If Hillary Clinton really loved her country, she would withdraw immediately from the presidential race in order to avoid another bitter election and to promote national unity.
Mrs. Clinton, like her husband, wins only by division. And she is a far more polarizing figure than he. Despite his prodigious political gifts, he could not win a majority of the popular vote as a challenger in 1992 when the circumstances favored a challenger nor as an incumbent in 1996 when the circumstances favored an incumbent. And he had the media on his side both times.
When down in the polls, she would rather slime her opponent than engage him on the issues. As her husband did whatever it was he had to do to win reelection, even when that meant misrepresenting his opponent’s record. As Michael Barone observed:
The Clinton campaign, defeated in Iowa and nearly in New Hampshire, scraping by in Nevada and expecting a clobbering in South Carolina, faced a choice between losing clean and winning ugly. What is amusing is that so many liberal commentators were surprised when the Clinton apparat, with the unhesitation of a shark, chose the latter option.
And now those commentators are in an uproar over the Clintons’ tactics, using rhetoric to criticize this unhappy pair that would not have been out of place on conservative editorial pages in the 1990s.
Mrs. Clinton seems to relish baiting her opponents. While her husband hated Republicans only because they stood between him and power, her hatred seems more visceral, as if she thinks we’re evil. Note that when she took on Senator Obama, misrepresenting his praise of Ronald Reagan, she slammed the Gipper’s ideas as “bad ideas for America.”
And this after her husband was careful not to attack the Gipper in his 1992 campaign, recognizing his political success and acknowledging his achievements in office. Indeed, as Charles Krauthammer pointed out on Friday, Clinton’s biggest accomplishments in the domestic sphere were Reaganesque.
So, if Reagan’s ideas were so bad, Ms. Hillary, why did your husband imitate them?
To be sure, she called them bad ideas to appeal to her party’s left-wing base which has never acknowledged the Gipper’s accomplishments. She was also speaking from her heart. Despite her husband’s rhetoric and record, she thinks that any idea Ronald Reagan had was bad merely because Ronald Reagan had it.
Those comments says much about Mrs. Clinton. They show her to be a mean-spirited partisan, eager to appeal to the angry left, even if it means undercutting her husband’s record (the source of her much vaunted “experience”). And it shows her to harbor a visceral hatred of one of her husband’s most accomplished predecessors.
In short, Hillary Clinton is a divisive partisan, a polarizing figure whose campaign has opened up fissures in the Democratic Party. Her nomination would ensure that that rancor continues into the fall campaign. While Bill Clinton may claim that a contest between Senator McCain and his wife “would be the most civilized election in American history,” the Clinton record promises the opposite.
Should she get her party’s nod, expect them to dredge up all kinds of dirt, even hearsay from longtime McCain haters, to slime the Arizona Senator and veteran.
The longer she continues in the campaign, the more divisive and bitter it will become. For that is the Clinton record. If she stays in the campaign, the bitterness will continue until November. Should she win, it would continue for four years — at least. And our national divisions would be heightened rather than healed.
For that reason, she should withdraw from the presidential race immediately. It would be the one positive step she could take to unite our country (and even her own party).
UPDATE: On a related note, Glenn Reynolds links a post on Caucus, the New York Times Politics Blog, citing a poll finding that “fewer voters these days like the idea of the former president [Clinton] being back in the White House.”