Sunday, April 08, 2007

Hillary's George Bush problem

With a mere 18 month to go before the election, I'd better hurry with my thinking about Hillary Clinton.


Here's my take on Hillary. Gobs of money or not, she doesn't have a prayer of winning the nomination, let alone moving back to Pennsylvania Avenue.

Her biggest problem is that she is resonating with the worst president this nation has ever had, namely the current one.

It isn't that Hillary is Bush-bad. Indeed she would likely be as good at the top job as her spouse was, maybe better.

That's not saying a lot, but it is night-and-day better than what we have.

Still Hillary reflects much of what the public has come to despise about Bush.

Most noticeably, and notably, she has an palpable arrogance about her—particularly with regard to her failure to repudiate her Iraq position. In her own way, she is "staying the course." Between now and November 2008, the electorate will grow even more weary of such hubris and inflexibility.

The other obvious shared trait is the political dynasticism, also out of favor. With Bush, the problem seems oedipal with more than a hint of familial entitlement. With Hillary, the connection has more to do with the baggage of the Clinton political machine and of the toxic sexual dynamics left over from the "domestic" policy of the Clinton White House.

Those are the obvious similarities. There are others.

Hillary's failed, cobbled-together health plan of yore could have been designed by the same folks who patched together Bush's convoluted drug plan and his failed social security "reform." And Bill's tactical maneuvering over welfare "reform" and NAFTA—certainly not initiatives Hillary has repudiated—would have fit nicely into the Bush agenda, except Clinton got to them first.

Finally, of course, all the big globs of money are going to Hillary, just as they did to Bush. The "lumpen" bucks are going elsewhere, particularly to Obama and Edwards. Call me crazy, but the numbers that come closest to reflecting votes are numbers of flesh-and-blood contributors, not numbers of dollars.

The fund-raising figures released last week underscore that W and Hillary also belong to the same political/economic class. It's a class interested in winning, power, global economic dominance and self-aggrandizement. It doesn't care which party produces the goods, as long as one does. Its agenda hardly celebrates social justice, the environment, peace and equality.

Sadly for Hillary, short of a messy political divorce (I use the word advisedly), there is little she can do to break her associations with the failure now in the White House.

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