February 12, 2014

Hillary Clinton as enabler meme won't matter

Just assail her logic instead, okay?
Earlier this week I was quick to note the Free Beacon story about Hillary Clinton's mean-spiritedness.  That meme will be worth holding onto for the 2016 presidential elections.  But the one that confuses me is the notion being played up in some quarters that Hillary Clinton's biggest problem going into 2016 relates to her role as an enabler to Bill Clinton's philandering.  But those circles seem to be over-weighted to Democrats who'd like to see Republicans go after her for that.

Bloomberg, an arguably liberal news organization notes:
How responsible is a wife for the betrayal of her husband?

In the case of Hillary Clinton, the answer is, a lot, according to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus and Senator Rand Paul.
Rand Paul? He doesn't seem like the type of guy for whom this would be a top shelf concern. It may be a feint by the GOP - an attempt to distract Democrats from their real playbook for 2016 - in which case I applaud the GOP. The article continues, and shows why Democrats would want the GOP to stick with the meme:
The charge against Hillary is that she was an enabler, not a victim, of her husband's extramarital affairs, a long string of which culminated in the White House encounters with Monica Lewinsky.

Recalling a 1998 conversation, Blair wrote: “HRC insists, no matter what people say, it was gross inappropriate behavior but it was consensual (was not a power relationship) and was not sex within real meaning.”

As engrossing as it is to get inside Hillary's mind, to use Bill Clinton's behavior against Hillary requires that you think she let the philandering happen, that she somehow deserved it (she's often portrayed as cold and withholding), that she did nothing to stop it, blamed the other woman, and through it all, didn't suffer.

Her first reaction about Monica was the one many of us would have: This can't be true; surely, not in the Oval Office (or the adjoining study), surely not with an employee; surely not someone young enough to be his daughter. Then came the second thought: How do I protect Chelsea, calm the rabble hounding us on the front lawn night and day, keep our enemies from using it?

What she didn't do was leave. But since when do we punish people for NOT breaking up their marriages? Aren't Republicans the family values folks? And her instinct was to believe her husband above the women with whom he strayed. Who wouldn't?
Democrats want the GOP to go after Hillary, whom they can easily and credibly paint as the victim in this case. Big mean old Republicans are going after poor victimized Hillary. It cancels out the mean Hillary notion almost entirely. After all, the stuff in the Free Beacon article are only one person's opinions of her. It's anecdotal evidence at best. It also leans a little Alinsky as a liberal tactic: conservatives are attacking Hillary for holding to family values? That's hypocritical. That counter-argument can also be effective with a willing media helping out Democrats in any way possible.

Conservatives would be better suited politically to focus on her temperament as an extension of her policies (or vice-versa) rather than digging up a past sordid affair (literally). It doesn't advance our policy position. It seems petty and hypocritical. Just because that's the approach Democrats might have taken if this were a GOP candidate, doesn't mean conservatives and/or the GOP should try to play the hand the way Democrats would, or would want us to play it.
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