Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Comeback Couple

San Jose, CA – In 1992 George Bush Sr. had not yet looked at his watch and found that it was time for the Republican Party to die. He was riding high on a wave built up by the Reagan Revolution, aided by Reagan Democrats, liberals voting for relatively conservative candidates. In 1992 the incumbent Republican President should have won the election. At one point his approval ratings were 80%.

Also in 1992 during the Democratic Primary, Democratic Nominee Hopeful Bill Clinton was having issues. Big issues. Not only had he lost the first primary badly, (Iowa Caucus), but the scandals were already beginning. There had been rumors before, but now word came out that he had dodged the draft. At the same time the famous Jennifer Flowers incident occurred, with Flowers claiming she and Clinton had an extra-marital affair.
The Clinton’s went on CBS 60 Minutes to refute the charges, and went to work doggedly writing and airing ads, pressing palms and assuring everyone it was a “draft he never dodged.” It worked. In the next Primary (New Hampshire), Clinton won second place, a huge surge from nearly calling quits only weeks before. He began labeling himself the Comeback Kid.
Of course, from that Comeback Bill Clinton never looked back. He went on to win the presidency that year, and again four years later. But during his second term in the White House, the scandals came again. And again. From Hair-gate, Travel-gate, and Whitewater, the Clintons, it seemed, were not able to stay out of trouble. Then there was the famous Monica Lewinsky Scandal which nearly made Bill Clinton the first president in American History to be removed from office by the congress. Yet, somehow, he survived.
But the scandals were there. It is now common knowledge that Clinton lied to the people. He lied to the investigators; he stonewalled, stalled and prevaricated. His own, perhaps closest aid, Dick Morris has since written a book Because He Could, wildly attacking his former boss, claiming, in so many words, he was a serial liar.
On the evening of September 11, 2012, the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked by unknown militants of Islamic Faith. Four Americans died that night. Since then it seems to have emerged that the state department, possibly to the highest levels, failed that night. Of course, at that time the highest level was Hillary Clinton, the woman who had survived, with her husband, the Whitewater Scandal twenty years ago. She weathered that storm, and though she has since resigned from the Obama Administration she and her followers are attempting to weather this one too, which has now been two years and two days in the offing.
Bill and Hillary could have given up all those years ago in 1992 when the original bout of scandals was exposed. In fact, any person with less drive probably would have. They could have called it quits many times since then. When their good friend Vince Foster committed suicide, giving the conspiracy theorists a field day, or when rumors began that Governor Clinton had used the Arkansas State Police to fine consorts for him. But neither ever did. They always came back. And it looks like they are coming back again.
Polls suggest that Hillary is a leading candidate for the Democratic Nominee in 2016. The Clinton drive to win, and their winning machine may be ramping up again. Money is already gathering, and they certainly have answers for every possible scandal that the public will be reminded of.
But of course, Hillary has not yet said she will run. So it is still all speculation. But if she does, (an there are many, many who think she will) the Comeback Couple will be out again, campaign smiles on, arms out for hugging, wallets out for donations happily excepted. We will see them on television again, maybe even CBS 60 Minutes, heralding all things Hillary will do for America, just as, twenty-two years ago, they heralded all the things Bill would do.
Oh, the speeches will be well delivered, the makeup put on well, and Hillary’s hair dyed perfectly to hide the effects that long public service has had on her. But beneath it all we are left wondering, who are they really?

Andrew C. Abbott

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