Jonathan Chait has joined the liberal choir experiencing buyers remorse for Hillary Rodham Clinton. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times previously fired two bullets (here and here) at Hillary, first comparing her to Nixon (leading to the affectionate nickname “Grandma Nixon”), then encouraging her to run like a Tumblr Chick (I doubt Hillary has ever visited the site), or as Tina Fey’s “Bitch is the new black.”
Chait, ever the liberal shill, blames Hillary’s Fukushima factor on Ol’ Bill.
(I almost stopped reading his piece in New York Magazine after the second sentence: [TRIGGER WARNING] “Jimmy Carter was an ineffective president who became an exemplary post-president.” The adjective “exemplary” applied to Jimmy Carter, in any possible way, tends to give me dystonic seizures, but fortunately I had a bite stick handy and continued past that bit of sewer gas.)
In Chait’s opposite-world, Bill Clinton was an effective president who became an ineffective former president. I will grant that Bill Clinton’s second four years was pretty effective, although that may have been as much due to Newt Gingrich as Bill Clinton. What Chait didn’t say is the least effective part of Bill Clinton’s presidency—other than leaving his fly down—Bill’s biggest embarrassment was Hillary.
When you are a power couple consisting of a former president and a current secretary of State and likely presidential candidate, you have the ability to raise a lot of money for charitable purposes that can do a lot of good. But some of the potential sources of donations will be looking to get something in return for their money other than moral satisfaction or the chance to hobnob with celebrities. Some of them want preferential treatment from the State Department, and others want access to a potential future Clinton administration. To run a private operation where Bill Clinton will deliver a speech for a (huge) fee and a charity that raises money from some of the same clients is a difficult situation to navigate. To overlay that fraught situation onto Hillary’s ongoing and likely future government service makes it all much harder.
So it’s all Bill’s fault.
Except it isn’t.
Chait quoted Ryan Lizza’s piece in The New Yorker on the reasons why Bill “pushed Hillary to take the job of Secretary of State.”
For one thing, having his spouse in that position didn’t hurt his work at the Clinton Global Initiative. He invites foreign leaders to the initiative’s annual meeting, and her prominence in the Administration can be an asset in attracting foreign donors. “Bill Clinton’s been able to continue to be the Bill Clinton we know, in large part because of his relationship with the White House and because his wife is the Secretary of State,” the Clinton associate continued. “It worked out very well for him. That may be a very cynical way to look at it, but that’s a fact. A lot of the stuff he’s doing internationally is aided by his level of access.”
Everything works out very well for Ol’ Bill, because he’s actually a likable guy. He has a way of spinning sh*t into Shinola and getting you to chuckle at his jokes while he does it. I’ve seen the man in person, and The Force is strong in him.
But the argument falls apart there. Hillary had to know that Bill would use her position as SecState to feather his own CGI bed. So that either makes her the most gullible, wet-noodled idiot ever to rise to high office, or it makes her complicit in every way. There’s no middle ground here. There’s no “Bill encouraged me to use my own email server, and I never questioned it, but I make my own decisions.”
Hillary knew what she was doing. She’s always known what she was doing, and Bill is merely incidental to her plans. She has stuck with him for 39 years of infidelity for the singular reason that things tend to work out for him, and she got to ride the same wagon-train-to-the-stars. But when Hillary put her own hand on the reins, well, let’s just say the magic wasn’t there.
The magic still isn’t there. It will never be there.
Blaming Hillary’s deficiencies on Bill is simply ass-covering by the liberal press, so later if things don’t work out, they can say “see, I told you so!”
But the die is cast—Hillary will be the Democratic Party nominee—nobody else is even in sight, and there’s no way the Hillary machine will allow another upstart (like Barack Obama in 2008) to get in the way of her coronation. Then watch Chait, and Dowd, and the rest of the Liberal Echo Chamber Choir pull out their old hymn books and join in singing the Gospel of Hillary.
They’ll sing, all right, but that doesn’t mean they’ll like the tune. Hillary will just never be cool like Bill, and it’s grossly unfair to blame Bill for that.