Hillary Clinton’s recent primary losses to Barack Obama may say as much about Democrats’ desires to be done with the Clintons as they do about the cult of personality that is Obama.
Some say Hillary is now paying for the sins of her husband. I agree that may be true to some degree, but in many cases she was an accomplice to those sins and has only herself to blame. I have wondered for some time whether or not Americans would want another soap opera presidency and I think we are seeing the answer in the most recent primary vote counts. There are many reasons Democrats have to send the Clintons packing. Here are a few:
1. Democrats don’t want a return to non-stop scandal defense mode. Democrats like to wrap the Clinton scandals up in a blue dress and say they were all about sex, but that is ridiculous. There were numerous scandals in the Clinton White House well before anyone knew who Monica Lewinski was and many of them involved Hillary. The travel office firings, subpoenaed billing records, Whitewater, and FBI files are only the beginning of the list. It goes on for a while and includes names like Vince Foster, Johnny Chung, and the FALN.
Why on earth would Democrats want to sign up for a second ride on the Clinton scandal train when they could opt for a clean slate candidate? Besides, it would not be so easy to deflect future scandals as it was previous ones. I don’t think Ken Starr will be making a repeat performance as boogeyman and he was a necessary element to the Clinton scandal survival strategy. Without a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy to oppose, there is not so much enthusiasm for defending the Clintons.
I believe there is a whole group of Democrats out there who are secretly enjoying being able to vote against a Clinton. They can take out their frustrations with the Clintons and still vote for a Democrat. For the first time in 16 years, Democrats can vote against a Clinton without having to vote for a Republican to do it.
2. The Clinton is no longer the hip one in the race. Think about it. In Bill Clinton’s presidential primary he was up against Paul Tsongas, Tom Harkin, Bob Kerrey, and some other people I don’t even remember. In the general elections he was up against George H. W. Bush and Bob Dole. Hillary, in sharp contrast, is up against the Obamassiah who makes women swoon.
It is 16 years later and she is now the establishment candidate. What it comes down to is that even though Hillary was married to the “Man from Hope,” now she faces a candidate much better at Hope-A-Dope (as Jon Henke calls it) than she and her husband ever dreamed of being. Instead of the Man from Hope that Bill Clinton was, Hillary is in many ways just “The Man” who stands in the way of the first black President of the United States. (Yeah, that’s right – it wasn’t Bill Clinton, regardless of what Toni Morrison said.)
3. Not only is Hillary not hip enough, but she is not liberal enough for the Democrat base. Democrats, like Republicans, will settle for a moderate if they are desperate enough for a win and if they believe that person has the best chance of getting elected, but not if they have a more liberal candidate who appears to have just as good a chance to win in the general election. Hillary is far from a moderate. She is definitely liberal, but on some issues she has angered her base by not being liberal enough, or at least not being in step with the far left in the base – most notably on the issue of Iraq. Barack Obama has the distinction of having the most liberal voting record in the Senate.
Although things look really bad for Hillary Clinton at this point, and many have said she is done, I will never count a Clinton out until the last vote is cast. But even if Hillary pulls a rabbit out of her hat on March 4, and some super delegates out of it after that, a statement has been made by many Democrats. The Clinton magic as we once knew it is gone. The Elvis in Bill Clinton left the building long ago and Hillary’s inevitability went with it. I suspect many Democrats are cleansing their political souls in the process.