Hillary Clinton Is Obama's George H.W. Bush: The Designated Successor

By Hewitt, Hugh | Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The, April 13, 2014 | Go to article overview

Hillary Clinton Is Obama's George H.W. Bush: The Designated Successor


Hewitt, Hugh, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), The


There are very few genuinely new moments in American politics. Ronald Reagan's election in 1980 was one of them. Barack Obama's triumph in 2008 another. Both were transformative elections, presidencies and men.

And both led to parties that struggled for a voice after their defining leader left the scene.

George Herbert Walker Bush was a safe and reliable choice for the GOP in 1988: a long-time Washington hand with a golden resume and a seemingly endless and loyal list of supporters and donors. Lots of folks didn't like him, of course, inside his own party, inside the Democrats, inside the media and outside of the country. Remember Newsweek's "Fighting the 'Wimp Factor'" cover?

But the world was undergoing rapid and dangerous change in 1988, and a known if somewhat dull brand supported by an old D.C. pedigree and a Yalie's confidence with some southern gloss did the trick against a conventional Democratic governor: Mike Dukakis.

Got it yet? Hillary is Obama's George H.W. Bush -- the candidate the current president bested eight years ago but who dutifully and quietly swallowed the anger and served that president, and in doing so set herself up to succeed the man she tried eight years ago to crush.

The story of that conversion from "wife of Bill" to "heir of Obama" is ably and well told by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes in the new book "HRC," which is full of the inside baseball political junkies love and on which opposition researchers thrive. Great stuff to light the hot stove of the off-season in presidential politics along with the rising chatter of a Nixon-like resurrection of Romney -- who would be making his third run for the White House versus Hillary's sixth (in either a leading or a supporting role) -- or the continued bleeding of Chris Christie by journos like Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker.

Step back from the day-to-day gossiping, though, and it is clear that 2016 is 1988 all over again, with a successor-in-waiting waiting for the out party to designate a conventional sacrificial lamb. Sure, we have had three two-termers in a row, with the parties alternating. But Obama was to the Left what Reagan was to the Right: An enormous, history-making triumph. …

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