The problem is Bill. But not the way it is usually understood, i.e., the sex scandal waiting to happen. There is that, of course. But there are deeper, more subtle considerations that would arise even if the man — do the thought experiment — were as self-disciplined as Nestor Kirchner.
First, for all of their worship of Diana and the Kennedys, Americans are instinctively republican and suspicious of dynastic politics. A vote for Hillary is a vote for the last entry of a Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton quarter-century.
We’ve had just two father-son presidencies in the 230 years of the republic, and the first (the Adams family) had the son taking over 24 years after the father, and just one year before the father’s death. The Bush succession is more anomalous with only eight years separating the two presidencies, a proximity that has launched a thousand Maureen Dowd ruminations on the hidden furies driving Oedipus Prez.
But the father-son connection is nothing compared to husband-wife. The relationship between a father and an adult son is psychological and abstract; the connection between husband and wife, concrete and quotidian. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife. George Bush, pere, didn’t move back into the White House in January 2001.
Which is why Hillary’s problem goes beyond discomfort with dynastic succession. It’s deep unease about a shared presidency.
Indeed.. and that unease was only breifly touched on during the first go round, all of which is brought to mind by the title, as spoken by Hillary Clinton.
Back when Ronald Reagan was shot, Alexander Haig basically ended his career by claiming he was running things, for a while. Arguably, Haig’s heart was in the right place, even if his facts were amiss. The American people apparently never forgave him that error… mostly because they mistrust someone who will claim power not rightfully theirs. That someone who was in his position wouldn’t know the proper succession of power transfer didn’t help matters, either, but one thing the American people apparently decided at the time was that his actions were not out of a need for attaining power. He was ever after regarded as a well- meaning buffoon.
So along comes Hillary Clinton, who makes a claim to presidential power, saying ‘WE are the President’. The issue at the time, recall was releasing papers to the press, as regards the government healthcare plan she was pushing.
I’m not going to have some reporters pawing through our papers. We are the president.
So, not only was she claiming power she didn’t have, by law, and was not empowered by the people to claim, by means of election, but she was doing it to exempt herself from public scrutiny. Certainly, a less acceptable situation than Alexander Haig gave us. Hers was a power grab, and using power she didn’t legally have to protect herself from a hostile public. Comparisons were made at the time, rightly to Eva Peron, though as the good Doctor points out, the comparison is today perhaps more correctly Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. The names change, the facts remain.
So, here she comes again, with her Government healthcare plans in her grip, and Bill Clinton in tow. What he brings to the table other then bimbo eruptions, is unclear. But what IS clear is we’re dealing with the prospect of yet another shared presidency, and someone who is willing to abuse power to maintain it.