Saturday, June 04, 2016

Hillary's Problems

Hillary Clinton will certainly become the Democratic candidate for President and is still the favorite to win but she has far more obstacles than expected.

First there's history. The White House normally changes parties every 8 years. People are usually tiring of the sitting president and his attempted successor is usually seen as a shadow or the President. That makes for a hard sell. George H. W. Bush was the only successor to score a decisive win. Hillary wasn't even vice-president. She was only Secretary of State for one term.

Bill Clinton has emerged as a bigger liability than an asset. As a campaigner he's touchy about his own record and doesn't stick to the script but that's minor. It's his history as president that's the problem.

In 2008, Hillary had a great campaign message - elect me and I'll turn back the Bush years and bring back the Clinton years. That's no longer valid. Bill took office 24 years ago and left office16 years ago. He's ancient history and any attempt to bring back the Clinton years is seen as rolling back the Obama years as well as the Bush years.

The Democratic Party has changed considerably since Bill left office. A short list of Bill's major accomplishments includes NAFTA, Welfare Reform and his Crime Bill. Bernie is running against all of those. Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act are also from Bill's years and despised by current Democrats.

Then there's Bill's record against women. By today's standards, he sexually assaulted several women and may have outright raped two. He was impeached for lying about a relationship with an intern. While Hillary cannot be blamed for Bill's actions, she can be blamed for her own complicity. She took the lead in covering these up and lead a campaign of personal destruction against any women who came forward. It's hard to see someone as a champion of women's rights when she acted like this.

Hillary can be her own worst enemy. She lacks Bill's warmth. Her campaign prefers small, controlled events to the huge rallies that Bernie and Trump hold. That's because she comes across as shrill and unlikable at large rallies.

She has few actual credentials. In 1988, CBS ran a series on George H. W. Bush entitled "Tracks" that implied that he had held a lot of positions but left few track. The same is true for Hillary. Her time as First Lady was billed as a co-presidency but her only actual assignment, health care reform, died on the vine. She was considered a Senate leader but only because everyone knew that she was using it as a spring-board to the Presidency. She accomplished very little in her 8 years. This was also true of her 4 years as Secretary of State.

Few people trust Hillary and with good reason.She has a long history of questionable activities. Most people have forgotten her commodities trading when she made $100,000 in one day then quit. Whitewater began as an investigation to see if Bill used his authority as Governor of Arkansas to try to save his investment in a real estate deal. The White House travel office was fired and replaced with Clinton campaign staffers, reportedly at Hillary's insistence. The White house Lincoln Bedroom was turned into a bed and breakfast for major donors. The Clinton Foundation has been described as the Clinton's personal slush fund with the possibility that large donations were made to it with the expectation of favors from the State Department. Hillary's $200,000+ speeches to Wall Street were probably more about gaining the favor of a future president than hearing her financian advice.

Expect Trump to dig up all of this.

Finally, Hillary is trying to sell herself as a candidate of change when she represents the status quo better than any politician alive. Both Bernie and Trump are attracting huge support by claiming that the system is rigged against regular people. Their details differ but both promise to change international agreements to benefit average Americans. Hillary will never be able to convince people that she is as much an agent of change as these loose cannons. Her only real option is to run as a stabilizing influence. 

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