Sunday, November 24, 2013

Clinton/McAuliffe/Clinton--Road to White House, 2016

Bill Clinton   Terry McAuliffe   Hillary Clinton
"I personally believe, even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they've got."

--Bill Clinton (11.12.13)

In other words: “Obama, you broke your promise.” With those words, Bill Clinton opened up crucial space between spouse Hillary’s campaign for the White House and the current White House occupant’s signature Obamacare. What a difference from just 14 months ago, when Clinton at the Democratic convention delivered perhaps last year’s single most effective defense of Obamacare.

How quickly politics moves on. We're early in Obama’s second term, and it’s on to the next presidential campaign. Obama’s one-off presidency, which like Jimmy Carter’s 1976 post-Watergate presidency came out of nowhere in a disaster’s aftermath (Iraq, financial collapse), seems likewise headed for historical oblivion.  Consequence since 1932 has meant Roosevelt (+Truman), Eisenhower (+Nixon), Kennedy (+Johnson), Reagan (+Bush, +Bush), and Clinton (+Clinton?): five key presidencies potentially spanning nearly a century.

Remember how close Hillary came to beating Obama in the 2008 primaries? The popular vote total was Obama 17,535,458, Clinton 17,493,836, a victory margin of 0.1%. Obama, the minorities' president, was an early surprise. Hillary, the woman president, is due.

The Clintons have just carried old fundraising pal Terry McAuliffe to Virginia's governorship, this year’s off-year election story and a preview of the upcoming presidential campaign. Philip Rucker in the Washington Post followed Bill Clinton campaigning on McAuliffe’s behalf, and spotted just how the Clintons will head back to the White House by running against Obama:
Clinton credited his work across the aisle with balancing budgets and creating 22 million new jobs — and lamented the state of the country today. “This economic thing, it’s terrible,” Clinton said in Hampton[, Va]. “Median family income — after you adjust for inflation, is lower than it was the day I left office. That was a long time ago. And we need somebody who wants to do something about it.”
Bill Clinton repeatedly said the Founding Fathers wanted elected officials to be practical above all else, designing a system of governing that would force them to negotiate with each other. “Read the Constitution of the United States of America,” Clinton said Sunday in Richmond. “It might as well have been subtitled, ‘Let’s Make a Deal.’ ”
Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA) [said] that the message laid out by Bill Clinton would be “a really powerful theme into the next cycle.” “We’re the party of governance,” Connolly added. “You want things to work? You have to eschew that hard-right, I-know-best ideology.”
The Weekly Standard’s Jay Cost believes the McAuliffe campaign strategy
mimicked the old Clinton approach, which will surely be Hillary Clinton’s tack in 2016. . . First, he started with a solid base of support from those in the lower socioeconomic strata of society, in particular poor African Americans. According to the exit polls, he won 65% of those who make less than $30,000 a year, and 90% of African Americans. To this substantial group—about half  his total voting coalition—he added people at the high end of the socioeconomic strata. He won 57% of people with a postgraduate degree and 55% of people who make more than $200,000 a year. In Virginia, a state with a tight relationship to the federal government, these are people with great faith in the capacity of technocratic experts to manage society. Add their gentry liberalism (support for environmentalism, abortion rights, gay marriage, etc.), and they were easy McAuliffe targets.
McAuliffe followed a tired-but-true playbook: In his public appearances, he played the role of crusading populist, looking out for the people and not the powerful; behind the scenes, he massively outraised his opponent by currying favor with the powerful interests he publicly disclaimed. What to do with all that cash? With an electorate that is growing tired of big government, it is not enough for a Democrat as liberal as McAuliffe to paint a positive vision of the future. Instead, he had to scare the bejesus out of people, warning them in ad after ad that his Republican opponent, Ken Cuccinelli, is an extreme crypto-Puritan who would set the Old Dominion back a century or more.
It’s not a secret anymore (however dimly the public makes it out), this marriage of big money to a Democratic Party still speaking to the less fortunate. Michael Barone of the conservative American Enterprise Institute sees the wealth-poverty gap most on display in heavily Democratic states:
Liberals like [Timothy Noah, writing in the Washington Monthly] often decry income inequality. But the states with the most unequal incomes and highest poverty levels these days are California and New York. That's what happens when high taxes and housing costs squeeze out the middle class. As Noah notes, "Few working-class people earn enough money to live anywhere near San Francisco."
This leaves a highly visible and articulate upper class willing, in line with their liberal beliefs, to shoulder high tax burdens and a very much larger lower class -- many of them immigrants -- available to serve them in restaurants, landscape their gardens and valet-park their cars[,  those] living in. . . high-rise, restaurant-studded, subway-served neighborhood[s].

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