With all the complaining about the Clinton and Bush dynasties, you’d think Hillary would want to emphasize “Rodham,” or at least distance herself from the Republican former president. But The Observer comments on the meeting between Hillary and George, during Nancy Reagan’s funeral.
Report on this from The Observer:
A photo of Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush smiling in embrace recently surfaced at former first lady Nancy Reagan’s funeral. The image gives light to the intimate relationship between the Bush and Clinton families—particularly that of Hillary and George W. . .
Despite the Bush family being Republican and the Clinton family being Democrats—especially as the polarity between parties is arguably broader than it ever has been in the past few decades—the two political dynasties have maintained a surprisingly close relationship. In a 2014, George W. Bush called Bill Clinton his “brother from another mother” on Instagram, in response to a tweet from Mr. Clinton about Mr. Bush’s latest book. That same year, in an interview with Real Clear Politics, Mr. Bush said of Mr. Clinton, “He’s got a good spirit about him. We’re the only baby-boomer presidents. We were both Southern governors, and we both like each other. He’s fun to be around. I hope he would say I’m fun to be around. And we’re both grandfathers.” In a separate interview with CNN, Mr. Bush described Ms. Clinton as his “sister-in-law.”
The article has a quote from Hillary, saying, basically, that her support for Bush’s Iraq War was a quid-pro-quo for his giving NYC $20 billion to rebuild. Sort of sounds like Donald Trump saying his contributions and social engagement with Hillary was just to “buy favor.” But the article doesn’t question the idea of politicians making such deals.
However, it was pretty clear in noting the discomfort that Americans have with dynasties.
Since the 18th century revolutions have been fueled by the abuse and corruption rampant in monarchies and family dynasties. When democracy took place, the people were heard and represented. The Bush and Clinton families have since circumvented what democracy, in theory, is supposed to accomplish: Although they were elected, their rise to power was ensured by the influence of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Each presidency built the foundation for another Bush and another Clinton to reach the White House.
The article also noted that the Bush and Clinton families are both moderate in philosophy, especially in foreign affairs. In fact Hillary and Jeb shared many of the same contributors this year.
Of course, Hillary was stung by the widespread distribution of the photo with George W. It gave Bernie Sanders plenty of ammunition to say that dynasties are bad, Bush and Clinton are identical, and it makes no sense to elect “moderates,” since they are the both, regardless of party label.
Hillary responded with attacks on Republicans, a few days later, using George W as a poster boy for what they do wrong, according to the NY Post:
“Folks who get excited by the rhetoric and demagoguery on the Republican side need to be reminded that they are George W. Bush on steroids,” Clinton said, commenting on the GOP presidential field’s plans for the economy while stumping in Chicago.
“Their plan — each and every one of them — would throw us back into the mess that President Obama was able to dig us out of,” Clinton said to thunderous applause.
Of course, flip-flopping is a politician’s prerogative. As noted above, Donald Trump has been a fan of Hillary in the past, but now sees her differently, in this Politico article:
Lawyers asked Trump to address a 2008 Trump University blog post in which he said that “Hillary [Clinton] is smart, tough and a very nice person and so is her husband” and that “Bill Clinton was a great president.”
“It was a long time ago. I mean, at the time — I mean, I was fine with it at the time. I think in retrospect, looking back, it was not a great presidency because of his scandals,” Trump said.
Trump had also written that Hillary “would make a great president or vice president.”
But that’s not his current view. “I don’t think she’s got the gravitas,” he said.
Trump was also asked about previous comments that Bush was just what the country needed. “Was that an honest sentiment when you expressed that about Jeb Bush?” an attorney asked.
“No, I didn’t know him very well when I said that,” Trump answered. “I mean, I hardly knew him at all. Now I know him well, and I think he would be a disaster as president, frankly.”
Trump explained that his words as a businessman — before launching his presidential bid — “didn’t matter” and were largely driven by a desire to be liked.
Should our aversion to dynasty keep Hillary from becoming president? And now that most people think the campaign appears to be down to Hillary vs. Trump, is this now also a campaign of the Establishment against the Upstart?