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Wed May 27, 2015, 11:57 AM

Populist Group Post: Is it really out of order to mention Bill Clinton? [View all]

Last edited Tue Jul 7, 2015, 07:45 AM - Edit history (1)

A while back, DUers were posting lists of things that should not be mentioned in connection with Hillary Clinton during this primary, lest he or she who mentioned it be considered sexist. Not a difference of opinion or a different interpretation of facts, mind you, but bigotry. (Months before that, I'd been "informed" that anyone who made any mention at all of the Bosnia airport story was sexist, but that claim is too ludicrous on its face to warrant discussion.)

The list included Bill Clinton and his administration--as though Hillary somehow has nothing to do with the man she chose to be her husband and the father of her child, nothing to do with the man she helped sell to America in 1992, the man to who she has chosen to remain married for decades, etc. As a mom and a wife with my own career, I find this nonsensical as well as all too convenient.

In 1985, the conservative wing of the Democratic Party founded the DLC in hopes of altering the Democratic Party. Among the founding members were a group of professional politicians.....and Hillary Clinton. As best as I have been able to determine, she was the only founding member of the DLC who joined as the spouse of a politician.

When Bill Clinton ran for POTUS in 1992, he said that electing him would give America two for the price of one, meaning him and Hillary.

During the campaign, questions of conflict of interest regarding state business and the politically powerful Rose Law Firm, at which Hillary Rodham Clinton was a partner, arose. Clinton argued the questions were moot because all transactions with the state had been deducted before determining Hillary's firm pay.[3][46] Further concern arose when Bill Clinton announced that, with Hillary, voters would be getting two presidents "for the price of one".[47]


Hillary never demurred. So, I think it's more than fair to say that they sold his administration as as a joint Presidency. Consistent with this, in 1996, America was asked to re-elect Bill AND Hillary, as though Hillary had been elected in 1992.

Bill Clinton had also sold his candidacy by campaigning on national health care. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_health_care_plan_of_1993

Soon after the 1993 inauguration, it was clear that Hillary was to lead the effort to pass health care legislation, something so extraordinary and unprecedented in American presidential politics that Hillary's role, especially the secrecy of the proceedings involving a "private citizen," became the subject of litigation.

The First Lady's role in the secret proceedings of the Health Care Task Force also sparked litigation in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, in relation to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) which requires openness in government. The Clinton White House argued that the Recommendation Clause in Article II of the U.S. Constitution would make it unconstitutional to apply the procedural requirements of FACA to Mrs. Clinton's participation in the meetings of the Task Force. Some constitutional experts argued to the court that such a legal theory was not supported by the text, history, or structure of the Constitution.[15] Ultimately, Hillary Clinton won the litigation in June 1993, when the D.C. Circuit ruled narrowly that the First Lady of the United States could be deemed a government official (and not a mere private citizen) for the purpose of not having to comply with the procedural requirements of FACA.[16][17]

Also in February 1993, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, along with several other groups, filed a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and Donna Shalala over closed-door meetings related to the health care plan. The AAPS sued to gain access to the list of members of the task force. In 1997, Judge Royce C. Lamberth found in favor of the plaintiffs and awarded $285,864 to the AAPS for legal costs; Lamberth also harshly criticized the Clinton administration and Clinton aide Ira Magaziner in his ruling.[18] Subsequently, a federal appeals court overturned in 1999 the award and the initial findings on the basis that Magaziner and the administration had not acted in bad faith.[19]


The result of the litigation was that Hillary, as First Lady, was declared a public official. Why? Because she was married to Bill while he was President; because he and she chose this role for her and because they decided to litigate to have her declared a public official.

Perhaps ironically....

In September 2007, former Clinton Administration senior health policy advisor Paul Starr published an article named "The Hillarycare Mythology",[30] where he asserted that Bill Clinton, not Hillary Clinton, was the driving force behind the plan at all stages of its origination and development; that the task force headed by Hillary Clinton quickly became useless and was not the primary force behind formulating the proposed policy; and that "Not only did the fiction of Hillary's personal responsibility for the health plan fail to protect the president at the time, it has also now come back to haunt her in her own quest for the presidency."[30]

Had the healthcare bill passed, it would very likely have been the legislation that Bill in fact, would be pointing to today as his legacy, not NAFTA, DADT, DOMA, the Telecommunications Act or Gramm, Leach, Bliley. Concomitantly, I very much doubt that Hillary would have tried to disassociate herself from it when running for President, either in either 2008 or 2016.

As it was, it failed for many reasons, including that Congressional Democrats were not willing to back it. However, it became a model for Romneycare in Massacusetts. (Romney did attempt to distance his plan from that of the Clintons, but his attempts were lame and unconvincing.)

As stated above, in 1996, America was asked to re-elect Hillary and Bill Clinton.

Sometimes, ONLY Hillary Clinton

When Hillary ran for the US Senate against Lazio, she endorsed Bill's action in having ended "welfare as we know it."


Of Hillary and Republican Lazio, Deepak Bhargava, director of public policy at the Center for Community Change, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group based in Washington, said: ''Neither of them can be called a staunch defender of antipoverty programs.'' Instead, he said, they have worked on more marginal items. id.

In 2007-08 Hillary opted for "a tight embrace" of the legacy of the Clinton administration, taking credit for its positive aspects.

Additionally, during her 2008 campaign, she cited her experiences as her husband's first lady as though they added to her qualifications to be President. And she referred to events during his administration using words like "us," "we" and "our." For example, I remember her response when some members of the LGBT community told her they'd worked to elect her husband, then were so disappointed in his treatment of them: "I thought we did very well," she responded. During that primary, she also named Bill Clinton as one of the ten best Presidents in all of US history.

And the main basis for her assertion (of being far more experienced than Obama) is the time she spent as first lady. Bill Clinton is hitting the theme hard as the voting in Iowa and New Hampshire draws closer, pointing back to the 1990s, citing his record as his wife's, referring to the work "we" did in office and, for the most part, brushing past or ignoring the tumult of those years.


On Thursday night in Holderness, N.H., the former president returned again and again in his hour-long speech to the achievements of his administration as proof that his wife would be able to bring results if she were elected. Several times, he cited the statistics on the economic gains of the 1990s -- the rise in family income, the decline in poverty and in the number of uninsured, and the increase in students obtaining college aid ("I still know the numbers," he said).


For all his talk about the 1990s, though, the former president does not go into great detail about the role his wife played in his administration, instead simply leaving the impression that she was part of the team that brought about the decade's gains.


At times, his pitch for his wife is focused so much on his own accomplishments as president that it almost sounds as if he himself is running for reelection. In a two-hour interview Thursday with the Concord Monitor, he referred to his having made a "terrible mistake" while president, an apparent reference to the Monica S. Lewinsky scandal, and then added: "The voters will have to make their own judgments about that. I've done everything I could, first of all, to try to be a good president and, secondly, to try to be a good after-president."

As Bill and Hillary had in 1996, many of her supporters tried to sell her 2008 candidacy as a two for one deal, with no demurrer from either of the Clintons Additionally, Bill also took a highly visible (and vocal) role in her 2007-08 Presidential primary campaign, at times sounding as though he were her Svengali:

Since all that did not work out too well, Bill may take a less visible role this time, but he is still there.


So, it seems Hillary is, and always has been, very willing to be fully associated with her husband's politics and Presidency--as long as it appears that so doing could possibly advantage her. However, one must take all or nothing and it is way too late in this game to opt for nothing, nor has Hillary done so. Bottom line: Neither the Clintons nor their supporters should expect to have it every which way on this issue.

(Obviously, if Hillary had been President first and Bubba had behaved about her administration and his experience as First Gentleman the same way as she has, the exact same realities would obtain if he were runninng for the Presidency.)

ETA: Recently, I heard that Hillary does not want to be judged by her husband's administration or by her past, including her past campaigns for Senate and POTUS, only by her current campaign. No doubt she does not. However, I don't think she gets to decide whether voters will have amnesia. And, trust me, if Hillary or Bill or Hillary's campaign think any of the foregoing will help Hillary's current campaign, we'll hear about it.

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Reply Populist Group Post: Is it really out of order to mention Bill Clinton? [View all]
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