Yesterday was the grand opening of the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, and it got me to thinking about the whole Clinton thing. Not Hillary, really– more about Bill. As an aside: my initial reaction after Kerry lost was “Hillary 08,” but I heard some commentator/talking head on some news show, and this person pointed out that the people who seem to be talking the most about Hillary as the Dem candidate in 08 are Republicans. Hmmm… maybe the Dems should try taking cues from someone other than the conservative majority.
No, I was thinking about Bill. And I was thinking about how we need another Bill because when Clinton stands up and talks– or really, just stands up and looks out at the crowd– he seems like a… like a… human. I wrote about this a couple weeks ago, but why we need someone like Bill is because he passes the “who do you want to drink a beer with” test, and he passes it in flying colors. Sure he’s a Southerner, but only by birth, really. Don’t forget Clinton has degrees from Georgetown, Yale, and Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, not the typical pedigree of a NASCAR dad. I don’t think it matters where he’s from, really. I think his real talent is he could talk and relate to people that really did bridge differences.
Just a simple example: I was talking with my mom after the election in November, and we were talking about the whole “moral values” thing, which she says was one of the reasons why she voted for W. She was concerned about Kerry and his “pro-choice” stance, which she somehow interpreted as a sort of “pro-abortion” stance. I said to her, “well, I subscribe to the Clinton line on abortion: it ought to be safe, legal, and rare,” and she said to me “oh, I agree with that.” See what I’m getting at? Kerry and Clinton have the same position on abortion; Clinton figured out how to present a pro-choice position in a way that appeals to at least some moderate pro-life voters, like my mom.
At the same time, we don’t need another Bill Clinton. Besides all the sex scandal/impeachment thing, Clinton also presided over a Democratic party that became a lot more conservative in its “moderation” over eight years, and a Democratic party that held majorities in both the Senate and House in 1992 and (of course) that is in the minority in both now. If we get a Dem in the White House in 08 but we do it by caving in to the red state moralistic nutjobs, then we ain’t gonna be any better off than we are with W.