A friend of mine once speculated that if Hillary Clinton is defeated in the primaries, she would then divorce Bill and take him to court for his multiple infidelities. While the scenario itself may be unlikely, it raises a prospect which is looking more plausible by the minute: Hillary Clinton, defeated by her own party.
While Hillary maintains an 8.5 point lead over Obama in national polls, Obama’s victories in Iowa and South Carolina suggest that there are many within her own party who until recently, were looking for an alternative to Senator Clinton. Obama’s ascent indicates that for many Democrats, he is that alternative.
Obama as the Democratic nominee would pose several problems; he consistently runs to the left of Hillary on Iraq and various other issues, and Obama could be a more dangerous opponent in the general election (Hillary, on the other hand, has had unapproval ratings as high as 50%).
Despite these concerns (which many conservatives rightly harbor), it is hard to see how the nation does not benefit if the Clintons retire from the political scene. Upon the swift exit of the Clintons, Americans of all political leanings can look forward to:
The election year of 2008 will be called many things, but it is certain to go down in history as the beginning of the end of identity politics. Despite Bill’s status as “our first black president” and Hillary’s attempts to simultaneously deploy racial arguments while leveling charges of racism against Obama, she remains locked in a competitive race. It appears that voters are beginning to sour on the politics of race; Obama may be a quasi-socialist, but it is worth noting that he has risen to national prominence without campaigning on the basis of race.
The “Politics of Personal Destruction”
Though the phrase was made popular by the Clintons during the impeachment proceedings, Bill and Hillary have turned dirty-tricks politicking into an art form. From the smearing of Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick to the “Obama is Muslim” emails sent out by a former Hillary staffer, the Clintons have never evinced a desire to take the high road when the low road would serve better.
During the Clinton presidency of the ‘90’s and prior to the rise of the blogosphere, Clinton nastiness was helpfully airbrushed by the willing mainstream media. 2008, it seems, is a different ball game. Every time Hillary has gone for the jugular, whether in debates, or at press conferences, the nastiness has been widely reported. Having caught a glimpse of the true Clintons, the voters don’t appear to like what they see.
Make no mistake; the Clintons did not invent political personal attacks or race-based politics, but they have been eager proponents and willing beneficiaries of both.
There was a time in the early ‘90’s when Bill Clinton was described as the savior of the Democratic party, and Hillary was lauded for her intelligence and policy acumen. However, after fifteen years, their legacy is one of dishonesty, division, and political thuggery. Whether separately or together, it’s time for them to go home.
Nathan Tabor is a nationally-syndicated writer. His column appears Fridays in the Times-Republican.