Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Bill Is About Due

Bill Clinton is The. Greatest. President. Ever.

That's not just my opinion. The reasons can be found on the biography on the White House website:
During the administration of William Jefferson Clinton, the U.S. enjoyed more peace and economic well being than at any time in its history. He was the first Democratic president since Franklin D. Roosevelt to win a second term. He could point to the lowest unemployment rate in modern times, the lowest inflation in 30 years, the highest home ownership in the country's history, dropping crime rates in many places, and reduced welfare rolls. He proposed the first balanced budget in decades and achieved a budget surplus. As part of a plan to celebrate the millennium in 2000, Clinton called for a great national initiative to end racial discrimination.
History will ultimately judge if Mr Clinton deserves to be placed in the pantheon of Lincoln and Washington.

President Bush...not so much.

We're starting to see the forms in which history will hand up its judgement of Presidents Clinton and Bush in, of all places, the Democratic primaries.

Barack Obama has been saying it's time to "turn the page" on the partisanship and scandals that have been rife in this country since the Clinton years. Correctly, he has pointed out that he could win in states that Hillary Clinton could not.

Hillary Clinton has begun running on her husband's record, embracing the booming economy and stable foreign relations (and implicitly, how President Clinton stopped every domestic terror attack in the country on his watch, save for the one committed three weeks after he took office).

History's judgement is being reflected in the polls. People are warming to the idea of a return to Clintonia. Hillary has apparently turned her awkward momentum around and is beginning to firm up her poll numbers. Indeed, she has begun to equate Obama with Bush, if you can believe it:
But the unchanging core of Clinton's message is her experience, and in recent days she has presented the election as a binary choice: between a competent, experienced Clinton and novices such as Obama. "That's the kind of logic that got us George Bush in the first place," she said this week in Iowa.
This message appears to be resonating with the electorate.

Oddly, not much of the scandal that plagued the Clinton administration have seemed to stick in this race. Certainly, the Lewinski affair remains a dim memory to most people, particularly in light of the heinous, illegal and unconstitutional behavior of the Bush administration. Somehow, people are willing to forget a blow job in this atmosphere. Which makes Obama's campaign theme of "turn the page" that much more remarkable for its clumsiness.

It remains to be seen just how much damage equating Obama to Bush will have, but if anything, a reminder of any likeness to Bush is going to make people stop and think.

Hillary is in an unique position as the first candidate for President to be able to run with an actual President in her entourage (who is not a father, of course) and we should have seen it coming that she would begin to more closely tie herself to his legacy as the race began to tighten.

Hillary is a known quantity. She's been vetted a few hundred times in the past sixteen years, and there's not much people have to learn about her. Obama's great strength in this race is that he's kept it close as people have gotten to know him, and managed to have others speak for his character, like Oprah Winfrey.

This, despite having written several books about his life. He's practically Proustian in his recollections!

The race is turning into the home stretch now, and that people don't know Obama may now be his weakness. The electorate generally prefers the devil it knows, and the electorate views all candidates as devils.

The more Bill Clinton appears on the campaign trail and the tighter Hillary Clinton hitches her wagon to his legacy, the tougher it will become for Obama to score victories. In fact, the right wing charge of "Billary" may prove to be a useful asset in the Super Tuesday primary season, since it neatly sums up the point that Hillary was a major force in Bill's policy shop.

People need to know that, and remember how good the 90s were to their pocketbooks and their families, and they will come to Clinton in droves.