“I gave you four surplus budgets, all those jobs, declining poverty, the lowest poverty rate we’ve had in 30 years, and the first time in more than 30 years that there has not been an increase in inequality,” Clinton boasted. “We went forward together. We’re supposed to grow together. We didn’t do it by taking anybody down, we did it by lifting everybody up.” [The Atlantic]
THE HEADLINE over at the Atlantic and the article by Molly Ball comes as no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. “The Redemption of Clintonism” is the headline everyone else has been avoiding as they write about Hillary’s potential run, but also the new normal in America, which shows a majority of voters now decidedly independent. The backdrop to this is Terry McAuliffe opening up a lead against Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia of 51-39, with the election next Tuesday.
The reason the media elite and those in the new media business have been writing around this headline, with Politico showing the most torturous example, is that Clintonism was pronounced dead and buried in 2008. If you’ve forgotten, I chronicle every ugly moment in my book, The Hillary Effect, because someone had to do it and I knew all too well this day would come. But for the media elite and new media to write “The Redemption of Clintonism” would be admitting how badly they called it. When William Jefferson Clinton was written off as some racist during the ’08 primaries, the reason Hillary Clinton lost her first presidential run at the White House, with transactional politics railed against by activists who may be right on purist terms, but whose myopia on the level of engagement the American people have to invest in a system they know is fixed is marginal at best.
The Redemption of Clintonism is the marketing behind the genius of William Jefferson Clinton to sell the Democratic Party, no matter the details of how you get it won. No one knows the American attention span better than the Big Dawg. Knows how to sell policy in sound bites that don’t clog the casual observer’s brain, doing so with an all American drawl and the slick selling expertise and delivery that is the hallmark of the American dream: What you believe you can get against all odds, because this is American, baby. That’s what Clintonism sells and America has never needed it more. The Mad Men marketing of a country that is falling away from the belief that we’re exceptional and that life in America is, too.
The resurrection of Clintonism began during the 2012 election cycle when no one could make the case for Democrats more strongly than William Jefferson Clinton. The speech he delivered on behalf of President Obama at the Democratic convention the trick that turned the tide for many independent and even some unenthused Democrats.
“The Redemption of Clintonism” headline is backed up by the spectacle of what’s happened in Congress and between lawmakers and the White House, including the realization of President Obama that Republicans have no interest in making his presidency successful. In fact, it was candidate Barack Obama who said that the old fights of the 60s and the 90s no longer applied, because he could change Washington. That he could listen to lawmakers and find common ground between people, his strongest asset, to move the country forward.
President Obama has now learned that the battles that have been fought on behalf of the majority of Americans, including those in the 60s and the 90s, happened because Republicans are against what the Democratic Party stands for and they intend to stop Democrats, no matter what it takes.
President Obama has learned that you, personally, don’t have to pick these fights to have them happen. It’s not former President Clinton who created the government shutdown in the 90s and so many other impediments to progress, it was his adversaries in the Republican Party. Barack Obama now feels Bill Clinton’s pain.
President Obama has learned that standing your ground and making a fight, what made Clintonites out of so many people after the Reagan-Bush era, is what it’s all about. In politics, it’s rarely every little detail, it’s how you make people feel, the emotion you incite, which Obama traded on in 2008. It’s knowing there are enemies that want you to fail, which is why Obama said this during the shutdown…
Unfortunately, right now House Republicans continue to tie funding of the government to ideological demands like limiting a woman’s access to contraception, or delaying the Affordable Care Act, all to save face after making some impossible promises to the extreme right wing of their party.
We are not red or blue America, but unfortunately, we are also not a united country by any stretch of Barack Obama’s 2004 Democratic convention speech’s imagination.
In fact, we are purple, state by state, with Terry McAuliffe’s double digit lead in Virginia revealing the new normal since the Tea Party’s rise, as well as Obama’s 2008 “hope and change” demise. McAuliffe is not running as a blue dog Democrat, however, but as an unabashed liberal on social issues and also on government partnerships with his state.
Now that’s change to believe in.
“The Redemption of Clintonism” was inevitable, because Clintonism deals with politics as it is, not as activists want it to be.