Man's condition: Inconstancy, boredom, anxiety.
Thought I would offer occasional bits and pieces from the campaign trail, under the heading "Notes from the Edge." There's a lot of jockeying going on among the candidates right now, as the long and winding road gets underway. Would like to talk about several things but don't have the time. Here's a quick first installment.
The Dynasty Factor
The Los Angeles Times brings up the potential 28-year Bush/Clinton monopoly on the White House. Basically, it looks like this:
1988 - Bush
1992 - Clinton
1996 - Clinton
2000 - Bush
2004 - Bush
2008 - Clinton
2012 - Clinton
I include the whole editorial, because one needs a subscription to the LA Times and their articles can vanish quickly:
Geffen has a point about the ClintonsBarack Obama is going to tap into this a lot, I believe, as he pushes his "new approach to politics" theme. Do people want to keep going with the bitter partisanship from the last several administrations? You wanna keep the old style - Bill and Hillary and all their baggage? Or do you want something new - Obama-rama! That's how it will be framed.
Geffen is right: Hillary Clinton must address the perception that the White House is home to dynasties.
February 23, 2007
THERE ARE TWO THINGS to be said about the first major intramural spat of the 2008 Democratic primary season. The first is that David Geffen has a point (and we're not saying that just because there is a remote chance that we might work for him someday). The second is that if California moves up its primary, presidential candidates visiting here will soon have to pander to more than just Hollywood moguls.
Geffen, once among Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton's biggest financial backers, threw Hollywood's first mega-fundraiser of the election cycle on Tuesday — for Barack Obama. His criticism of Hillary Clinton, reported Wednesday by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, sparked an amusingly overwrought exchange between the Clinton and Obama camps.
Geffen was on to something with his passing mention of the fact that Obama is not from "the Bush royal family" or the "Clinton royal family." Regardless of what you think of Bill Clinton's presidency, or his wife's talent, the dynastic aspect of Hillary Clinton's candidacy is an issue that will increasingly come to occupy center stage in this campaign. Is the country prepared to be governed, potentially, for 28 years by two families who alternate turns in the White House?
The Clinton campaign appears unwilling to acknowledge this concern. The candidate likes talking to audiences about whether the nation is ready for a female president. But the question of whether the country is ready to perpetuate the dueling-family reign by voting in the former president's spouse is disingenuously left off the table. Maybe Hillary Clinton can make the case that she is the most qualified candidate, but she is going to have to find a way to address the dynastic issue directly. She can't have it both ways — trading on her husband's popularity but not acknowledging people's unease at turning the White House into a family business.
Yet Californians, at least, may be grateful that candidates vying for the 2008 presidential nomination in both parties will have to worry not only about what big donors think of them but what all Californians think. In recent presidential primary seasons, the California contest hasn't gotten beyond the David Geffens because the state has been solely a fundraising battlefield. But now that California is likely to move its presidential primary to early February, candidates will no longer think of their California constituencies as consisting solely of that other royalty: Hollywood celebrities.
So, if you are frustrated that one Californian's view on the race could be so newsworthy, bear with us. You'll get your turn.
The Geffen episode also seems to have opened the door for discussing Bill Clinton. Up until then, I found it interesting how little we were hearing about him, considering that he would be First Husband if Hillary won. Now, suddenly, articles are mentioning Hillary and Bill together. What will his impact be on the race and on her chances?