We’re three weeks out from the 2018 midterm election, and Hillary Clinton is popping up again like a Halloween ghoul who keeps rising from the grave to terrorize the American public; only this time accompanied by the increasingly #MeToo burdened uber-villain, Bubba.
The Clintons, it seems, can’t seem to call it quits, even if it means leaving members of their own party cringing and many more voters ready to “headdesk” themselves into a coma.
This time, it’s happening courtesy of a pay-through-the-nose-to-see-them rehab tour. Because if there’s one thing America hasn’t had enough of over recent decades, it’s efforts by the Clintons to recast themselves as normal, likeable people, as they cash checks and play the victim.
Previous editions of this show have included Hillary’s two Senate runs and two presidential runs, which, depending on one’s perspective, were either an attempt to show independence from her husband or to be compensated for his myriad screw ups.
But despite the last run ending with a loss to Donald Freaking Trump, the most flawed candidate Republicans could conceivably have run in 2016, it appears that nothing will get Hillary out of our political debate once and for all.
Hillary remains caught up in the delusion that the only reason she lost in 2016 was because of Russian interference. She does not seem to have fully processed the fact that she lost the electoral college, the only vote that counts. She touts the fact that she got nearly three million more votes than Trump while conveniently leaving out that her tally of the vote still fell well below 50 percent.
Both of the major party nominees in 2016 were so unlikable, flawed and—let’s be candid—unethical that lots of us just couldn’t pull the lever for her even if we couldn’t stand Trump. According to a study from American National Election Studies, the words most associated by voters with Hillary in 2016 were “experienced liar.” Is it logical that she’d want to rehab her image, given all this? Perhaps. Is it possible? No. Do we need to watch her try? Definitely, definitely, definitely not.
That might be especially the case if you’re a Democrat.
Hillary’s continual pursuit of limelight and headlines ensures that the image of the Democratic Party remains an outdated, outmoded, and frankly despicable for far too many voters. This comes at a time when leading Democrats are attempting to focus voters’ attention on the future—2020, and beating Trump—and jostling for the role as the new party leader.
It also undercuts Democrats’ positioning as the only party that really cares about #MeToo and that will fight for survivors, a contrast Dems are only too keen to spotlight in the wake of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court and ongoing allegations about President Trump’s treatment of women. Only sheer partisan convenience could allow someone to insist that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony is credible while downplaying the numerous allegations of mistreatment (and worse) made by women against Bill Clinton.
For the Democratic Party, about the best that can come of this latest Clinton revival is that no matter how unpalatable any of its leading lights—Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Cory Booker, or others—are individually, they’ll look like downright appealing the longer Hillary hangs about.
But her doing so does not signal that the Democratic Party is actually living in the present, and focused on beating Trump. Rather, it suggests the party wants to turn American politics into the new edition of Groundhog Day—only with no Bill Murray or actual groundhog. Isn’t it time to let the Democratic Party move on from its Clintonite past, and to give someone else a go?
One of the reasons Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been so refreshing isn’t just because the more Democratic Socialist-driven, modern Democratic Party—which is populated to a greater degree by younger voters—wants a younger, more progressive avatar to embrace. It’s also because even Republicans are starting to get weary of bashing the Clintons now; though some of us will undertake it still as a public service.
Clinton is like the target you’ve already shot dead-on so many times the paper has gone to shreds. There are few more column inches to be written, but even Fox News personalities have begun to act a little bored when they dive into Hillary-focused narratives these days.
All of which suggests that for Republicans, too, it’s time to move on—to fresh fights, with fresh adversaries. We want the newest bad guy, not the evildoer from the biggest show in the freaking 1990s. Maybe in 2020 that will be Warren, Gillibrand, Harris, or Booker, or any one of the other 20-some people that might potentially run for president on the Democratic side. But it’s a dead certainty that it isn’t the lady we’ve seen inveighing against the right wing for stealing things she seems to think she or her husband are inherently entitled to for decades now.
It’s time for Hillary and Bill to get off the stage and quit seeking the public adoration they’re clearly never going to get to the massive degree they crave it. Be content, like so many other party elders who turned out not to be winners, in working behind the scenes to help to deliver wins for other, better, up-and-coming, appealing voices.
Yes, others have stuck around past their primes. Mitt Romney, a candidate with a similar resume of high profile presidential losses, is now running for Senate. But his circumstances are different. He was asked to run for the seat that he will soon occupy by its current occupant and he’s maintained strong ties to Utah. Even then, his continuing presence on the political stage irks a ton of Americans who wish he too would go away quietly.
So, Hillary, ditch the rehab tour. Dispense with TV appearances. Recognize that whether it’s lauded or not, you did make some kind of a difference (yes, even Hillary did a couple of things right in her various terms in public office), and be content to leave it there.
Zombie movies for Halloween are fun. But whether you’re a Democrat, a Republican, or neither, there’s only so much zombie politics you can take. That’s what the Clintons essentially offer now—a brain-devouring, egocentric version of Democrat-ism lurching and festering onward, seemingly endlessly.