Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Message: I’m Not Obama
Bill Clinton Fires the Opening Shot
Mark November 12, 2013 as the day Hillary Clinton unofficially launched her bid for the presidential nomination and election in 2016. The message – I’m not Barack Obama.
She didn’t, and couldn’t, say it herself, so she left it to her husband, the most beloved politician in the Democratic Party, former President Bill Clinton himself.
The former president waded into the Obamacare mess with a headline-grabbing piece of gratuitous advice for the beleaguered man in the White House.
“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 got,” Clinton said, commenting on the intractable problem caused by Obama’s now defunct promises and the cancellation of millions of individual health insurance policies.
Why in the world, at this most vulnerable juncture for Obama, would Bill Clinton make such a suggestion? The answer is clear. For the Clintons the issue in 2016 will be that Hillary is a competent professional, unlike the bungling upstart who stole the nomination in 2008.
Hillary has an army of adoring fans in the Democratic Party eager to vindicate the loss in 2008. They would nominate her tomorrow if they had their way. But they don’t. It’s a long road to 2016.
So the Clintons need to respect Obama as president but begin the task of making the point that 2008 was a mistake. It’s all about competence, not the cult of personality.
Bill Clinton struck a blow on two fronts. First, he said people should be allowed to keep the insurance policies they had “even if it takes a change in the law.” He knows full well that it’s impossible. Such a change in the law now would collapse Obamacare. It’s too late.
Second, Clinton said the president should “honor the commitment the federal government made to those people” and let them keep their insurance. Everyone knows that honoring the commitment means that Obama would be admitting that he lied for years. The commitment was bogus from day one. And, of course, it was not some vague commitment by the “federal government,” it was Obama’s personal commitment.
The Clintons know a thing or two about trying to overhaul the nation’s health care system. They tried in the first two years of Bill Clinton’s presidency and failed when Congress and the public learned the details of Hillarycare. They quit while they were behind. But Obama concealed the details of his plan and plowed ahead. Now he’s paying the price.
Hillary’s pitch in 2008 was the point that she was more experienced in government and personally competent than Obama. (Remember the 3 a.m. phone call ad?) Then she was sideswiped by a more skilled campaign and the runaway enthusiasm that catapulted Obama to a narrow victory for the nomination.
Obama couldn’t make Hillary vice president, so he gave her the seemingly harmless job of Secretary of State. She remained in the spotlight and gathered another credential. She stumbled over Benghazi, but when the presidential primaries roll around, she’ll have an elaborate explanation for that fiasco. Her supporters won’t care.
By the time of the 2016 election, Bill and Hillary Clinton will have been on the national stage for 25 years. She may not even run, and there is no bigger target for Republicans.
Nevertheless, politics is the Clinton family business. Bill Clinton’s jab at Obama was the opening shot 2016. There are plenty more to come.
Remember, the Clintons will say in cloaked terms: “Hillary is a competent professional. Obama is a shooting star. We told you so.”
During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.