This weekend, as I watched Obama and the Democrats — my least favorite 1950s-Kenyan-Muslim-socialist doo-wop group — get crushed worse than Baltimore against the Yankees, I wondered what Hillary Clinton, former presidential candidate and current Sue Storm impersonator, would say about how all this was handled.
Sure, it’s easy for Clinton to say this now but where was she three years ago when this insight might have been useful? If she had successfully punctured the naive optimism of the Obama Movement ™, would we have been spared the Tea Party, John Boehner, and worst of all, the constant references to Boehner’s skintone? The only way to find out is to take a trip in my Time Travel Closet (patent pending) and deliver Clinton’s message to the American voters of 2008.
(First, let me just clear some room for you in my Time Travel Closet, put aside some of these old Commodores records and Criterion Collection laserdiscs. OK, we’re all set… now back to 2008!)
And we’re back… so, what is the America of 2011 like in a Hillary Clinton Administration?
No Sarah Palin: Imagine three years of Sarah Palin on the world stage. Now imagine passing a kidney stone the size of Alaska for three years straight. Tragically, John McCain never gave us the option of going with the kidney stone when he selected then-Alaska governor Palin as his running mate in a blatant attempt to court disappointed female Democrats and Independents. The primary battle between Clinton and Obama had been contentious and there was serious concern regarding whether bitter Hillary supporters would swing their support to Obama in November or simply stay home or, worse, vote for McCain. After a brief surge in popularity, Palin crumbled under the relentless grilling of Katie Couric — the same woman whose tough interviewing skills brought down “Sesame Street” — and Obama carried the day. Unfortunately, Palin never left. She made reality shows and her children made reality shows. They are like the Barrymores if the entire family was less talented than Drew and their best effort was equal in quality to “Duplex.” However, if Clinton had secured the nomination, Palin would have remained in Alaska and both the world of politics and televised dancing competitions would be the better for it.
No Tea Party: A great deal of the Tea Party’s vitriol is directly related to the election of Barack Obama and the imaginary bogeyman they have constructed in his image. The left had issues with George W. Bush but they were connected to non-made-up things he did — unjustified wars and violations of civil liberties — rather than deranged rantings on talk radio and Fox News. Meanwhile, the Tea Party claims Obama is not a native of the U.S., a socialist, and a Muslim, all of which are demonstrably false and the latter is not even a negative but a Constitutionally protected right. Now an arguably racist and nativist reaction to the nation’s first black chief executive was not entirely unexpected but it is a reality that was perhaps overlooked in the Fantasy of Unity that voters were sold in 2008. Keep in mind that Clinton was the candidate painted as having too much “baggage.” Sure, Obama was the fresh-faced candidate but that face is still black and this is still America, a country whose states are united only in their division.
Granted, Glenn Beck would still have scribbled furiously on his chalkboard about Clinton’s ties to communism and murder but Clinton — much like Little Edie Beale — knows how to get dressed for battle. What’s especially interesting is that even the drivers of what Clinton famously referred to as a “vast right-wing conspiracy” prefer Bill Clinton to Obama:
Former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who prompted a government shutdown in 1995 after pushing to cut former President Bill Clinton’s budget priorities, yesterday blasted President Obama’s “arrogant, distant” political posturing during the current budget brouhaha.
“There’s also a difference in schmoozing,” Gingrich said of the two Democrats. “I have not talked to anybody who has been on the Republican side who has been impressed with Obama in private meetings. They all find him to be arrogant and distant and aloof.”
This could just be Gingrich praising one of his exes while in the process of divorcing yet another wife. He did once refer to Clinton’s presidency as the “rough equivalent of the Jerry Springer show.” However, Obama’s greatest achievement can’t be arousing hatred in his political adversaries so great that their contempt for the Clintons seems almost cordial.
And the Tea Party is not just an annoyance or fodder for Keith Olbermann. There are historical parallels to the period after Reconstruction known as “Redemption.” Political missteps from the “Radical Republicans” (not to be confused with today’s right-leaning Radical Republicans), combined with severe national economic problems, led to Jim Crow laws, poll taxes, literacy tests and other means to restrict minority voting rights and scale back any gains from Reconstruction. Not that we’d expect this to happen now.
World Remembers Clinton Years: It was unfortunate but perhaps necessary given the circumstances that Obama had to distance himself from the most successful Democratic president in 50 years. As part of his generally futile “reaching across the aisle” efforts, Obama often invokes Ronald Reagan. Republicans might love the Gipper but Obama bringing him up is about as effective as going up to people from the Westboro Baptist Church with their “God Hates Fags” signs and saying, “Judge not yest ye be judged.” It won’t work because you’re quoting Matthew and they’re batshit crazy. Besides, Republicans don’t go out of their way to praise Democratic presidents… well, I suppose unless they are comparing Obama unfavorably to them, which one could argue Obama is trying to do with Reagan. This is more depressing than constructive. Conversely, Hillary would not have had to run away from the positive aspects of the Clinton years and would have never let anyone forget for a second that the country was far better off during the Bill Clinton administration so why challenge her policies that are basically an extension of his?
But, alas, you can’t change the past… even with the Time Travel Closet (patent pending)… we must simply face the future we have, even if it is shaping up to be more “Mad Max” than “Star Trek.”