Hillary’s gonna party like it’s 1999

By Eric Naing

Hollywood mogul David Geffen recently threw his money behind Barack Obama and blasted the Clintons sparking a battle between the presidential campaigns. It is a minor political spat that nobody save for a few Washington elites should care about but it has brought up the interesting question of whether we all have had enough of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Referring to Hillary Clinton, Geffen told New York Times Columnist Maureen Dowd, “I don’t think that another incredibly polarizing figure, no matter how smart she is and no matter how ambitious she is – and God knows, is there anybody more ambitious than Hillary Clinton? – can bring the country together.” Geffen went on to call Bill Clinton a “‘reckless guy’ who gave his enemies a lot of ammunition to hurt him and to distract the country.”

Geffen’s acidic comments about Hillary are unfortunate, especially this early in the ’08 campaign season. How can one fault her for being ambitious when Geffen’s candidate of choice is aiming for the presidency after serving only two years in the Senate? As for Bill, it’s unfair to dismiss him as an asset to Hillary’s campaign based solely on his past behavior. You can not ignore the transformation his image has undergone since leaving office. Recent polls place Bill Clinton somewhere among the top 5 greatest presidents as he has now become a respected elder statesman.

As you can see, there is no bigger Clinton apologist than me. Take almost any controversial thing the Clintons have done (don’t ask don’t tell, welfare reform, inaction in Rwanda, etc.) and you can bet I have tried to justify it. I even bought and read both of their bloated and plodding autobiographies (and somehow loved every page).

My love and respect for the Clintons runs deep and I hate seeing a Democratic moneyman taking unfair swipes at them, but there is one thing Geffen said that resonated with me. When discussing his choice to support Obama over his longtime friends the Clintons, Geffen says, “He’s not from the Bush royal family or the Clinton royal family.”

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    By the time 2008 rolls around, two families will have been in the White House for 20 years. The Bushes and the Clintons have had a vice grip on American politics for two decades and look where we are now. It’s unfair to blame all the problems we face now on the Clintons and Bushes (well, at least the Clintons), but it definitely feels like it is time for a new approach.

    If this Geffen spat were between Edwards and Obama, you can bet nobody would care. There is something about the Clintons that drives the right wing and the media crazy.

    So why should, after years of irrelevance, a newly empowered Democratic Party nominate for president the one candidate most likely to reenergize the right and generate years of nonsense, tabloid coverage from the media? Hillary’s political prowess and no holds barred approach serves her far better in the Senate than the White House anyway.

    As a candidate, Hillary Clinton carries a massive amount of baggage. Many have long ago cemented their image for her for better or worse. If something as ultimately petty as this Geffen dustup can dominate the news cycle for so long, imagine what we’re in store for in the next two years. The ’08 election is too important to be a redo of ’04 where windsurfing and gay marriage trumped Iraq as important issues.

    With Hillary running and talk of President Bush’s brother Jeb getting in the race, our political system inches closer to becoming some sort of pseudo-monarchy. While I respect the Clintons dearly and would love to see them back in the White House, I can not support them this time. Whether it is Obama or Edwards or anyone else, the Democrats need someone new to break this self-defeating political spiral we seem to be stuck in. The stakes are just too high for a replay on the 1990s.