Bill Clinton, First Man? I hope not.

A brief, drowsy pre-bedtime post….

America’s most over-the-hill pundit has written his first interesting piece in years about something that’s become something of a truism in the mass media – that Hillary is way ahead of her competition and will most likely be the Democratic choice (something I don’t believe is true but fear could become true if enough people accept it as an unassailable truth).

Anyway, the last graf left me thinking. And thinking.

But one thing is absolutely clear. Her marriage is the central fact in her life, and this partnership of Bill and Hillary Clinton is indissoluble. She cannot function without him, and he would not have been president without her. If she becomes president, he will play as central a role in her presidency as she did in his. And that is something the country will have to ponder.

People here know I admired Clinton. I admired him for doing what a president must do, i.e., persuade and communicate, to lift up the people’s morale and reinforce a sense of purpose and security. John Kenned, Franklin Roosevelt and, yes, Ronald Reagan all had this gift.

And yet, I don’t want to see a return to Clintonism because I don’t think it’s what our country needs to heal from the one-two punches the Bush mis-administration has inflicted on its skull. Along with his polished powers of persuasion, Clinton represented a further shift of the Democratic Party away from being the party of “the people” – i.e., the working people – and one that was nearly as in bed with corporate America as the Republicans on the other side of the aisle.

I think I’m resigned to the sad fact that anyone who manages to get elected president has to be in bed with Big Business to some degree. I now find myself attracted to the two I find the least deeply entrenched in the bed, Edwards and Obama. I can’t say I know what Obama stands for (can anyone?); I just know he has the power of communication and an apparent decency and honesty and forthrightness that I find a healthy antidote to the stammering, near-insane jabbering and undisguised selfishness we’ve had to endure from our current president these past 6.5 years.

I wrote John Edwards off a few months ago, believing the evil “Breck girl’ caricature created by she-devil Ann Coulter was an indelible stamp he couldn’t shake off. Now I’m not so sure, as I hear rumblings of his making a comeback. I can’t express how thrilled I am to hear it; it signals to me that maybe there are other Americans – perhaps even a majority – who yearn for a kinder, gentler government whose first allegiance is to the people they govern and not to the multinationals and hedge fund managers and lobbyists who line their and their cronies’ pockets.

Yes, I know, this post is convoluted, so I’ll end it soon. So here’s the thing: I actually felt a surprise shiver as I read the last lines of Broder’s column, where he says America will need to ponder the fact that Hillary’s election would bring Bill Clinton back into the White House. A shiver, because I honestly believe most Americans at this point would welcome this. They look back at the happier Clinton days with a strong sense of nostalgia and sentimentality, and the allure of a return to the contentedness and easiness of the late-90s after the sheer hell we’ve all been dragged through – well, it’s nearly irresistible.

I just hope we all resist it. It isn’t what America needs and it isn’t the direction in which we should be going. I’ll vote for Hillary (and thus, according to Broder, for Bill) if she’s the final nominee, but it will be with reluctance and apprehension, not hope and optimism. I hope America realizes after being pulled so violently in the wrong direction, we need someone who will stand up to the forces that drove us there, and not cooperate or even kowtow to them. Edwards and Obama are the last and best hopes we have. Edwards more so, since I have a better idea of what his vision is and agree with it with all my heart. So it’s time to say no to Bill and Hillary and to send America in a different direction altogether. And I think a lot of American agree, in spite of the media’s insistence that Hillary’s ascension is a given.

Good night.

The Discussion: 22 Comments

Well if its an idealistic populist you want, google Ron Paul.

September 7, 2007 @ 3:05 am | Comment

You write, “Edwards and Obama are the last and best hopes we have.” You also write, “I can’t say I know what Obama stands for (can anyone?).” So, what you’re saying is, I know very little about Barack Obama, but, because he’s new, and (apparently) honest, I support him over Hillary?

One thing you need to consider is how a Democratic candidate will fare against the Republican nominee. Hillary already has all of her dirty baggage on the table–there’s not much that can be dug up on her to derail (swiftboat) her campaign. Can the same be said about Obama? What might the Republicans come up with on him?

Lately, far from being the �polarizing� figure that the media and the Republican machine made her out to be, Hillary has been winning over Republican-leaning independents and moderate voters, while enjoying the overwhelming support of her base.

I also worry about the Republicans trouncing Obama with the “experience” line. It’s a valid criticism. Obama supporters retort, “look at all these politicians with experience and look at their failings.” Well said. However, the fact is, experience is a necessary, but not sufficient condition to be a good president. Let Obama have another term or two in the senate, or, sign him up as vice-president.

(As an aside: do you know which president was young and inexperienced? John F. Kennedy–the fool who got America entrenched in Vietnam and made a series of foreign policy mistakes that brought on the rather frightful Cuban Missile Crisis.)

As for Edwards, I�d have to agree with the above commenter: he�s a sycophantic populist and opportunist, with a disgusting habit (rivaling that of W) of invoking religion in his speeches. If you�re looking for decency and candor, I can�t see how you support Edwards. I find that he slimes around questions even more revoltingly than the average politician. Could you clarify what it is about him that you admire?

If you haven�t already, I recommend that you read this New Yorker article, which does an in-depth study of Hillary, Edwards, and Obama: The Starting Gate

September 7, 2007 @ 4:12 am | Comment

Well, we each see things through our own lens. I do not see Edwards as a sycophant and I’ve never heard him “slime his way” out of anything. I think we all might be surprised when he makes a much better showing at the Iowa caucuses than is expected. His message is getting through and the people seem receptive, no matter how many times Coulter calls him “a fag.” He is, with Obama, the best communicator of the lot, and that is key; I also think he and Obama are smart enough to surround themselves with people who really understand governance and not hopelessly incompetent cronies.

Obama has 11 years of government experience as an elected official. Our current president had only 6 before he became president. This “lack of experience” meme might not stick.

In case you haven’t noticed, there is a sea change occurring among the American public. The majority of young people are for gay marriage and a bigger role of government as a regulator and friend to its citizens and not the water boy for the rich. Tax cuts for the wealthiest paired with dramatically reduced aid for those in need is no longer a winning formula. Many Democrats want a return to the original values the party once stood for. Or at least that’s my take on it. Americans have often voted overwhelmingly for Democratic candidates who epitomize these values, and they will do so again. It is a myth that only a DLC-styled centrist can win over the Republicans. Many of those moderate Republicans and “Reagan Democrats” voted for Bush for only one reason, his seemingly macho, I-get-things-done stance on terrorism, a total illusion that Hurricane Katrina smashed to bits. These same Americans are disillusioned and, I believe, ready to vote for sweeping change. They are ready to give the Democrats a chance again, as we saw in the 2006 elections. Hillary doesn’t represent sweeping change and even though her baggage is out for all to see, it could still pull her down. Clinton derangement syndrome is far more irrational and crazed than Bush derangement syndrome. They don’t want a Joe Lieberman-type who is willing to give Bush a rubber-stamp on an illegal and unpopular and unnecessary war. It’s time to clean house, and Hillary isn’t the answer. Anyway, we’ll see, won’t we?

September 7, 2007 @ 12:01 pm | Comment

Richard, I don’t especially like any of them, but I concur with your endorsement of Edwards.

As for t-co’s admiration of the Libertarian whack-job darling of White Nationalist racists, Ron Paul – um, dude, do you know he’s the darling of the neo-Nazi group, Stormfront?

Here’s their lengthy thread dedicted to their “Great White Hope” (emphasis on “White”), Ron Paul.
Richard, let me warn you that this is a link to a vicious neo-nazi hate site, and I’m posting the link just to illustrate what I mean about Ron Paul’s support base:

September 7, 2007 @ 6:21 pm | Comment

Thanks for the link, Ivan – Stormfront might be one of the top 10 most repellent sites on the entire Internet.

Ron Paul is suddenly getting all this attention for his stance against the war, which sounds really, really good until you start doing your research on the guy. He’s as scary as they come.

However, his stance against the war seems to have worked miracles – his fundraising has soared above his campaign’s wildest dreams. Which should be taken as a hint from the other Republicans – everyone is sick and tired of this war. Absolutely everyone.

September 7, 2007 @ 7:45 pm | Comment

“Ron Paul is suddenly getting all this attention for his stance against the war”

Yep, and ya know what that reminds me of? That’s how Lenin came to power too. Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized power on a wave of a popular
“anti-war” theme. Their slogan, when Russia was exhausted from the First World War, was “Peace, Land, Bread!”

And then the Communists just delivered more war – a civil war – and famine.

Anyway, that should be food for thought. Simply being against an unpopular does not necessarily make one a White Knight, or even a real pacifist for that matter.

September 7, 2007 @ 7:53 pm | Comment

And here’s another expose of Ron Paul’s creepiness including his links with David Duke (aka, the KKK), written in a merciless strident way I appreciate, titled, “F— Ron Paul”:

September 7, 2007 @ 7:56 pm | Comment

Edwards is a nut-case. Seriously, that guy does not have credible policies in my view.

Obama? Light-weight flip-flopper.

It’s time to accept that Hilary is the only credible Democrat candidate. Cry over spilt milk as much as you like, guys, but that’s the long and short of it.

September 8, 2007 @ 7:13 am | Comment


How is Obama a flip-flopper? He’s been fairly consistent in my view on his positions, especially in comparison to Edwards on the war.

Hillary is hardly the only credible candidate- I’d say the Democrats have put together a pretty strong field for ’08. Even the also-rans: Richardson, Biden, Dodd, etc.- are interesting candidates with unique policy positions

September 8, 2007 @ 1:34 pm | Comment


I think Paul’s been a fairly consistent isolationist throughout his congressional career- he’s an old-fashioned throwback conservative in the Pat Buchanan mold, but you’re right- liberal types should think twice before getting into bed with him.

September 8, 2007 @ 1:38 pm | Comment

@ Richard: why Obama? I really, really have issues with Barack Obama’s lack of experience and charm. He seems like a candidate too easily manipulated and used as a puppet by other people–like Bush. Hilary would have backbone.

@Ivan: since when did I seem the type to support an idealistic populist? I was just pointing out how Richard seemed to long for a populist, “fresh face” candidate.

Also, if you recall the Bill O’Reilly/Daily Kos fiasco, you should recognize that simply because Ron Paul is endorsed by stormfront doesn’t mean that Ron Paul endorses stormfront. Indeed, they were supporting him based on lower taxes and opposition to illegal immigration, positions most conservative Americans (not just the nutjobs) would agree with.

Lenin? Ron Paul doesn’t have a tightly organized, ruthless, secretive party backing his political run (indeed, the GOP seems to be opposing it.) He’s a lonely idealist, so let him rant on. Besides, without him, GOP debates would devolve into nine Tony Snows trying to argue with each other.

September 8, 2007 @ 2:00 pm | Comment

Obama is by no means the person I would choose if I were asked to pick anyone I wanted for president. But of those who are running, I find Edwards and Obama the most electable and the most intelligent. I will vote for Hillary if I have to – anything to drive the Pharisees out of the temple.

If I could choose anyone I wanted… Maybe Paul Krugman…Al Gore…myself…Josh Marshall…Kaiser Kuo… But the fact is, there’s a limited selection and we have to choose from the names on the list. Obama and Edwards. That would be a dream ticket, and I don’t care which one’s name is at the top (well, I guess I’d rather see Edwards’ there).

September 8, 2007 @ 3:34 pm | Comment

Raj, you have to back up your charges or you lose credibility. Edwards “a nut case”? Where on earth does this come from?

September 8, 2007 @ 4:04 pm | Comment

t-co wrote: “Well if its an idealistic populist you want, google Ron Paul.”

Then I wrote: “As for t-co’s admiration of the Libertarian whack-job darling of White Nationalist racists, Ron Paul…”

Then t-co asked: “@Ivan: since when did I seem the type to support an idealistic populist? I was just pointing out how Richard seemed to long for a populist, “fresh face” candidate.”

Here’s my answer. You asked for it, t-co. In another thread, you wrote:

“I support Ron Paul–he’s basically my dream candidate…Posted by: t_co at July 1, 2007 03:51 PM”

September 8, 2007 @ 5:13 pm | Comment

How is Obama a flip-flopper? He’s been fairly consistent in my view on his positions, especially in comparison to Edwards on the war.

He just strikes me as an “everything to all men” candidate. Given the debacle over the debated use of Afghanistan/Pakistan and nuclear weapons, I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the tip of the iceberg.

Raj, you have to back up your charges or you lose credibility.

Richard, you’re rather touchy! Do we know who you’re voting for in the primaries? Obviously I don’t think he’s mentally unstable, though I think he’s foolish in some areas. When he said that he wouldn’t give Taiwan direct military support if China invaded (under any circumstances), I thought that would massively undermine the US’ foreign policy and trust that could be placed in it.

Also it would be a great way to precipitate a conflict in Asia if China thought it could walk in without outside opposition. Japan could break away from the US and become more aggressive to defend itself. Taiwan might even seek a nuclear arsenal.

He’d be unleashing a whole can of worms – if elected I hope he realises he needs to change his position on Taiwan. If he has revised his “non-interventionist” stance then I’d like to know what he said more recently.

September 8, 2007 @ 7:34 pm | Comment

I am predicting the following:

I am a Republican, but it looks more and more like the Democrats will crown Hillary and she will most likely beat any Republican in the general election in November 2008.

September 8, 2007 @ 10:43 pm | Comment

@ Ivan

Ignoring my point again? I’ll be very clear on this:

Just because Ron Paul is supported by Stormfront does not mean that Ron Paul supports Stormfront. The reason Stormfront likes him is because he goes for lower taxes and controlled immigration–now if you want to imply that opposing illegal immigration makes a candidate racist go ahead, but I doubt you’d be stupid enough to advocate such a position.

Oh, and yes, I support Ron Paul, although not because he is supported by stormfront. Indeed, I support him because he’s the only fiscally conservative candidate who opposes the war in Iraq.

September 9, 2007 @ 7:51 am | Comment

I personally doubt America under any administration, Republican or Democrat, would lift a finger would China attack Taiwan (which it isn’t going to do whether or not there’s a deterrent). Beijing is simply too important to Washington to intervene.

September 9, 2007 @ 1:24 pm | Comment

“Oh, and yes, I support Ron Paul, although not because he is supported by stormfront”

That’s like supporting Hitler because he was good for Germany’s economy.

Dude, a politician is nothing without his supporters.
It does matter tha Ron Paul is beholden to the neo-nazis for support. And although he hasn’t expressly said he “supports” them, the reason why they support him is because his policies and whack-job neo-nazi beliefs accord with theirs.

September 9, 2007 @ 1:28 pm | Comment


Nice sentiments over China not attacking, but that’s not something either Taiwan or the US can bank on.

Whether the US did or not intervene, it’s something China could never be certain of if the US’ position stays clear. The defence of Taiwan is, in many ways, about deterance not actual defence. If China really, really wanted to take Taiwan it could eventually manage it (though it might bleed itself dry in the process). But if Taiwan continues to maintain its defences and the US warns China off, it will ensure that China will never “seek” to find a reason to invade.

If Edwards ruled out military intervention, it would also destroy Taiwan’s negotiating position, selling it down the river to China, which could then do as it pleased in demanding this or that. This would lead Taiwan to try to find some sort of advantage like seeking nuclear weapons – would you like that?

Plus China would almost certainly interpret the US’ policy change as a sign of weakness. Whatever the politicians might say in public, the general view across the country would be “HAHAHA – Amerika is cowardly against Chinese might!” They would never take American threats/protests seriously again.

September 9, 2007 @ 9:41 pm | Comment


September 11, 2007 @ 11:43 am | Comment

Whatever Ron Paul is, he certainly has the right ideas about foreign policy.

I’m not saying he should be elected because of it, but the other candidates would do well to listen to some of the things he’s saying.

Why does it seem like being a Republican requires you to be a blinder-wearing, flag waving dork? Watching the sincerity by which the other Republicans are shocked and awed to even think that 9-11 might have been a causality, and not a random act of evil… it baffles me.

September 11, 2007 @ 11:57 am | Comment

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