Hillary Campaign A "Learning Experience?" For Who?

Austin Hill
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Posted: Jun 08, 2008 12:00 AM
Hillary Campaign A "Learning Experience?"  For Who?

“It’s been quite a learning experience…”

That’s what I was told by one of my left-wing media industry colleagues from inside the beltway this past week, as we discussed Hillary’s campaign, and the presidential nomination that she had just lost.

“We’ve all seen a whole new side of the Clintons in the past few weeks,” he told me, “and it was pretty ugly…”

Now, I can’t dispute that “pretty ugly” is an apt description for much of the Clintons’ campaign activity. But since that conversation last Wednesday morning, I’ve been left wondering why the bad behavior is being regarded as something new. And precisely which “new side” of the Clintons is it, that has only recently been revealed?

This may be a shock for many Democrats, but there are millions of us here in the United States - - call us “non-liberal Americans” if you wish - - who were never captivated by the Clintons and their antics (not even back in the “good ‘ol days“ of the 90‘s). The fact that their attempted return to the White House has ended in a train wreck is not particularly astounding to us. Yet, the reality that a sufficient number of Democrats have finally said “no” to the Clinton chaos is a bit of a surprise, and a pleasant one at that.

As for the rest of us, we remember Governor Bill Clinton campaigning on the dubious theme of fixing “the worst economy in forty years,” his promise of a middle-class tax cut, and his pledge to “end welfare as we know it.” We also remember the huge tax increase, and the enormous welfare expansion that he brought about (remember the federally funded “midnight basketball” programs?) within the first two years of his presidency.

And why the surprise over Hillary? It doesn’t matter that she and Bill spent the previous decade positioning themselves as “New Democrats” who embraced free trade, NAFTA, and upwardly mobile voters. It was par for the course for her to stir-up the worst kinds of class envy among blue collar workers, demonize wealthy Americans, pretend that she never supported NAFTA, and promise more trade restrictions in the future. She’s a Clinton, and the Clintons say and do whatever is necessary to accomplish the political task that lies in their path at any given moment. The rest of us have understood this for years.

The rest of us have also watched the very dysfunctional relationship between the Clintons’ and the Democratic Party for these past many years, and have been able to see it more clearly for what it is. Like abused children living with their victimizing parents, so many Democrats have been taken-in by the Clintons’ promises of “love,” have made excuses for their embarrassing behavior, and have been fearful of confronting the abusiveness.

And confronting the Clintons’ abusiveness is risky - - the rest of us know this, because we watched last decade as the Clintons used the power and platform of the presidency to destroy anyone who crossed them. The stained dress wasn’t Bill’s fault - - it was all because Monica Lewinsky was “immature” and “unstable.” And Bill didn’t perjure himself - - the problem was simply that Ken Starr, the Independent Counsel appointed by the Congress to investigate the President, was a “sex-obsessed“ Baptist Sunday school teacher. And the Clintons never did anything wrong when they confiscated people‘s private information in FBI files, for personal political purposes. Oh no, all the Clintons’ problems were not because of their own behavior. Their problems were the fault of Rush Limbaugh, and Matt Drudge, and “this vast right-wing conspiracy.” The rest of us understood this.

But here we are in the 21st century, and one of the family members has now dared to confront the parents. It started when he had the “audacity” to run for President. And once he began to win primary elections, the other family members began to see just how abusive the parents had become, because the parents began to turn on their own. Whereas back in the 90’s the objects of the Clintons’ wrath had been mostly from the ranks of us “non-liberal Americans,” now, suddenly, the Clintons were lashing-out at other Democrats. The abused children began to see what the rest of us have been seeing all along, because they were now experiencing first-hand the Clinton smears and the attacks.

The showdown between the abusive parents and the victimized kids really heated-up back in January, when Mr. Obama stated on national television what the rest of us already knew to be true - - that he was running against “both Clintons.” And from here, the Clintons’ unique style of duplicitous, deceitful politics kicked-in to high gear, like we hadn’t seen since the days of Bill’s impeachment.

Yet, little by little, Democrats began to call the abusiveness for what it was, and began to make healthier choices for themselves. Black Democrats abandoned the abusive parents altogether. Suburban voters began to flee as well. And now a majority of Democrats have chosen to no longer associate with the abusive parents, and have nominated the audacious one to be their presidential nominee.

So congratulations Democrats. I wish you hadn’t wasted so many years enabling the abusers, but you’re now seeing things more clearly. And welcome to our world - - the world where the rest of us have been for a long, long time.