Carol Platt Liebau: The Clinton "Legacy"

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Clinton "Legacy"

Mark Steyn tells some hard truths about the vaunted Clinton magic; that is, with husband and wife alike, there was no "there" there -- aside, of course, from a heaping helping of chutzpah.

As Hillary's looking ever less likely to emerge as the inevitable nominee she was supposed to have been, it's worth pausing a moment to remember that the supposed "good old days" of the Clinton presidency weren't, it appears, as beloved by normal Americans as the Clintons and the press perhaps thought.

The American public gave its seal of approval to the Reagan presidency when it elected George H.W. Bush for "four more years" of the same. Eight years after throwing him out of office (in large part for failing to follow in Reagan's footsteps), weary of Clintonian scandal, voters acknowledged the essential decency of Bush pere and elected his son to the presidency in what has to count as one of the oddest apologies (or greatest acts of buyers' remorse) in history.

Now contrast. Bill Clinton's vice-president didn't get the gig despite eight years of peace and prosperity. They can blame it all they want on Gore's supposedly lackluster campaign skills, but recall that George H.W. Bush was no ball of fire on the campaign trail, either, and he still managed to win. And now, what was supposed to have been the Clinton Restoration -- the electoral expression of soulful yearning for a return to the good old days of the '90's -- isn't, to all appearances, going to happen.

Perhaps no one should have been surprised that Bill Clinton's shadow wasn't longer -- after all, he never succeeded in winning a majority of the vote even (as Mark Steyn points out) against a remarkably weak opponent in 1996.

Vote counts don't lie. It's looking like Bill's supposed political legacy (like the dreaded Clinton "machine") was just another Clintonian sleight of hand where not-too-much was dressed up as oh-so-much-more -- until it became evident that the emperor (and empress, for that matter) had no clothes at all.

Pay no attention to the couple behind the curtain!


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