Hillary’s Fatal Flaw: Biding Her Time

Bill Clinton’s speech at the DNC told us something very important: He thinks Hillary’s best hope for 2016 is getting Barack Obama reelected. The Big Dawg came out and gave a stirring speech that was more an indictment of Republicans than it was supportive of Barack Obama. I hate to say it, but Bill Clinton is afraid. I suspect he knows exactly who Romney is and what he can bring to the country. He knows if Romney wins and governs as himself America will prosper, and there goes 2016. Based on this analysis, his and Hillary’s only hope is to keep their weak President in his place until she can run again.

But here’s the thing about our friend Bill: He’s an excellent governor with great skill and lots of political genius, but his performance is always, always marked by his blind spots. It wasn’t just the women, including Monica Lewinsky, during his political career; it was also some of his policy decisions. NAFTA anyone? Listening to him talk about manufacturing success during his speech was a little jarring in the wake of that. The repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1999? A Republican bill, yes, but one he signed, and our current calamity had its birth in his signature. He owns part of it.

Bill, the Man from Hope, is a man of hope. He earnestly hopes that a weak Obama can pave the way for Hillary in 2016. That was what drove his speech tonight, but he is as marred as ever by his own blind spots, and what he doesn’t see is that Hillary is boxed in. She is boxed in by her own fatal flaw: biding her time.

Hillary has been biding her time since she was a child. She first bided her time waiting to get out of her mother’s house. Then she married Bill and bided her time again for her own success. She helped him build his dreams, and as she did, her own dreams grew with his. I know why she did it. I’ve been talking about it for years. She was a student of history and she believed her path was the same as so many women she saw and idolized growing up.

For decades in this country the most efficient path to power for women in America was a well-known father or husband. See Nellie Tayloe Ross or Margaret Chase Smith. Hillary Clinton didn’t have a well-known father, so she helped Bill build his career and she did an excellent job at it. Because of her experience watching the political world, she thought if she did it well enough, she could build her own career on the foundation of his. And why wouldn’t she? It’s the way it was for forever. Young women today stilll do not get this little startling detail about Hillary’s character because they are so ignorant of their own history. They refused to play along with her game plan in 2008.

They refused because a funny thing happened on the way to the 21st century.

A low rumble was heard in the 1970s via such women as Shirley Chisholm, who made their way on their own, thanks to the Second Wave. That rumble grew into something bigger and louder in the 1990s, beginning in 1992, as scores of self-made women infiltrated the hallowed halls of Congress, women who had no family connections in politics at all. Now the new model for women empowering themselves politically is to build it starting small, from education boards and state offices like Michele Bachmann, starting successful businesses like Kristi Noem, or via their notoriety in the manner of Krystal Ball or Sandra Fluke.

That is the model women today know and accept, and they scorn the old model of networking through existing family political connections, even as they do it themselves in other venues, such as business and professional careers. Hillary could not see this new model emerge and could not  capitalize on it, or hide her adherence to the old model. Young, liberal women rejected her for it. Yes, it had a lot to do with their latent, internalized sexism after co-educating and co-habitating with a generation of Progressive Dude Nation, but it was the differences in approach that informed it, I believe. Hillary wanted to be a Margaret Chase Smith when she needed to be a of this new strain. Biding her time did not work for her this time.

A similar thing happened with Barack Obama. You can say it was because she did not know how to address the racism charge, you can say it’s because she’s a loyal Democrat, and both are probably true. But even deeper than that is the fatal flaw she had: she chose to accept the setback and bide her time once again. And now she is boxed in. She doesn’t see it, and Bill doesn’t either, but she is.

The reality on the ground today is this: If Obama is re-elected, there will not be another Democratic president for 12 years. If Romney is elected, there will not be a Democratic president for 12 years at least, maybe 16. This is just how it is. You can argue with me if you want to, but I am absolutely convinced this is true. Here’s why.

Another Obama term will annihilate the Democratic brand. It’s already limping along. The takeover by Obamacrats has sunk the party the lowest depth I have seen in my lifetime. A second term will be worse, because he will be unfettered by the prospect of reelection, and we’ll really get to see who Obama is. I think most of us here know by now that his character is rotten to the core.  America itself may not survive another Obama term in any manifestation that is recognizably American, but his reelection will, to use Elizabeth’s Warren’s well-chosen word, vaporize the Democratic Party. Despite what Bill thinks, Hillary has zero chance if he is reelected.

If Romney is elected, he will be what he has been for his entire life: a success. America will prosper and we will get a handle on an untenable budget situation. He will reinvent the GOP brand in the way FDR reinvented the Democratic brand. He will be better than the GOP version of Bill Clinton or FDR, and better than Reagan, too, because he doesn’t have their character flaws. And unlike Obama, he has chosen his running mate well to capitalize on his own success. Ryan will easily be elected to a first term. He will grow under the mentorship of Mitt Romney and will come out of 8 years entirely ready to assume the helm. It remains to be seen if he can execute a vision, and a second term will depend on that. But trust me on this: A Romney win will lead to at least 12 years of Republican presidents.

And Hillary will have bided her time into oblivion.

In every person’s life there comes a time when one should “go all in, ” to use a poker analogy. That time for Hillary Clinton was in 2008 or this year. She could have won against him in 2008 if she had stood up for herself (and us) after the RBC meeting or at the Convention, and she could have stolen the nomination right from Obama this year in  a walk. She chose to bide her time instead because it is her way, her comfort zone, and because, sadly, she puts party before country. Bill Clinton hoping that Obama is the path forward for her is like hoping for a pair of twos and that that is the winning hand. His fatal flaws–his blind spots and his eternal optimism–are what shown through in his DNC speech.

It’s over. If there is to be another Clinton in high office, it will be Chelsea and decades down the road.

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30 comments on “Hillary’s Fatal Flaw: Biding Her Time

  1. Anna Belle says:

    It’s a damn shame. I really wanted her to be my president. Feeling it tonight.

    • Robert says:

      IMHO there was no better time for Hillary than 2008 – the country needed someone with her acumen and instincts at the helm, and the voting public would have accepted her regardless of what the big wigs in the DNC think. If it wasn’t for the shameless promotion of Obama and the way the party machine turned on her to hand him the nomination the Texas Caucuses will, for me, always be the watershed moment where the party let it be known that the fix was in and that they would allow Obama to lie, intimidate or outright steal the nomination – anything to keep Hillary from being our first President.

  2. DandyTiger says:

    I really think when she didn’t get the nomination, she knew it was already over. No matter what we’ve been wishing for and what Bill might want or what anyone else want, Hillary was already done. She settled with being a Senator and a Secretary of State. Amazing accomplishments. I think she decided right then in 2008 that SOS was it and she would move out of government after that. So I disagree with you about the blind spots and Bill’s logic. I think he is only about helping his party right now.

    I agree with you that if Romney is elected, he will be there when the economy turns around. And he will most likely get a second term. And if they do better than just turning things around, Ryan has a good chance after that.

    But I disagree about Obama in a second term. As much as I don’t like him, I think the economy will likely be turning around no matter who is president. So I think he would leave office a “success”. I don’t think the healthcare debacle will really be understood until after he’s gone.

    Who could be president after an Obama second term depends on how much things turn around. If just a bit, then it will likely be the usual pendulum shift anyway. If it’s great, then a Dem has a pretty good chance. But even in those conditions, I don’t think Hillary has a chance. She’s seen as history, had her term, and lost in ’08. I think the party would be looking for newer blood as it were.

    • You could be right about her, but you’re definitely wrong about him. He wants her to run in 2016. He thinks she’s been unfairly shunted out, and that he owes her in making it happen. Even if she’s given up, and I’m not entirely convinced of that, he hasn’t. I suspect she could be talked into it, or charmed by him as it were.

      • mcnorman says:

        I want to know what Team Zero has on the Clintons. This guy is the most inept, insecure, inexperienced pos that has ever held office. He was handed the position by virtue of the melanin content in his skin. Yup, I said and I will keep saying it. It is very interesting that Woodward’s book has come out the day of his speech. The lapdog msm is having difficulty spinning tales this time.

  3. DandyTiger says:

    Having said all that, we keep hearing and seeing the Dem bench isn’t very deep. Hillary could be their only hope in ’16 (if Romney is elected). But even with them calling for her, I’m not sure she’d do it, and like you say, she probably couldn’t win anyway. Hmm, wonder if she would do it just to be the first woman nominated, even if she didn’t have a chance. Hadn’t thought of that.

  4. DM says:

    You can say it was because she did not know how to address the racism charge,

    I think Hillary was doomed when the insiders of her party dumped her for Obama. No Democratic nominee can win the presidency without the Black vote. The numbers aren’t there. Once Obama used the race card, there was no way to respond to the charge. She couldn’t win. I think that BC believes Hillary will run in 2016, but I don’t see it. I also don’t see Mitt running in 2016, but I think it’s because Ann Romney’s health, not because he can’t win. What I see is Ryan running in 2016 and winning. If Hillary runs in 2016 against Ryan, I see Ryan winning the election.

    The worst part is that it wasn’t Hillary’s fault that she didn’t become president. Hillary will do something to change the dynamics of the political system to help women, I just don’t know how. Maybe she’ll start a new party.

    We’ll see.

  5. angienc says:

    I don’t disagree with you — what you wrote has a good chance of being correct, especially the part about what will happen if Obama gets re-elected — no way in hell can Hillary or any other Dem be elected in 2016 if *that* happens.OTOH, I do think there is a slightly higher chance of Hillary being elected in 2016 if Romney wins, which is why I’m holding out hope for her. HOWEVER, if this does happen (and I do think it very well might):

    If Romney is elected, he will be what he has been for his entire life: a success. America will prosper and we will get a handle on an untenable budget situation. He will reinvent the GOP brand in the way FDR reinvented the Democratic brand. He will be better than the GOP version of Bill Clinton or FDR, and better than Reagan, too, because he doesn’t have their character flaws.

    As much as I, too,really wanted to see Hillary as POTUS, I’d be perfectly fine with that outcome. May 31, 2008 taught me something it failed to teach Hillary and (apparently) Bill: country before party. ALWAYS.

  6. SHV says:

    “she thought if she did it well enough, she could build her own career on the foundation of his.”
    *********
    Doesn’t sound like the Hillary Rodham Clinton that I first met in Jan. 1982.

    • DM says:

      I agree. Maybe Hillary wasn’t ready to go for a political life until after she became first lady. She then mapped her entry to the presidency.

    • That’s not to suggest at all that she’s weak, ftr. It means that she played the game by the rules as they were, and that those rules changed during her lifetime. I think most people accept this now, and even her friends in college said as much when they said they were surprised she married Bill and went off to Arkansas instead of going her own way. They all expected her to be a power-broker unto herself, and her choice to marry bill and “settle down” surprised them. But she wasn’t settling, IMO, she had a vision for how women got ahead and she pursued that path. There’s nothing wrong with that whatsoever.

      • SHV says:

        “It means that she played the game by the rules as they were, and that those rules changed during her lifetime.”
        ********
        That’s the point, she didn’t play by the “rules as they were”. The Republicans dumped hate on her during the 80’s and it was vicious, precisely because she didn’t play by the rules. She didn’t dress right, didn’t behave like a governor’s wife, she was a terrible mother (Bill is the one that had the time to do child care), etc., etc.

        • Anna Belle says:

          You’re talking about internals and I’m talking about externals. Okay, so she didn’t have a butt load of kids and play the June Cleaver part. That’s not my point. My point is that she waited until he got his turn to take her turn. It’s demonstrably true by the events of history, which are facts. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one, my friend.

  7. DM says:

    Hillary going abroad during the convention says more than whatever Bill Clinton thinks. I believe that Hillary lost all trust in the party and doubt very much that she’ll run again for that reason. She’s done with the Democratic Party. That’s not to say that she won’t help her Democratic friends by campaigning for them and with fundraisers. She’s loyal to her friends.

  8. lyn5 says:

    Here’s what I posed on FB.
    AnnaBelle, Sandra Fluke is a nobody compared with you! You wrote exactly how I felt about what Bill did tonight. Obama can’t even work to get himself re-elected. He has to use Bill to drag his sorry ass over the finish line. I hope every person who voted for Hillary finally makes the Democrats pay for picking a loser in 2008. As SOS, Hillary is president of the world. Obama is a nobody compared with her!
    Bill totally pissed me off tonight!

    • I’m going to post my reply, because it contains a line I now want to get tattooed on myself (bolded):

      Lynette, thank you. You made me laugh and I sorely needed that. Unfortunately, I don’t have Fluke’s notoriety, and I’m unwilling to do what it takes to get it. I will not be anybody’s dancing vagina. But I might work my way up. Agreed on President of the World. Good call!

  9. swanspirit says:

    Anna Belle, I came to the same conclusion about Hillary . If Obama wins , she has no chance in 4 years, and if Romney wins , and does well , still no chance .But I also think she is done with running for office . I think she will do what Bill is already doing , lead a very public private life and do what she wants to do . and as much as I love Big Dawg , I remember very clearly what he said about Obama in 2008 . There is no way in hell I will vote for Obama .

  10. Thank you for writing this piece AB. It was cutting and incisive. I had such a jumble of emotions watching Clinton last night. You helped me sort them out. I have referenced your piece in my latest piece. I can’t help but think that Hillary would have a difficult time running after Obama. If he gets a second term, Obama could end up being as hated as W was. And no Republican could have possibly won in 2008. If Obama wibns it is a set up for that same scenario in 2016.

    And it must be said that you don’t find many men biding their time….

    Here’s my latest piece. I found something that we can all stomach to celebrate at the DNC:

    http://womenwintoo.blogspot.com/2012/09/something-for-women-to-celebrate-at-dnc.html

  11. elliesmom says:

    We’ve all been called “bitter clingers”, and holding on to our dream that Hillary Clinton will one day be president makes that true. It’s time to let her go and look for the next woman to be our standard bearer. Last week the Republicans gave us what my grandmother called “an embarrassment of riches”. We need to choose one of them and give her the support she’ll need to be the one. If you can’t bring yourself to back a Republican woman, then find someone on the Democratic side of the aisle and get behind her. There’s always Sandra Fluke. But Hillary’s time has come and gone. When it was time to go all in, she folded. Whether Bill can’t let go of the idea of her being president ,either through love or guilt, (my money’s on guilt) or not doesn’t matter. His time has come and gone, too. If Obama had done a half decent job, Bill would be sending his greetings to the convention via videotape like Carter and the Bushes. The Clinton era is over. It’s OK, really.

  12. wmcb says:

    Great piece, Lola. I still have, and will always have, the utmost respect for Hillary and Bill. But I don’t worship him, or her. They are a mixed bag of motivations and blind spots just like every human being.

    The Clintons, both of them, have played it too safe for too long. They may have had very laudable motives in doing so. Or some unlaudable motives may be mixed in there too, like stubborn party loyalty, or fear of pissing off the black vote either for her 2008 run or a future run.

    Regardless of whether Mitt or Obama wins, I don’t think Hill can be elected in 2016. It’s just too obvious that she and Bill played both ends against the middle for 4 years. I’m not saying they needed to go all drama and leave the D party or constantly tear O a new one. But they have been too cute and calculated by half in their “support”.

  13. lyn5 says:

    I think Hillary and Bill have transferred the torch to Chelsea. If Empty Chair is re-elected, the Dems owe both big time.

  14. 1539days says:

    You can see that Obama is putting more pressure on Bill Clinton whenever he breaks away. In 2008, people used to say Obama threatened a race war or something. I think Obama is ready to trash the Clintons if he needs to. Is there any Obama critic that has not been deemed worthy of destruction? Bill may have some notion of saving the party or just saving Hillary’s future. I don’t think either is helped by Obama’s reelection.

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