Remember back a long, long time ago when people fretted over how Bill’s foibles might impact Hillary’s fortunes?
It’s been quite a long while - - like, about sixty days ago - - since we were informed of Hillary’s new “commandment” for the current election season. As the Washington Post put it, “Thou shalt not mention anything related to the impeachment of her husband.”
It’s true. Earlier this year Mrs. Clinton “put her rivals on notice” and all but dared other Democrats “to mention the ordeal again.” Her campaign operatives even threw out a pre-emptive strike, claiming that anyone daring to reference Bill’s White House problems would be engaging in “the politics of personal destruction,” and would be “hitting below the belt.”
Not only that, some were suggesting way back then that Hillary might at times need to silently avoid having Bill with her on the campaign trail because, loveable as he is, President Bill Clinton still denotes scandal and chaos in the minds of some American voters.
That was two months ago, and, well, you know…times have changed.
Today, Bill Clinton has emerged as the new Jackie-O!
And how in the world could former President Clinton possibly compare to former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis?
Well, first let’s do a quick review of the Kennedy’s. Americans quite rightly have a soft spot in their hearts for the former President, and hopefully always will. Any life senselessly cut short by an assassin’s bullet raises a sense of shame and injustice in the American psyche, and when it’s the life of a President that is taken, the nation’s entire history is stained.
Similarly, Jackie-O will forever be the object of deep American sympathy and respect, especially given the existence of that traumatic video footage of her at the moment of her husband’s shooting, and for the dignified life she created for herself after leaving the White House.
But long before Jacqueline Kennedy was an Onassis - - indeed, long before John F. Kennedy was President - - the First Lady- to-be was a profoundly helpful “resource” in helping to get her husband elected.
Beautiful and charming, she once wandered into a grocery store in Wisconsin back in 1960 and turned the visit into a seemingly impromptu campaign event. Commandeering the microphone of the store’s p.a. system, Mrs. Kennedy began speaking, saying “…Just keep on with your shopping…while I tell you about my husband…”
For his part, President Kennedy apparently understood that even though HE was President, his wife was at times the real “star.” Months after his narrow, hard-fought victory over Richard Nixon, the newly elected President paid a diplomatic visit to France at the invitation of President Charles De Gaulle, and seemed to grasp that the warm welcome from the French people was more about her, than about him.
When the time came, President Kennedy stood up at the state dinner in Paris and humbly stated “…I do not think it altogether inappropriate to introduce myself. I am the man who accompanied Jacqueline Kennedy to Paris, and I have enjoyed it…”
Smart politics? You bet. Jackie improved the way people perceived JFK, and JFK let her do it. And a similar dynamic is playing-out right now.
In the past few weeks, Hillary seems to have abandoned her concerns over “the politics of personal destruction” and a close association with an impeached former President, and now has moved on to “the politics of personal re-construction,” while seemingly taking every opportunity to have Bill at her side.
And why not? Since she issued “the commandment” in February, a lot of bad stuff has happened to her.
Hillary was publicly called a “liar” by entertainment mogul and former supporter David Geffen.
Hillary was snubbed by the Rutgers University women’s basketball players when she rushed to console them after the Don Imus insult.
Hillary has ended up in an all-out battle with Obama for previously presumed endorsements in the African-American community.
Hillary has continued to outrage the far-left of her party by refusing to renouce her Senate vote allowing the use of force in Iraq.
And Hillary is having to fight with Obama for campaign donations, while some polls have Obama closing-in on her.
These challenges, and others, were likely at least part of the reason for Hillary’s recent disclosure of her plans future plans for Bill.
While speaking to a “town hall” audience in a crowded junior high school gymnasium recently, Hillary revealed that, when she becomes President, Bill will be America’s “Ambassador to the world” (presumably she’ll work out the conflicts with her Secretary of State later), and a global “cheerleader” for the United States.
And why not? Just as Jackie-O charmed the world and improved her husband’s fortunes, Bill is strategically positioned to help Hillary. But Bill’s new assignment in the Hillary campaign points to a paiful reality: Hillary doesn’t have a “past impeachment” problem; Hillary has a Hillary problem.
And if you hear Bill’s voice at the grocery store anytime soon…that should tell you something about the severity of the Hillary problem.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.