, Clinton’s chief role over the years has been that of kibitzer. An important kibitzer, to be sure—what spouse isn’t?—but not a direct participant. Clinton emphasizes in particular her profound experience in foreign policy. Here she is on Dec. 20:

    It is tempting any time things seem quieter for a minute on the international front to think that we don’t need a president who’s up to speed on foreign affairs and military matters. Well, that’s the kind of logic that got us George Bush in the first place. Experience in foreign affairs is critical for ending the war in Iraq, averting war in Iran, negotiating a Middle East peace and dealing with North Korea.

  3. Snuffysmith says:

    Clinton: The Inauthentic Candidate By Joseph Klein

    Clinton: The Inauthentic Candidate By Joseph Klein
    FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, January 17, 2008

    Campaigning in a heavily Hispanic section of Las Vegas last week, Hillary Clinton declared that “No woman is illegal.” After a pause, she added “… and no man, either.”

    How does Senator Clinton square that bit of pandering to Hispanic voters in advance of the Nevada caucuses on January 19th with her rejection of the idea of drivers’ licenses for illegal immigrants during a nationally televised Democratic debate held in Las Vegas on November 15, 2007? When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked Clinton whether she would support drivers’ licenses for illegal immigrants, she gave her flat ‘no’ answer. The exchange followed shortly after her earlier waffling during an earlier debate:

    BLITZER: Well, let’s go through everybody because I want to be precise. I want to make sure the viewers and those of us who are here fully understand all of your positions on this barring — avoiding, assuming — there isn’t going to be comprehensive immigration reform. Do you support or oppose driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants? Senator Clinton?

    CLINTON: No.

    Note that when Congressman Kucinich was asked the same thing he attacked the premise of the question. He said that “I take issue with your description of people being illegal immigrants. There aren’t any illegal human beings.” If she truly believed her subsequent campaign rhetoric to voters in a local Hispanic Las Vegas community, why didn’t Hillary give the same answer Kucinich did when she had a chance to do so on national television? Instead, Senator Clinton chose to portray a tough anti-illegal immigrant stance to the national audience watching the debate, which was preceded a day before by her tough statement on protecting the borders against illegal immigrants.

    Conveniently, just before the Nevada caucus in which Hispanics are expected to play a significant role, Hillary has suddenly found ‘her voice’ on the subject. Her ‘heart’ told her that it is impossible for anyone to be “illegal” in the United States, no matter how they entered the country. Will she now reverse her answer in the debate and align with Senator Barack Obama’s steadfast position, which favors the issuance of such licenses to all ‘undocumented’ persons in this country illegally? Tune in and find out, depending on the venue and the political expediency of the moment.

    Meanwhile, in an effort by a Clinton surrogate group to suppress caucus participation by casino workers whose union has endorsed Obama, a lawsuit filed late Friday in federal court seeks to stop the Democratic Party from holding caucus meetings in special precints that had been established at nine Las Vegas hotels. These precincts were created with the goal of allowing thousands of hotel workers – who often cannot leave work to attend the midday caucuses in their normal precincts – to participate in their party’s presidential selection process.

    A founding member of Senator Clinton’s Nevada Women’s Leadership Council just happens to be the deputy executive director of the Nevada State Education Association, one of the plaintiffs in the case. The law firm representing the plaintiffs, Kummer, Kaempfer, Bonner, Renshaw, and Ferrario, includes a former congressman, James Bilbray, who is playing a leading role in Hillary Clinton’s Nevada campaign.

    This lawsuit is a blatant attempt by allies of the Clinton campaign to suppress the voter rights of American workers – Hispanic and non-Hispanic – whose union has endorsed Obama. At the same time they are appealing to latent hostilities between the Hispanic and black communities. A Clinton pollster put it this way: “The Hispanic voter—and I want to say this very carefully—has not shown a lot of willingness or affinity to support black candidates.”

    Elsewhere, we find Hillary Clinton playing games with the African-American vote for which, of course, she faces a stiff challenge from Obama.

    She regularly panders to African-American audiences. For example, speaking at Selma’s First Baptist Church on the 42nd anniversary of the “bloody Sunday” freedom march there on March 4, 2007, before an African-American audience, Sen. Clinton declared: “As a young girl [age 16], I had the great privilege of hearing Dr. King speak in Chicago. The year was 1963. My youth minister from our church took a few of us down on a cold January night to hear [King]…And he called on us, he challenged us that evening to stay awake during the great revolution that the civil rights pioneers were waging on behalf of a more perfect union.”

    Too bad Hillary failed to be quickly moved to action by Dr. King’s challenge, as many other students of her generation were at the time. Hillary remained, in her own words, “a Goldwater girl, right down to my cowgirl outfit” until her college days at Wellesley College. It apparently did not faze her one bit that Barry Goldwater was one of only six Republican senators who joined with Southern Democratic segregationists in opposing the Voting Rights Act of 1964 inspired by Dr. King.

    Even after converting her allegiance to the Democratic Party midway through college, Dr. King’s cause was far from her top priority. When, at age 22, she became the first Wellesley student ever to deliver the commencement address, she spoke out for more student rights in academic decision-making, not for civil rights. Her only reference to civil rights in her speech, in fact, was to call it a movement dominated by “men.”

    Former Massachusetts Senator Edward W. Brooke, a black moderate Republican, spoke at the Wellesley commencement just before Hillary. Brooke emphasized the progress that had been made in reducing poverty by working together as a nation.

    For her part, Hillary acknowledged Senator Brooke in her commencement speech by sharply criticizing what he had just said. “What does it mean to hear that 13.3 percent of the people in this country are below the poverty line? That’s a percentage. We’re not interested in social reconstruction; it’s human reconstruction,” she said without explaining what such New Left psychobabble actually meant. She went on to imply that Brooke lacked respect for people and only thought of them in terms of “percentage points.”

    Like Senator Obama today, Brooke sought to reach across the political and racial divide. He spoke about hopeful aspirations for the future for all Americans. In his memoir years later, Brooke had this to say about Hillary’s strident reaction to his speech:

    The next speaker was the student government president and the first student ever to speak at a Wellesley commencement. She was blonde, slight in her academic robe and wore the round oversize glasses that were popular then. What she had to say took me and most of the audience by surprise. The young woman was not rude but her tone was strident. She challenged my comments as if we were in a debate. “What does it mean that 13.3 percent of Americans are poor?” she demanded.

    Wellesley’s President Ruth Adams and several members of the faculty and graduating class apologized for the stridency of the young woman’s speech, which could only be taken as an affront to me. I was a little stunned by her anger and wondered how my rather mild remarks could have generated such fury.

    Perhaps one could excuse young Hillary’s patronizing response to an African-American leader’s articulation of his own people’s progress toward reaching the American dream. Perhaps it was just an example of youthful impatience. But nothing has changed for Hillary over the years, even after accumulating all of the experience and wisdom she touts as reasons for choosing her to be president rather than Obama.

    Fast forward to the recently concluded New Hampshire primary in which there were few African-American voters to impress. The close-up of the teary-eyed woman, played over and over on TV, was not the real Hillary Rodham Clinton, no matter how much her image makers would have us believe otherwise. The real Hillary remains an angry, condescending elitist. The seasoned, experienced senator from New York was just as strident and patronizing toward her principal rival for the Democratic presidential nomination as the young Wellesley commencement speaker was toward Senator Brooke.

    Clinton has regularly derided Obama’s calls for positive change and national unity as ‘false hope.” She has belittled his references to the inspiring words of Dr. King that helped bring an end to legalized segregation, claiming that “Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act. It took a president to get it done.”

    That is an especially interesting observation coming from the same person who had supported Johnson’s opponent in the 1964 presidential election – Barry Goldwater – and even campaigned door-to-door for him, after Goldwater had voted against the Civil Rights Act.

    In any case, President Johnson rode on the wave of the movement for change which Dr. King had put into motion. Clinton showed disrespect for Dr. King in two ways: She has diminished the importance of his role back then by saying that Dr. King was dependent on a white president to succeed. She has diminished the continued resonance of Dr. King’s dream today by attacking Obama for daring to think that he can be an effective president for the whole country in his own right. As usual Clinton whines that her words have been distorted but the pattern is clear, starting in a clear line that goes way back to her strident attack on another black leader of reconciliation, Senator Brooke.

    Hillary’s surrogates have time and again appealed to negative stereotypes and fears regarding Obama – for example, that he might have been a drug dealer at one time, that he was educated in a radical Muslim school or he may now be an assassination target because of his race. And here is what a Clinton advisor recently had to say about Obama, as quoted in the The Guardian: “If you have a social need, you’re with Hillary. If you want Obama to be your imaginary hip black friend, and you’re young, and you have no social needs, then he’s cool.”

    Clinton lets all of this rhetoric continue on her behalf as long as she can get away with it. She is not a racist, but she is an opportunist. For Hillary, voters represent only percentage points in terms of votes for or against her, no matter their race or economic circumstances.

    Hillary Clinton believes only in one thing – her own entitlement to the presidency. She will do and say anything to win it. Thus, we see her pandering to blacks in Selma, Alabama, one day and demeaning Dr. King’s accomplishments in New Hampshire another day – or saying no to drivers’ licenses for illegal immigrants on national TV one day and declaring that there are no illegal women or men in the United States a few days before the Nevada caucuses in which Hispanics are expected to play a major part.

    In her commencement speech at Wellesley College, Hillary talked about “freedom from the burden of an inauthentic reality.” Nearly 40 years later, she has come to embody such inauthenticity in its entirely.

  4. Snuffysmith says:

    Snuffysmith said…

    The Curious Math of Hillary’s “35 Years of Experience”

    Posted January 17, 2008 | 02:27 PM (EST)

    Hillary Clinton keeps talking about her 35 years of experience. “I am offering 35 years of experience making change,” she said in New Hampshire. “I’m not just running on a promise of change, I’m running on 35 years of change.” And she repeatedly mentioned the 35 years again in this week’s debate in Las Vegas.

    Well, Senator Clinton, I’m confused. I’ve done the math. You’re 60, which means that 35 years ago you were 25. And I Googled your name, looking for all the change you were making as a 25 year old and, frankly, I’m not finding much. You were going to Yale Law School at the time — which I’m sure was a personally transformative experience, but it’s hardly the kind of change that should count on one’s Presidential Training Experience resume, is it? Is that when you started your personal Working-for-Change-O-Meter?

    That summer, the summer of 1972, you campaigned in Texas for George McGovern’s unsuccessful presidential bid. A worthy — if ultimately futile — endeavor to be sure, but a notch on your Years of Change belt? Kind of a stretch, don’t you think?

    But as liberal as you are with your Experience Arithmetic, you are awfully stingy when it comes to the experience and background of Barack Obama.

    “He was a part-time state senator for a few years,” you recently said of Obama, “and then he came to the Senate and immediately started running for president,” she said. “And that’s his prerogative. That’s his right. But I think it is important to compare and contrast our records.”

    For starters, the state senate in Illinois is not a full-time job, but you make it sound like he was some kind of political temp worker, just filling in when someone called in sick. But leaving that aside, why is it that you get to count your time canvassing for McGovern as working for change, but Obama’s time as a community organizer and public housing advocate aren’t worthy of mention? And what about his time at Harvard Law (where he was the first black president in the history of the Harvard Law Review)? Doesn’t count? But your time at Yale Law does? In the now immortal words of your husband: Give me a break.

    I know you are good person who is devoted to public service. But that doesn’t absolve you of the responsibility to not distort your record. And to not distort the record of your opponent.

    Your 35 years talking point just doesn’t add up.

  5. Snuffysmith says:

    And from Christopher Hitchens:

    The Case Against Hillary ClintonWhy on earth would we choose to put the Clinton family drama at the center of our politics again?
    By Christopher Hitchens
    Posted Monday, Jan. 14, 2008, at 12:15 PM ET

    Also in Slate, John Dickerson details the “distractions” the Clinton team is creating for itself, and Timothy Noah argues that she’s not the experience candidate.
    Hillary Clinton. Click image to expand.Hillary Clinton

    Seeing the name Hillary in a headline last week—a headline about a life that had involved real achievement—I felt a mouse stirring in the attic of my memory. Eventually, I was able to recall how the two Hillarys had once been mentionable in the same breath. On a first-lady goodwill tour of Asia in April 1995—the kind of banal trip that she now claims as part of her foreign-policy “experience”—Mrs. Clinton had been in Nepal and been briefly introduced to the late Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mount Everest. Ever ready to milk the moment, she announced that her mother had actually named her for this famous and intrepid explorer. The claim “worked” well enough to be repeated at other stops and even showed up in Bill Clinton’s memoirs almost a decade later, as one more instance of the gutsy tradition that undergirds the junior senator from New York.

    Sen. Clinton was born in 1947, and Sir Edmund Hillary and his partner Tenzing Norgay did not ascend Mount Everest until 1953, so the story was self-evidently untrue and eventually yielded to fact-checking. Indeed, a spokeswoman for Sen. Clinton named Jennifer Hanley phrased it like this in a statement in October 2006, conceding that the tale was untrue but nonetheless charming: “It was a sweet family story her mother shared to inspire greatness in her daughter, to great results I might add.”

    Perfect. It worked, in other words, having been coined long after Sir Edmund became a bankable celebrity, but now its usefulness is exhausted and its untruth can safely be blamed on Mummy. Yet isn’t it all—all of it, every single episode and detail of the Clinton saga—exactly like that? And isn’t some of it a little bit more serious? For Sen. Clinton, something is true if it validates the myth of her striving and her “greatness” (her overweening ambition in other words) and only ceases to be true when it no longer serves that limitless purpose. And we are all supposed to applaud the skill and the bare-faced bravado with which this is done. In the New Hampshire primary in 1992, she knowingly lied about her husband’s uncontainable sex life and put him eternally in her debt. This is now thought of, and referred to in print, purely as a smart move on her part. In the Iowa caucuses of 2008, he returns the favor by telling a huge lie about his own record on the war in Iraq, falsely asserting that he was opposed to the intervention from the very start. This is thought of, and referred to in print, as purely a tactical mistake on his part: trying too hard to help the spouse. The happy couple has now united on an equally mendacious account of what they thought about Iraq and when they thought it. What would it take to break this cheap little spell and make us wake up and inquire what on earth we are doing when we make the Clinton family drama—yet again—a central part of our own politics?

    What do you have to forget or overlook in order to desire that this dysfunctional clan once more occupies the White House and is again in a position to rent the Lincoln Bedroom to campaign donors and to employ the Oval Office as a massage parlor? You have to be able to forget, first, what happened to those who complained, or who told the truth, last time. It’s often said, by people trying to show how grown-up and unshocked they are, that all Clinton did to get himself impeached was lie about sex. That’s not really true. What he actually lied about, in the perjury that also got him disbarred, was the women. And what this involved was a steady campaign of defamation, backed up by private dicks (you should excuse the expression) and salaried government employees, against women who I believe were telling the truth. In my opinion, Gennifer Flowers was telling the truth; so was Monica Lewinsky, and so was Kathleen Willey, and so, lest we forget, was Juanita Broaddrick, the woman who says she was raped by Bill Clinton. (For the full background on this, see the chapter “Is There a Rapist in the Oval Office?” in the paperback version of my book No One Left To Lie To. This essay, I may modestly say, has never been challenged by anybody in the fabled Clinton “rapid response” team.) Yet one constantly reads that both Clintons, including the female who helped intensify the slanders against her mistreated sisters, are excellent on women’s “issues.”

    One also hears a great deal about how this awful joint tenure of the executive mansion was a good thing in that it conferred “experience” on the despised and much-deceived wife. Well, the main “experience” involved the comprehensive fouling-up of the nation’s health-care arrangements, so as to make them considerably worse than they had been before and to create an opening for the worst-of-all-worlds option of the so-called HMO, combining as it did the maximum of capitalist gouging with the maximum of socialistic bureaucracy. This abysmal outcome, forgiven for no reason that I can perceive, was the individual responsibility of the woman who now seems to think it entitles her to the presidency. But there was another “experience,” this time a collaborative one, that is even more significant.

    During the Senate debate on the intervention in Iraq, Sen. Clinton made considerable use of her background and “experience” to argue that, yes, Saddam Hussein was indeed a threat. She did not argue so much from the position adopted by the Bush administration as she emphasized the stand taken, by both her husband and Al Gore, when they were in office, to the effect that another and final confrontation with the Baathist regime was more or less inevitable. Now, it does not especially matter whether you agree or agreed with her about this (as I, for once, do and did). What does matter is that she has since altered her position and attempted, with her husband’s help, to make people forget that she ever held it. And this, on a grave matter of national honor and security, merely to influence her short-term standing in the Iowa caucuses. Surely that on its own should be sufficient to disqualify her from consideration? Indifferent to truth, willing to use police-state tactics and vulgar libels against inconvenient witnesses, hopeless on health care, and flippant and fast and loose with national security: The case against Hillary Clinton for president is open-and-shut. Of course, against all these considerations you might prefer the newly fashionable and more media-weighty notion that if you don’t show her enough appreciation, and after all she’s done for us, she may cry.

  6. Pug says:

    I think your analysis is excellent and I agree with you.

    Also, I would ban a jerk like Snuffysmith who comes around spamming a bunch of garbage from Fred Barnes, (confessed traitor) David Horowitz’s little bitch and Christopher Hitchens.

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