It Is Still All About The Clintons

Bill Clinton, with his atrocious conduct both during his wife’s campaign (which was also notable for rather atorcious behavior by the candidate) and after (when at least his wife has shown the realization that she has zero future in the party if she doesn’t at least make a show of party unity), appears determined to destroy his legacy. He is not being helped any by Clintonistas who are writing their views today. I already commented on Mark Penn’s article at The Politico. Far worse is an article by Howard Wolfson at The New Republic.

Wolfson’s article is on improving relations with the Clintons, and winds up talking more about Bill than Hillary. A more sensible topic would have been about what Obama should do in order to obtain the support of Clinton voters who are considering voting for McCain over Obama. The opinions of those voters do matter. Bill Clinton’s hurt feelings do not. Obama won, no matter how much some Clinton supporters continue to deny this, and his top priority is to suppoort his own agenda to win the general election, not to use the convention to attempt to restore Bill’s hurt feelings.

Some other reactions:

Ta-Nehisi Coates: “…the idea that people should cater to the amazing smallness of this dude strains good sense. His anger is clearly more important to him than the fate of his country. This is what must have driven Andrew and Hitch insane. Bill Clinton carries this sense of having been perpetually wronged–the game is only fair when he wins. I think what must burn him up the most is (assuming that it’s true that the Obama people pushed the race-baiting angle) that Obama actually Sista Souljahed Clinton, that he took a few minor mis-statements used them to paint Bill as, well, exactly what he was.”

M.J. Rosenberg: “…the Clintons merely lost a nomination fight. Big deal. There are winners and there are losers and until now no nominee has had to suck up to the other side. As we say on Passover, ‘why is this nominee different than any other nominee?'”

David Sirota: As disgusting and disingenuous as this is, it is pretty predictable. The Clintons are doing everything they can to make this convention all about them – and to absolve themselves from the substantive criticism of both Clintonism and Bill Clinton’s behavior on the campaign…No, Bill Clinton was not “painted as a racist” – he was a racist during the campaign…That Clinton’s top surrogates are now saying Obama’s major task is to appease Bill Clinton – rather than, say, win the election – shows just how egomaniacal the Clintons really are.”

Clintonism Does Not Live

One of the best things about the match up this year is that (assuming John McCain doesn’t totally shock the world by picking Jeb Bush as his running mate) there will not be a Bush or Clinton on the ballot for the first time since 1976. We came very close to this not happening with Hillary Clinton looking like a strong front runner for the nomination before the race began. Hillary Clinton appeared to start out with all the advantages, but it turned out her campaign was not as unbeatable as many first believed. One of many reasons for this was relying upon the advice of Mark Penn.

Penn shows once again that he is out of touch in an article at The Politico entitled Clintonism Lives. Penn claims that Clintonism “remains the most cohesive and successful Democratic governing philosophy the country has had since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s election 1932 and the advent of the New Deal.” One problem with Clintonism is that it it hardly qualifies as a cohesive governing philosophy. Clintonism under Bill Clinton was more a tactical strategy than a governing philosophy based upon compromising principle whenever necessary for political advantage. One example of this could be seen in 2004 when Bill Clinton advised John Kerry to support anti-gay marriage amendments in the states where they were on the ballot because he might have picked up more votes. Most Democrats would agree with Kerry in rejecting this advice.

Under Hillary Clinton, Clintonism became even more a philosophy of big-government Nanny Statism accompanied by disturbing ties to the religious right and a propensity to use neoconservative scare tactics about terrorism for political gain. Hillary Clinton managed to merge the worst characteristics of present Republicans and past Democrats. As a consequence, despite going into the race with every advantage, Clinton was upset by a newcomer to national politics who capitalized on a desire for change from the recent leadership of both parties.

Penn does give some examples where Bill Clinton’s views do survive. Bill certainly was right in some areas, and his ideas were far preferable to those of George Bush. By framing Clintonism as the opposite of the views of George Bush, Penn was bound to make Clinton look good by comparison. This does not mean that the country wanted a return to the full Clinton package. Besides, a politician who based his policies largely upon the polls was bound to have some popular ideas. Being right at times, however, is far different from having a comprehensive governing philosophy. Maybe the belief that the country saw Clintonism as a desirable goal is one of the reasons Hillary Clinton’s campaign was overly optimistic about their chances for success and failed to recognize how formidable an opponent such as Obama could be.

George Orwell, Blogger

There have been a number of changes in the blog roll lately. Many are due to bloggers moving from one blog to another. There is one especially notable new blogger added–George Orwell. His diary is being posted in blog form with each entry appearing on line exactly seventy years after first written. New hyperlinks are being added to many of the entries.