I don’t have a dog in the Democratic fight since my mind is set on voting for John McCain. Whether the Democrats choose Hillary or Obama to be their standard bearer in November won’t make much difference to McCain. Each one has strengths – and weaknesses – as a McCain opponent.
But one thing’s for sure. If Hillary loses and goes back to being a senator from New York, the Democrats are going to have one heck of a time shutting her – and Bill – back into their cages. Hillary has enjoyed the limelight since Gore’s defeat 7 years ago as the next best hope for the Clintonistas to return to power. Meanwhile her husband has trotted around the world, enjoying his role as Nice Guy in Chief.
I voted for Bill in ‘92 and again in ‘96. I voted for Gore in ‘00 and was just as depressed as the rest of the Democrats when Bush took the oath of office in ‘01. However after 9-11 I saw Bush in a new light and eventually voted for him in ‘04. Looking back on his presidency it’s been nice to have a president as clean and scandal-free as Bush. Sure he’s controversial; every president is. But with Bush there has been no Monica-gate. No Whitewater or special prosecutor stalking the president like an extra-judicial Torquemada waiting to take the man down with a subpoena. Heck even Ronald Reagan, now evidently beloved by Democrats, had Iran-Contra – a scandal that stands as arguably the worst scandal since Watergate.
I’ve cut President Clinton some slack for his failure to prevent 9-11, and his innate stupidity which drove the Right nuts during his stay in the oval office. But my feelings for Bill have tempered with time. Seeing Bill today makes me feel the same way as when I find an old picture of myself taken while he was in power. There’s a hint of nostalgia mixed with a feeling of embarrassment. Like my hair I moved on and I’m happy I did.
Bill makes me feel uncomfortable these days, and I think that Hillary is making people feel a bit the same way. Sure there were some good times back in the ‘90’s, but things have changed. We’ve changed – and the idea of a return to Business As Usual under a Clinton administration just seems kind of childish and outdated these days. A bit dirty too.
But Hillary doesn’t see things that way. I think she sees the White House as hers by right. She did all the right things: becoming senator from New York. Putting up with Al Gore’s wooden campaigning. She kept her promise to New Yorkers by staying out of the race in ‘04 all the while knowing that she could have easily picked off Kerry and possibly even Bush. Afterwards she built up a warchest, shaking hands with all the right people – or so she thought. Regardless, she’s the epitome of the strong post-Women’s Rights era woman. The job is hers by right – and her sisters at NOW agree.
But it’s not. People have come to realize that a world without Clintons can be almost as refreshing as a world without Bushes. And Hillary doesn’t belong in this world.
If she loses and Obama wins, don’t expect her to fade away. She’ll be sidelined for awhile, a long while if Obama is successful, but will no doubt play havoc with an Obama Agenda. I would expect her to be as cooperative with an Obama legislative agenda as Chuck Hagel has been to the Bush one.
But if she loses and Obama loses, she will become the Democratic frontrunner for 2012 and leading voice of her party. Those who supported Obama – from Ted Kennedy on down – will pay the price. The Clintons know how to punish their enemies, and you can bet that they have a list of each Democrat that has betrayed her by backing Obama. If Obama loses the Clintonistas will purge the Obama supporters from the party leadership. Ditto if Obama wins and becomes an unpopular Democratic president. Would Hillary dare challenge a seated president for the nomination?
Does anyone doubt it?
I’m confident that Hillary can still win the nomination. I believe she has what it takes to do what is necessary to win, and backed by her charismatic, self-deprecating Machiavellian husband I believe she has a very good chance of facing McCain in the general election. But if I were a Democrat, I’d be worried about what would happen if she lost the nomination. Think hell hath no fury? Wait until you see a Clinton scorned by the likes of Oprah and the Kennedys.