Many thought that Hillary Clinton's softer, "coming together" closing statement at last Thursday's debate presaged that she might soon depart the campaign and allow Barack Obama an unimpeded path to the Democrat nomination. Sen. Clinton dashed such thoughts to pieces yesterday in Cincinnati when she waxed indignant at the Barack Obama campaign over a flyer that criticized her health care proposal.
Clinton accused the Obama campaign of using Republican tactics in distorting her record for political gain. "Shame on you, Barack Obama!" she said. She then threw down the gauntlet to Obama angrily telling him, "Meet me in Ohio. Let's have a debate about your tactics and your behavior in this campaign."
Despite the entertainment value of her outburst, one has to be struck by the irony and hypocrisy in Clinton's rant. When it comes to the politics of distortion, innuendo, and personal destruction, the Clintons wrote the book while Obama is merely a piker. After all, it was Hillary Clinton who had assembled FBI records on Republican opponents during Bill Clinton's presidency. During the Clinton impeachment proceedings, it was Clinton surrogates who exposed Speaker-elect Bob Livingston's extra-marital affair, causing him to resign as speaker and later to leave the House. After this happened, Bill Clinton hypocritically bemoaned the "politics of personal destruction."
Hypocrisy and destruction, slash and burn, are the Clintons' stock-in-trade. They will surreptitiously work to destroy anyone in their path while publicly proclaiming the highest of ideals. Barack Obama is only the latest target. It is also significant that Clinton tossed in a shot at the Republicans, saying that Obama's flyer was something out of the play book of Karl Rove. Hillary is always more at home when she can point back to the VRC (Vast Right-wing Conspiracy). It also allows her and her fellow Democrats to continue to reside in their fantasy world where only the Republicans play hardball politics while their 7-year savaging of George W. Bush is excused as "telling the truth."
The Clintons are reminders of the ugly side of American politics. They certainly have their Republican counterparts but few practice the dark political arts with the facility of Bill and Hillary. By this Summer, they will likely have been purged as major players from the political scene and we will not mourn their departure. From a policy standpoint, Barack Obama is no better but at least he comes in a more pleasant package without all the residue of Clinton corruption.
-- Submitted by B. Bryant