Sunday, February 17, 2008

Campaign 08: Hillary, "Bill Under Control"

Schopenhauer once observed that "to forgive and to forget is to lose a valuable experience." The observation came to mind as I read an editorial by David Sanders today. In part, it reads:

There was another time when Democrats wanted to forget the Clintons. It was a slow fade. In his farewell address to the nation in 2001, President Clinton extolled the virtues of his accomplishments and instructed the incoming president to stay the course. Before Bill and Hillary jetted to their new New York home following George W. Bush's inauguration, he told supporters and former administration officials at a crowded Andrews Air Force Base hangar, "We are not going anywhere!"

... when presented with a fresh start, Clinton made no use of it. The same clouds of scandal and controversy, which cast shadows over HIS entire presidency set in at the beginning of his post-presidency. Clinton garnered unwanted publicity for a greedy duo of mini-scandals first, by lifting several thousands of dollars of White House furniture and his pursuance of a high-priced office in a palatial New York City high-rise.

Then there was his pardon of fugitive-financier Marc Rich, who had been on the run for evading millions of dollars in taxes and doing business with the Iranian government while it held American hostages?There was an indissoluble link between the pardon and the millions of dollars given to the Clintons by Rich's ex-wife, Denise, through campaign contributions, donations to the presidential library and even personal gifts. Despite his assurances at the time to the contrary, the pardon had all the appearances of a quid pro quo. Clinton was on his own, calling friendly reporters and opinion-makers trying to explain his pardon. Democrats, who had defended all of Clinton's intolerable actions in office, openly castigated the former president. Daily, Democratic members of Congress made the rounds on the 24-hour cable news channels to express their disgust for Clintons' departing actions. Even The New York Times reported at the time that the Clinton/Rich scandal had a dramatic impact on the Democratic Party's fund-raising efforts. Various donors, who were being hit up at the time for campaign cash, cited the "cash for pardons" scandal as a key factor in their decision not to give.

Shortly after he left office Democrats just wanted Clinton to go away, because - they'd had enough. Just last week, Hillary all but guaranteed that her husband wouldn't be the source of scandal in her White House if she was elected president. How could she be so confident? She can't control him when he's out on the campaign trail. Democrats have had to come to terms with what putting the Clintons back into the White House might mean for their party. Apparently more of them are seeking the same clean break some Democrats sought in 2001.

See full editorial here.

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