The idea that Bill Clinton would somehow, in some region of the country, in some portion of the electorate, hurt Hillary Rodham Clinton's run for the White House is patently absurd.
He's popular, remember? He's a decent politician, with a particular knack for connecting with people and making them sympathetic and supportive of him.
He has very little to offer when it comes to sound public policy or a personal history of honesty, and yet everyone looks the other way because of his underlying likability.
Now me? I can't say I'm a fan, and neither can most voters like me, but they're not looking for my vote. They're looking for the votes of the left-leaning electorate, and while left-leaners may not hate Hillary Clinton, they love their Bill.
No one in the entire Democrat Party is more supportive of the political career of Hillary than of Bill's. Considering their disparate political skills, connection with people and fundamental understanding of the American people, the difference between Hillary and Bill Clinton, to paraphrase Mark Twain, is like the difference between a lightning bug and a lightning bolt.
In short, to win the White House, all Bill Clinton needed was a weak Democrat field in 1992, weak Republican opponents, strong, right-leaning third-party candidates entering the race and a national media (still unchecked by the blogosphere) so enamored and supportive that there wasn't a single un-spun political news story from 1992 to 2001.
Hillary? To win the White House and restore the Clinton dynasty to its Oval Office birthright, Mrs. Clinton will need something more: a massively funded, exclusively loyal and obedient political infrastructure outside the Democrat Party, belonging solely to her. Democrat operatives, upon leaving the White House in 2001, understood this and immediately got to work.
The results are everywhere, in what David Horowitz has identified as the Clintons' "Shadow Party." Since January 2001, the Clinton administration has been planning, building and implementing a dizzying array of interconnected organizations, staffed by veterans of the Clinton Wars and dedicated to the single purpose of putting Hillary Clinton in the White House. How? Simple.
Need a policy idea? Go to the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank funded by socialist billionaire George Soros (remember that name) and run by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta and housing Clintonistas Robert Boorstin, Gene Sperling and Matt Miller. Soros pledged $3 million to start the group, which a source told UPI was "the official Hillary Clinton think tank."
Note that: They package themselves as liberals, but what they really are is Clintonistas (not the first time the Clintons have confused the success of their ideas with the success of their careers).
OK, so CAP puts together a proposal. Who's going to sell it? Ask Jim Jordan, the Democrat communications specialist from the Clinton impeachment and campaign-finance hearings, who started the Thunder Road Group.
TRG is the Shadow Party's messaging and strategy nerve center, taking its cues from the Shadow Party's ringleader, longtime Clinton confidant Harold Ickes.
Ickes is the real pro of the outfit; he ran Mrs. Clinton's Senate campaign and has had a hand in organizing almost all the major organizations of the Shadow Party, including CAP and TRG, as well as America Coming Together (political mobilization), America Votes (grass-roots, get-out-the-vote coordination) and Media Fund (political advertising).
What Ickes has put together, by way of his skills, the Clinton's power and Soros' money, is a government in exile dedicated to electing Hillary Clinton president.
This, and not name identification, and certainly not personal charisma, is what gives Hillary Clinton her enormous advantage over her rivals for the 2008 Democrat presidential nomination.
While Barack Obama, John Edwards and Joe Biden and the rest are putting together campaigns, Sen. Clinton's campaign has been humming along at near capacity for years. Indeed, I think it's likely the Clinton Shadow Party's monopoly on old Clinton-era talent is part of what is keeping Al Gore out of the race -- he's got no one to hire.
The fundraising, opposition research, communications, advertising, grass-roots and get-out-the-vote operations for Clinton '08 are already in place and have been given dress rehearsals in recent elections around the country. If Sen. Clinton wins, this will be the reason. And the idea that any of this would have been possible without her husband is lunacy.