January 4, 2016

Bill Clinton — doing his first rally for Hillary — talks about Franklin Pierce and Abraham Lincoln and the need for a President who fits the spirit of the times.

I jumped in somewhere in the middle, when he was reminiscing about his early years with Hillary, drawing from what was meant to seem like a wellspring of emotion. Tears didn't come, but tears were at least implied. What a humble servant of the poor young Hillary was, he wanted us to know.

Then he shifted, for the ending, into some theory of the presidency, about how Presidents succeed when they are right for the time. He talks about Franklin Pierce, who, he tells us, couldn't possibly have succeeded in his time, and then Abraham Lincoln, who, he informs us, wouldn't have been a great President if he'd served in the 1950s. Lincoln was "gripped with crippling depression," and that would not have been successful in the 1950s, but it was just the frame of mind, he tells us, to suit the Civil War.

I don't know if Bill thought that theory up on his own or got it from some American history scholar, but of course, it led to the conclusion that Hillary is what goes with the particular time that we are in now. What exactly is it about Hillary and our time that fit together so well? I don't think he explained it.

Were we supposed to infer that the other candidates, whatever their positive attributes, are somehow not what is needed for our time? I don't know if Bill meant us to think about that, but it called to mind for me something Donald Trump said in his "Face the Nation" interview yesterday:
[O]ur country has no spirit.... But I would be very enthusiastic, like I am right now, toward the country. We need spirit. We need a cheerleader. President Obama is a bad cheerleader. I thought he would be a good cheerleader. I thought he would be a great cheerleader, actually. That's the one thing I thought, is that he was going to be a great cheerleader. He was really a big divider. We need cheerleading.

38 comments:

MikeR said...

Huh? Social Justice Warriors, up and at 'em! Conservatives, especially women, should be able to have a devastating effect on the Clinton campaign. Go to Clinton speeches (even better if Bill is speaking) and as soon as he/she mentions women’s rights, protest loudly. Hold up signs. Get thrown out. “Rapist!” “Enabler!” “Child molester!” “Bill Cosby – Bill Clinton!” “You called Gennifer Flowers trailer trash because she was a victim!” "Victims' Lives Matter!"
Then, if you’re asked, attack her followers. “How can anyone who cares one bit about victims’ rights support this woman, or cheer for her rapist husband?” Most supporters have probably never heard about this stuff, or taken it seriously.
Don’t coordinate with Republican candidates, just go. It should be impossible for Bill Clinton to lift his head in this campaign.

David Begley said...

Bill should cry based on the way he has treated Hillary.

And if we want a cheerleader, then elect Marco's wife. She's an expert cheerleader and way better looking than Trump.

mccullough said...

Hillary wasn't good enough for Bill. She isn't good enough for America.

Franklin Pierce was a weak president. But he was handsome. And Nathaniel Hwathorne wrote a book about him. So that's something. Hillary ain't nothing

traditionalguy said...

What a total distraction: Having Bill Clinton do all the speaking and vision things while Hillary is right there like Stephen Hawking sitting in the wheel chair.

Hillary is so very strong that she appears on day one, then Bill fills in for her for four days, and then a sober Hillary comes back on day five and reintroduces herself.

chuck said...

Spirit of the times? Yeah, right. I'm thinking the Ghost of Christmas Future is a better fit for Hillary.

eric said...

If Trump wins the primary, I think Hillary is doomed in the general. It won't even be close.

Trump will even win New York, making itna red state. Of course, it won't be anymore red than its ever been. But the perception will have Democrats panicking.

Seeing Red said...

Trump thought Obama would be a great cheerleader for the USA? Another rube self-identifies. Or just another LIV.

Seeing Red said...

If The Donald really wants to have fun, he should start calling for the release of the impeachment papers now instead of waiting. It's for transparency!

Paul Zrimsek said...

Clinton says that in speaking with the families she did not blame the Harper's Ferry raid on Uncle Tom's Cabin. But she had Harriet Beecher Stowe locked up anyway.

Bay Area Guy said...

It's hard to get political magic (Reagan had it, Clinton had it, Obama had it), and it's real hard to sustain it for 20 years. In 1992, Bill Clinton was a young unknown, until he knocked off Bush 1. He easily won a second term, and had enough magic to get Hillary elected to the Senate in 2000, but did not have enough magic to get his VP Gore to the White House.(Thank God!)

Does Bill retain any magic now 15 years after the fact? Yes, but only with certain elements of the mainstream media. I don't think it carries much to the Millennial crowd, who were not even born yet or, of course, to the crowd with long memories (like me), who didn't really like Slick Willie, and thought he was a bullshit artist at the time.

Re-visiting the Monica Lewinsky foibles, the Paula Jones foibles, the Kathleen Willey foibles, in this heightened environment, won't be fun for Slick Willie and, won't inure to Hillary's political benefit (I hope).

And, then there is the unspoken:

When a man cheats so brazenly, so conspicuously, so publicly on his Wife, who tolerates it, and does not leave him -- what does that say about the Wife?

SteveR said...

The Clinton camp -- and Democrats in general -- are counting on a lot of voters that have no sense of history. Babble away and count on the media not to point it out. People like free stuff and so that's what we'll hear about, how great Hillary will be for the people that have been slithering into the clutches of the blue state. There's a lot of people whose only real skill is applying for benefits, they aren't even trying anymore.

Sammy Finkelman said...

I don't know if Bill thought that theory up on his own

I would say that he probably thought up most of this himself. One idea - the basic underlying idea here of it being possible for some people to be good for president at one time but not at another - and one example of that - may come from somewhere else.

That's a particularly cutting remark about Abraham Lincoln. Saying that he would not have been a good president any other time - and not because of his approach to deciding things, but because of depression. (which only showed up from time to time)

He's got to have some reason for diminishing Lincoln. Did some mentor of his say something about Lincoln in the 1950s? Adlai Stevenson compared himself to Lincoln, so why is he saying this??

And why does he have this thing for Franklin Pierce? Pierce was what was called a a northern man with southern principles. Peirce also did a few things, like opening up Japan.

There's always an ulterior reason for everything Bill Clinton says. You just may not know what it is. It is interesting food for thought to investigate and try to figure out why.

but of course, it led to the conclusion that Hillary is what goes with the particular time that we are in now. What exactly is it about Hillary and our time that fit together so well? I don't think he explained it.

It's probably better for him if you use your own imagination. Every person will giive himself his own answer.

This is also maybe is a way of saying that Obama was good in 2008.

It also is designed too make people feel good about voting for a Republican in the past, or Obama against hillaery in 2008, but now voting for Hillary, without feeling they were wrong.

This whole thing enables him to praise people who were president at one time while saying they wouldn't be a good president now. Bush I and II, for instance, or Reagan.

n.n said...

Selective-child, selective exclusion, devaluation of capital and labor, anti-native policies, peace and carnage?

Humperdink said...

Spouse and I have been visiting presidential homes over the past few years. They generally offer very informative tours. Went to visit the Franklin Pierce farmstead last may. It was closed.

Levi Starks said...

Hillary as zeitgeist....
I'm just not feeling it.

tim maguire said...

Trump thought Obama would be a great cheerleader?

The man truly has no judgment.

ddh said...

Somehow I suspect that, like William Devane selling silver, Bill Clinton would always say that there is no better time to vote Hillary than now.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

Hillary just makes me tired. She is as charismatic as a dusty toadstool. If this is a time for everyone in America to turn the gas on in their ovens and stick their collective heads in, then maybe it's time for Hillary. I'll give them that.

Sal said...

America has become an old lady in a pantsuit.

rehajm said...

The old Bill Clinton playbook. I want you to think about the things I want you to think about so you won't think about the horrible things you should be thinking about.

The Clintons are old and tired. Old and tired must be the spirit of the times.

William Chadwick said...

Well, we certainly seem to be sliding with accelerating speed down the Road to Serfdom, with an increasing zeitgeist that liberty is over-rated.. So in that sense I guess Bubba's nominal wife, the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua, would fir the Spirit of the Age more than anyone who is, say, less of a State-shtupper.

Original Mike said...

"President Obama is a bad cheerleader."

Understatement of the year (I know, I know, the year is young.)

JSD said...

It’s always been about Bill Clinton. Nobody will admit it, but he is the one running for President. Hillary can barely make it two days in a row on the campaign trail. That famous Bill Clinton magic the Democrats are pining for? That was twenty years ago. Today, he’s an unattractive old man. It happens to all of us. It’s the Last Hurrah and Bill Clinton is Frank Skeffington.

Real American said...

Hillary Clinton doesn't fit the spirit of our time. She probably doesn't fit the spirit of any time, but if she did, that time has long since passed. She's a nothing. Hasn't done anything to qualify herself for the presidency. What has she accomplished? NOTHING!

RichardJohnson said...

Bill Clinton — doing his first rally for Hillary — talks about Franklin Pierce and Abraham Lincoln and the need for a President who fits the spirit of the times.

If Hillary Clinton "fits the spirit of the times," we are witnessing terminal decline of the American nation. From Hillary Clinton’s public vs. private Benghazi facts:
Hillary Clinton presented one set of Benghazi facts to her own family; another to the family of the victims and the American public.

Within hours of the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Clinton emailed her daughter, Chelsea, that Americans had died at the hands of an al-Qaeda like group. Al-Qaeda is the Islamic extremist terrorist group that was led by Osama bin Laden. Clinton also informed Egypt’s prime minister and Libya’s president that the attacks were “preplanned” and “had nothing to do with” an anti-Islamic video posted on YouTube.

Yet Clinton told the American public and families of the Benghazi victims that the maker of the video was to blame for sparking protesters who got out of hand in Benghazi and spontaneously launched assaults. In fact, there had been no protests in Benghazi.

The newly-revealed emails were reported today at a House Benghazi Committee hearing where Clinton testified. They were sent via a private server that Clinton set up and used for official government business when she was secretary of state. They were not originally turned over in response to public records requests and subpoenas. The existence of Clinton’s private server was discovered last year by the Benghazi committee.

The information indicates for the first time that Clinton had direct knowledge of, and accepted almost immediately, the terrorist nature of the attacks. She not only told a different story publicly; she also stood silent as her ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, and other Obama administration officials advanced alternate narratives. The attacks happened amid President Obama’s re-election campaign in which he had touted al-Qaeda’s supposed demise.


If such a documented liar "fits the spirit of the times," there is little hope for us.

rightguy2 said...

I don't think Slick Willy wanted us to think Hillary is right for these times. He wants people think back about how incredibly right he was for the 90's. I'm not so certain BJ Clinton really wants his bride to get elected POTUS. He's already got more money than God.

MadisonMan said...

Vote for Hillary because she's no Franklin Pierce!

What a great campaign slogan.

Trump v. Clinton. Two septuagenarians (almost) duking it out, with frequent naps for at least one of them.

grimson said...

"Presidents succeed when they are right for the time," the most recent example being Ronald Reagan, although I am sure Clinton thinks it is himself. And, Obama is the most recent example of one who is totally wrong for the time, particularly after the "Great Recession" and given American military involvement overseas when he assumed office. It is hard to imagine any time for which Hillary would be successful.

jameswhy said...

Wasn't Franklin Pierce from NH? Bill was, as usual, pandering to the voters with this (local) reference.

cubanbob said...

Interesting observation by Bill Clinton. Even more interesting is how he can't see that he and his wife are past their sale-by date.

Michael K said...

Did you look at the video of that rally ? The Daily Mail thinks the women looked like they wanted to be anywhere else.

That sounds like a theme to me.

Also if WaPO is starting to look into the Benghazi families and what they were told, maybe the WaPo is starting to look beyond Hillary, and what the Democrats would do if she implodes.

Big Mike said...

Hillary Clinton's time was 2008, but she ran a poor campaign and blew it in the primaries.

wildswan said...

Clinton is saying that Pierce was right to support slavery and oppose the abolitionists in 1852!! I thought Clinton was our first black president.

Pierce was a New Englander who supported slavery because his father, who fought in the Revolution and then became a wealthy and prominent NH politician, had allowed it a place in the Constitution. He and his supporters, the Democrats, felt the Constitution could not be so radically changed; he was opposed by the Adams family which also was prominent in the Revolution and which was arguing that the Revolution was unfinished in that slavery still existed. They and their supporters were founding the Republican party. Pierce won the election 1853-1857. So, Clinton is saying that Pierce was right to support slavery and oppose the abolitionists in 1852. I think Clinton will be quickly sent back to the priapic shores he's been gracing; I think he's past it.

PS Read Nathaniel Hawthorne's biography of Franklin Pierce if you want to know more about Pierce. (mentioned on this blog, not too long ago.)



wildswan said...

Clinton is saying that Pierce was right to support slavery and oppose the abolitionists in 1852!! I thought Clinton was our first black president.

Pierce was a New Englander who supported slavery because his father, who fought in the Revolution and then became a wealthy and prominent NH politician, had allowed it a place in the Constitution. He and his supporters, the Democrats, felt the Constitution could not be so radically changed; he was opposed by the Adams family which also was prominent in the Revolution and which was arguing that the Revolution was unfinished in that slavery still existed. They and their supporters were founding the Republican party. Pierce won the election 1853-1857. So, Clinton is saying that Pierce was right to support slavery and oppose the abolitionists in 1852. I think Clinton will be quickly sent back to the priapic shores he's been gracing; I think he's past it.

PS Read Nathaniel Hawthorne's biography of Franklin Pierce if you want to know more about Pierce. (mentioned on this blog, not too long ago.)



Smilin' Jack said...

We need cheerleading.

Yes! Can the Raiderettes become, like, co-presidents or something? That would so make me feel better about paying my taxes!

Amanda said...

If Hillary weird to implode, Democrats would happily vote for Sanders, no problem.

Laura said...

"Then he shifted, for the ending, into some theory of the presidency, about how Presidents succeed when they are right for the time."

Then why was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in 2010? Or do we need to know what the definition of "they" is?

Or perhaps to serve as First Gentleman would be stretching definitions as well.

Laura said...

Bob Dole was 73 in 1996. Bernie Sanders is 74. Hillary R. Clinton is 68 with an alleged history of concussion.

Vice presidential nominees could be very, very interesting. Pun intended.