Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

January 17, 2004

by J

The Clintons

Over and over again I keep hearing two things about the Clintons:
  • Bill and Hillary Clinton do not want a Democrat to win in '04 because they want Hillary to win in '08.
  • Bill Clinton is supporting Wes Clark for the nomination so that he can be a shadow President when Clark wins.
Now, setting aside that these are contradictory positions -- oh, you can smush it into consistency by saying that Hillary will be Wes's running mate or something -- I just don't buy either one of them.

First, for all that people dislike Bill Clinton the adulterer, I do believe the man is a patriot and was actually trying accomplish good things for the country when President. I can't believe that someone as intelligent as he is could be happy with the prospect of four more years of Dubya tearing down everything he worked for. Put simply, I do not believe Bill Clinton would prefer that Bush be President over a Democrat.

As to Hillary's supposed "ambitions," again, I give her some credit for intelligence, too. I've never bought the theory that "Hillary wants to be President" -- it's rightwing gossip fomented to get their base all hysterical and whipped up into their typical warped, mysogynistic lather. I also think she recognizes that the chances of her being elected after another four years of Dubya's reactionary jingoism are almost nil. My hypothesis is that she wants to be a longterm, powerful Senator. The paranoia about the ambitions of the Clintons began in Republican circles and for some reason some Democrats have adopted it. It doesn't make sense to me.

As to whether one or both of the Clintons are supporting Clark. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that one or both preferred Clark -- everyone's got preferences -- but the evidence for strong preferences is thin and both have said complimentary things about all of the candidates. And even if one or both are 'helping Clark out' behind the scenes, that still does not support the "Bill wants Clark so that he can be the power behind the throne," not to mention it speaks terribly poorly of Clark (and I don't have the impression that Clark would put up with it, were he to become CinC).

Upshot: for some reason, some among the Democrats are incorporating Republican spittle, er, spin, about the Clintons and using it to promote or tear down the primary contenders. I still believe both Clintons care more about their party and our country than to deliberately behave in ways that would harm the Democratic party's chances in the fall.
Posted by J at January 17, 2004 02:40 PM

Great post. This is certainly what I tend to believe when I'm not reading all the cynical spin. For Hilary Clinton to become Senate Majority Leader somewhere down the road would be a great step forward for women. The idea that the presidency is the only thing that counts, that if you're not the big shot, forget it, which is apparently how the media feels, is just another sign of the weakening of political vitality in the U.S. I think Dean is the only candidate who is likely to counteract the decline. I really believe him when he says his campaign isn't just about him, and I don't quite believe the others.

Posted by: gz at January 17, 2004 03:25 PM

It is amazing to think that after all the Clintons have been through, they are still patriotic and put the country's best interest ahead of their own personal and/or political gain. I don't know that I'd quite articulated it, but I agree with you.

Nicely put.

Posted by: fish at January 18, 2004 04:18 AM

It's my belief being a fan of Mrs.Clinton.I hope she gives a presidental type speeech at the democratic convention that will lauch people in support of her.I've seen this building for a long time even in her days as first lady.A great organizer in helping then Bill Clinton in meetings , etc... a great ambassdor to foreign governments.The high educational background, 8 years as first lady, the experience she can use to boost herself as the first woman president.(plus time as a party organizier for other candiates)I like to see it happen Kerry is just a shadow candiate to make way for Clinton in 2008.Kerry himself may no see this happening or even agree to such an idea but its set in motion.Hillary is for the party and will do her best to see that.She will never say in public shes running for president oh not Hillary.I can see it coming from the last years as first lady she may deny these rumpors but if she gives a speech at the convention it will set all the hard work into motion paving her historic run as president in 2008.GO HILLARY!!!Hillary would give such a high status to the world like a princess diana type.

Posted by: dave at February 11, 2004 08:53 AM

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