Has the Clinton luck run out?

It is both amusing and entertaining to watch Hillary and Bill pulling the strings of the media – all of which so dearly love to cover and report on the Clintons. It’s as if they were producing a future White House reality show. And, while covering the Clintons, the media seems in a constant state of tittering Nirvana.  In a word, they all are hoping that Hill and Bill go back to the White House in 2017 because they know what a great media show it would be.

After all, look at the entertainment and political drama the Clintons have brought us these past 25 years. Bill: Whitewater, serial womanizing, lying under oath, impeachment, disbarment. Hill: “sniper fire”, then as the transplanted senator from New York, the first run for president on 2007, the card punching tour as Secretary of State, finishing with Benghazi, the bump on the head and the goofy glasses. Then, from Hillary, comes perhaps the best Clinton quote of all time: “What difference does it make?” [that is, next to the classic “shame on you, Barrack Obama”].

Well, what difference does it make? Probably not much – at least as far as the media is concerned – this because they would much rather cover Bill and Hillary, or Hillary and Bill than anybody or anything else, especially in Washington.

But, to many, even those who might consider voting for her, a key question remains: Is Hillary as lucky as Bill?  I think not – and she probably knows it – and may even decide not to run because of it.  While she may be a lot of other complex things, she is clearly the smarter half of the Clinton household and they both seem to know it.

But again: Is she lucky enough to be president?

To illustrate the critical importance of the luck factor, let’s look at the Bill side of the Clinton track record:

  • Bill, who was only known outside Arkansas as “the guy who sounds like Elvis,” wins in 1991 primarily because squeaky Texan Ross Perot split the Republican Party and took 20 million votes away from GWB Bush! In other words, Bill is elected as a result of a dumb fracture on the Republican side. Very lucky!
  • Bill quickly learns that he needs to “triangulate” with the Republicans to get anything done in Washington; and this, of course, offends the liberal left, who believed that he sold them out. They were, of course, sold out – but Bill also knows this: Whom else can they vote for? Lucky again, and he wins a second term.
  • Bill basks in the post Cold War [thank you Ronald Reagan!] era of economic prosperity in this country – i.e., the 90’s – and for this he does nothing except allow our economic system do what it does best (and what it has recently done again). Sure, Bill takes total credit for it – what politician wouldn’t – but the truth is, and most everybody knows it, he and his administration had very little to do with the prosperity he inherited from the end of 50 plus years of a very expensive Cold War. Lucky, lucky, lucky – and thanks again Ronnie!
  • There apparently was so little for Bill to do in the White House that he chases interns. And, the rest of us had so little else to do – again thanks to the end of the Cold War – that we spent the rest of his presidency watching his impeachment for – believe it or not – lying, which he clearly did, but it was, in the view of the Senate, in the “so what” category. Lucky again, but it was such a total waste of our time that we were very happy to see him go. Remember that?  It was called “Clinton fatigue” and we all had it.

For Hillary, things have not been very good in the “good luck department”:

  • She always seems to get caught in the lie. Now, this may simply be because Bill is far more charming and believable than Hillary. However, when she says stuff like “sniper fire” – and how they left the White House “poor” – nobody believes it. She is not as good at it as Bill – who can lie just like George Costanza told Jerry Seinfeld to do it, i.e., that it’s not a lie “if you really believe it”. Bill always seems to believe it – but Hillary just doesn’t have that political gift. Not only not lucky but also not believable.
  • She doesn’t sound anything like Elvis and nor can she seem to “feel our pain”. Why not?  Remember, she’s from Chicago (like Barrack Obama, and a whole line of nefarious mayors and other politicians from there, some of whom went to jail). Not likable and not lucky.
  • She clearly is very short of temper and demonstrates it all too frequently. She gets mad and actually says what she is thinking, something Bill never does, and this while biting his lower lip to avoid it. The worst example for Hillary was the post Benghazi, post head bump, goofy glasses grilling she got in the Senate when she clearly was very ticked off and blurted out: “What difference does it make?” This was a heck of a lot different from “feeling someone’s pain” and she should have known better – especially after hearing Bill say it so often. Again, not likeable and very unlucky.
  • Lastly, she is still married to good old Bill, and if she is actually elected President, we’ll also have four more years of good old Bill, whether we want it or not. And, my guess is that we probably don’t want it – and it’s this reality that will cause voters to say, “I don’t think so”. Recall that when Bill’s second term was finally over, many of us were glad to see him (and the rest of the Clinton drama) go away. And the possibility of that kind of theatre again  – while great fun for the media – is unsettling for many of us. In sum, and all other things considered, it is Bill that is the unluckiest “thing” in the way of Hillary’s presidential aspirations.

So, are we – finally – done with the Clintons? We’ll know soon – however, in this context we should remember Napoleon’s rule when selecting his commanders: Don’t bring me good Generals – bring me lucky ones”. That’s also a very insightful qualification for presidential leadership – applying it here, however, reveals that 1) the luck ran out with Bill, and 2) Hillary still has Bill.