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.