Writing in the Atlantic, David Frum may be on to something here, a sentence that I don’t believe I’ve uttered in the last six or so years. As Frum writes, “Neither Reagan nor Clinton tried to hem in their party’s likely next nominees in the way that President Obama is hemming in Hillary Clinton. Why the difference?”
Obama strongly opposed George W. Bush, but when he was defining himself as a national figure, it was Bill Clinton against whom he defined himself. Clinton politics were petty and personal. “In the back and forth between Clinton and Gingrich,” he wrote, in The Audacity of Hope, “and in the elections of 2000 and 2004, I sometimes felt as if I were watching the psychodrama of the baby boom generation—a tale rooted in old grudges and revenge plots hatched on a handful of college campuses long ago—played out on the national stage.”
In 1995 Bill Clinton announced to both houses of Congress that the era of big government had ended. In 2009, Obama, speaking from the same rostrum, warned that “the danger of too much government is matched by the perils of too little.” At some deep level, Obama’s entire project has been a reply, not to Republican conservatism but to Democratic neoliberalism. Now, as his presidency nears its close, the wife, heir, and namesake of the leader of the neoliberals has emerged as the overwhelming favorite to lead the Democratic Party in 2016.
Almost as much as a Republican victory, a Clinton succession would punctuate the Obama presidency with a question mark. Obama’s highest priority over the next two years seems to be to convert that question mark into an exclamation point, to force Hillary Clinton to campaign and govern on his terms. Whatever happens after that, he can at least say that it was his kind of Democratic Party—not Bill Clinton’s—that won a third consecutive mandate, after having twice done what Clinton never did: win an outright majority of the presidential ballots cast.
Of course, Hillary Clinton can see all this, too. So can Bill Clinton, perhaps even more acutely. The next fascinating question is: what will they do about it?
Read the whole thing. And between all of the material produced by Obama and his operatives in the MSM to attack Hillary in 2007 and 2008, and Obama’s apparently still ice-cold relationship with the Clintons, whatever happens in November of 2016, it will be fun to watch Hillary traverse the many landmines in her path to the White House.
As for tonight, Steve Green, our friendly neighborhood Vodkapundit, is scheduled to drunkblog Obama State of the Union speech in less than an hour on the PJM homepage. I hope he and his liver are up to the daunting task ahead:
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Update: Allahpundit wonders if Mr. Obama, our “Semi-retired troll ready to bring his troll A-game” will also be trolling Elizabeth Warren as well tonight.