Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Billary Chronicles, Continued

The liberal backlash against the Clintons continues to mount. Exhibit 1 this morning is NY Times columnist Bob Herbert:

Bill Clinton, in his over-the-top advocacy of his wife’s candidacy, has at times sounded like a man who’s gone off his medication. And some of the Clinton surrogates have been flat-out reprehensible. . .

Still, it’s legitimate to ask, given the destructive developments of the last few weeks, whether the Clintons are capable of being anything but divisive. It makes one wonder whether they have any understanding or regard for the corrosive long-term effects — on their party and the nation — of pitting people bitterly and unnecessarily against one another. What kind of people are the Clintons?

Okay, so we know Herbert is a slow learner, since most of the rest of us know the answer to that last question.

Exhibit 2 is WaPo columnist Colbert King, who writes today of "that superficially charming, self-absorbed couple Billary, ever so possessed with an outsize sense of entitlement." More:

If they make it there -- a big if -- the only unanswered question is where Bill will choose to hang his hat. Will it be in her old space in the East Wing, or will he set up shop in the West Wing? Smart money is on Billary settling in the Oval Office with "his" and "hers" desks. Who would have thought, eight years ago, that the country might get back Billary, two people reeking of self-pity and spoiling for fights with anyone who has the temerity to stand in their way?

Now, both Herbert and King are columnists who, as the old trope might go, "happen to be black," and so no doubt some Clinton surrogates will dismiss them for merely sticking with racial solidarity. But who is that has fostered this kind of racial solidarity, and sense of "entitlement," in the first place?

After Mondale was smashed up in the 1984 election, Kevin Phillips wrote that it signaled “the death knell for the smokestack wing of the Democratic Party.” To be replaced by what? The identity politics wing of liberalism, that’s what. Now we are seeing the chickens come home to roost. Interestingly, shortly after the 1984 election, Bill Clinton commented to journalist Peter Brown about Jesse Jackson that “I have never believed Democrats need to distance themselves from him. I think Democrats need to disagree with him.” Sister Souljah didn’t know it, but Clinton had painted a bullseye on her back, with a use-by date of 1992. Now it’s Obama’s turn.

Discussions - 3 Comments

The distinction being, of course, that S. Souljah and J. Jackson richly deserved it, and Obama doesn't. On race, my impression is that Obama is far more New Democrat than he is Jesse Jackson/Al Charlatan. I.e., some level of interest-group politics remains necessary for blacks, but don't overdo it, emphasize the need for a winning national coalition.

And, ... the journalists must ask the Voegeli question!

The conventional wisdom, crafted by Dick Morris and echoed by others, is that an Obama win in SC will create a white backlash for Hillary.

Maybe. I'm not so sure. Clinton may well go on to secure the nomination, but that may be more due to Obama's shallowness than anti-black bigotry.

My sense is that Obama has played the race card just about right. An overt appeal to black victimhood and entitlement (the Sharpton model) would be rich ground for a white backlash, but Obama has not done that. My sense is that Obama's race is not the first thing in people's minds when they consider his candidacy. The Clintons are trying to make it so, and they make succeed, but I don't think right now that's the case.

I am enjoying the growing realization that Bill is captain of the ship -- always was, always will be. Democrats will fall lockstep in the fall if need be, of course. But for now, the discomfort we witness on some is a sight to see.

And interestingly, when Bill ran against GHW Bush and Bob Dole, there was no such negative campaigning. Karl Rove certainly has changed the landscape!

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