Bill’s Legacy


One of the story lines that does have me smiling is the downward trajectory of Bill Clinton’s legacy.

When Hillary Clinton launched her presidential bid 17 months ago, her husband — with his formidable political talents and popularity among Democrats nostalgic for the 1990s — was seen as her greatest strength.

In a few long months, he went from being the smartest politician in history (Democratic spin) to a self-destructive, Hillary-destructive, narcissist (Democratic spin).

By the close of the primaries yesterday, with his wife’s White House hopes dashed by an unexpectedly strong challenger, Bill Clinton had become at least as well-known for his hot- tempered outbursts that hurt her candidacy and damaged his own legacy.

What’s that old saying… familiarity breeds contempt?

Bill Clinton’s own popularity has also taken a beating. In a January NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, he got favorable ratings from a plurality of voters, including 78 percent of Democrats. By April, more voters had a negative view of him than a positive one, and his favorable ratings among Democrats had dropped, including among black voters.

Let’s take a walk down memory lane. Remember Bill saying that Barack’s opposition to the Iraq war had been exaggerated?

“Give me a break,” Clinton said of Obama’s record on the war since he joined the U.S. Senate. “This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.” The remarks were widely misconstrued that he meant Obama’s quest for the presidency itself was a “fairy tale,” and many blacks took offense.

That was a good moment. But not as good as this one.

Weeks later, Clinton compared Obama’s success in South Carolina to Jesse Jackson‘s wins there in 1984 and 1988 — a reference that was taken as dismissive of Obama’s national reach and appeal to white voters.

Now that was a moment for the political ages. As was this:

In April, during a Philadelphia radio interview, he accused Obama’s campaign of having played “the race card” against him over his South Carolina comments. Questioned later by a reporter about the broadcast remarks, he angrily denied having made them.

The contempt that Democrats themselves have for the Clintons was brought out of the closet for this campaign. The moment Barack started to happen, the zeal with which Dems started jumping off the Hillary ship was a delight.

Once Barack is defeated in November, this will be his greatest legacy – having disposed of the Clintons for now, and having destroyed Bill Clinton’s illusion of greatness forever.

Ah, Bill. We hardly knew ye.


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