Did Hillary just make Bill fair game in the 2016 election?

posted at 10:01 am on January 18, 2016 by Ed Morrissey

Open season on Bill Clinton? So argues Callum Borchers of the Washington Post, who argues that Hillary Clinton removed any waiver of family privacy during last night’s debate. When Lester Holt asked about the role the former president would serve in her administration, Hillary said she planned to make him a “public emissary” for her agenda:

I’m going to have the very best advisers that I can possibly have, and when it comes to the economy and what was accomplished under my husband’s leadership in the ’90s — especially when it came to raising incomes for everybody and lifting more people out of poverty than at any time in recent history — you bet.

I’m going to ask for his ideas, I’m going ask for his advice, and I’m going use him as a goodwill emissary to go around the country to find the best ideas we’ve got, because I do believe, as he said, everything that’s wrong with America has been solved somewhere in America.

Borchers says that’s enough to open the door to examine Bill’s past as part of the vetting for a Hillary presidency:

But that puts him in a different category. He’s not just a supportive husband who happens to be a former president. He’s potentially a future White House representative and someone who could have the next president’s ear as she shapes economic policy. That means he ought to be vetted and that Hillary Clinton’s decision to include him among her advisers should be scrutinized.

If another Democratic candidate said that he or she planned to deploy Bill Clinton as an emissary and to consult him on economics, that choice would surely get a thorough examination from the press. The standard should be no different in this case.

True enough. And the idea that Hillary would let Bill off the leash to travel on his own while she remained in the White House is … rather amusing, given his track record. Maybe she figures he’d be seen as a Joe Bideneque character by the national media, too innocuous and personally charming to be taken seriously or have his peccadilloes scrutinized to any degree. She’d probably be correct, too.

Still, Bill was a legitimate story before this declaration last night, too — especially with Hillary framing herself as the Defender of All Women on the campaign trail. That provided an opening for opponents to remind voters of Hillary’s handling of her husband’s peccadilloes when it should have mattered. This isn’t the same as discussing a spouse who largely stays out of the electoral process. Bill was President of the United States, and former POTUSes are not off limits under any circumstance. Just ask George W. Bush … and for that matter, his brother Jeb, who has been asked about George’s actions in office a lot more than Hillary has been questioned about the action Bill was getting in the Oval Office.

So yes, it is legitimate to make Bill Clinton’s past an issue in this election, and it always was. The better question is whether it will be effective. A new Reuters poll says no:

Bill Clinton may not be the “secret weapon” that Hillary Clinton needs in the U.S. presidential race. And the former Democratic president may not become the albatross that Republican candidate Donald Trump expects, either.

Bill Clinton simply is not wielding that kind of influence – good or bad – over voters so far this year, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. A majority of Americans, including 73 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans, said Bill Clinton does not factor into their opinion of Hillary for president.

The poll, conducted Jan. 7 to 13, found that 12 percent of Americans are more likely to vote for Hillary, the former secretary of state, because of her marriage to Bill. Among Democrats, fewer than half said Bill Clinton should be more prominent in his wife’s campaign, and less than half felt that his presence in the race would boost her chances of winning.

It’s basically a wash. Twelve percent are more likely to vote for Hillary because of Bill, and 15% are less likely to do so. Furthermore, the Bill attack is a trap for Republicans. Hillary wants the 2016 election to be about the past, about the Clinton Restoration, as she still sees it as Camelot II. Republicans need 2016 to be about the future rather than the past, and the last thing they need is to have voters watch them get re-entangled in the impeachment debate from 1998. An entire generation of voters have come of age in the 18 years since the scandals broke out into partisan warfare on Capitol Hill, and they likely couldn’t care less who won those two decades ago, let alone now.

The GOP has all the ammunition they need to paint Hillary as a relic of the past and far more unworthy of trust than her husband. Any other attacks on the supporting team is not just a waste, but a distraction from far better arguments.


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Comments

“Bill on the campaign trail” sounds more like a рorn movie than a political plan.

Rix on January 18, 2016 at 10:04 AM

Furthermore, the Bill attack is a trap for Republicans. Hillary wants the 2016 election to be about the past … An entire generation of voters have come of age in the 18 years since the scandals broke out into partisan warfare on Capitol Hill, and they likely couldn’t care less who won those two decades ago, let alone now.

But the mores have hardened considerably on the issue of abusing women. The more those young voters find out about Bill Clinton and the way Hillary enabled him, the less they will like either of them.

Fenris on January 18, 2016 at 10:11 AM

The point of attack, of course, is not what a wretched piece of refuse Bill himself is, but how Hillary participated in the post-rape destruction of his victims.

She is a sexual abuser, ex post facto.

Dolce Far Niente on January 18, 2016 at 10:15 AM

So far, Mr. Clinton is enjoying the campaign tail.

Dolce Far Niente on January 18, 2016 at 10:16 AM

Hillary said she planned to make him a “public emissary” for her agenda.

I think you misspelled pubic.

fogw on January 18, 2016 at 10:17 AM

But the mores have hardened considerably on the issue of abusing women. The more those young voters find out about Bill Clinton and the way Hillary enabled him, the less they will like either of them.

Fenris on January 18, 2016 at 10:11 AM

That would be the only way to really go after them during their time in the WH.

I do think that it’s fair game to go very hard after Bill and Hillary with all of the circumstantial evidence of their speaking fees / quid pro quo shenanigans – starting with the connections, donations, speaking fees, and State Department approvals granted Clinton Crime Syndicate donors in the wake of Bill’s pardon of Marc Rich. Combine their ‘war on women’ with a large dose of their graft and corruption, and even more will feel the Bern.

Athos on January 18, 2016 at 10:19 AM

But the mores have hardened considerably on the issue of abusing women. The more those young voters find out about Bill Clinton and the way Hillary enabled him, the less they will like either of them.

Fenris on January 18, 2016 at 10:11 AM

The point of attack, of course, is not what a wretched piece of refuse Bill himself is, but how Hillary participated in the post-rape destruction of his victims.

She is a sexual abuser, ex post facto.

Dolce Far Niente on January 18, 2016 at 10:15 AM

These^

Rogue on January 18, 2016 at 10:20 AM

Hillary just make sure Bill has an ample supply of Viagra and teenagers.

woodhull on January 18, 2016 at 10:21 AM

Well, somebody has to go pick up that Red Chinese cash from Johnny Huang, don’t they?

M240H on January 18, 2016 at 10:24 AM

This already happened back in 2008 (maybe 2007). I can’t find it anywhere, but I distinctly remember Hillary promising a crowd of adoring supporters that as president, she would use Bill as a representative of America to the rest of the world. The quote went something like, “I can’t think of anyone better. Can yewwwwww?” (Roars of applause)

arhooley on January 18, 2016 at 10:25 AM

Well, somebody has to go pick up that Red Chinese cash from Johnny Huang, don’t they?

M240H on January 18, 2016 at 10:24 AM

Be sure market direction from the Chinese is really what the USA needs right now!

M240H on January 18, 2016 at 10:26 AM

Juanita Broaddrick: ‘Hillary thanked me after I was raped by Bill’

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/01/17/exclusive-juanita-broaddrick-says-bill-clinton-called-her-repeatedly-after-alleged-rape/

Pork-Chop on January 18, 2016 at 10:26 AM

Be sure >>> Because

M240H on January 18, 2016 at 10:26 AM

“Carlos Danger Part Deux!!”

Deano1952 on January 18, 2016 at 10:26 AM

Does she have a role for Bill Cosby?

kcewa on January 18, 2016 at 10:27 AM

This already happened in the 2007-2008 campaign. Hillary promised an adoring crowd of supporters that as president she would make Bill America’s representative to the world. I can’t find the clip for the life of me, but it ended something like: “I can’t think of anyone better! Can yewwwww?” (Roars of applause) No GOPer ever asked whether a rapist was our best face.

arhooley on January 18, 2016 at 10:28 AM

Maybe she figures he’d be seen as a Joe Bideneque character by the national media……….

Or maybe she’s planning to have him neutered…….

cottontail on January 18, 2016 at 10:29 AM

Yikes, sorry for all the posts. I kept getting broken script messages and had no idea things were getting posted.

arhooley on January 18, 2016 at 10:29 AM

The point of attack, of course, is not what a wretched piece of refuse Bill himself is, but how Hillary participated in the post-rape destruction of his victims.

Dolce Far Niente on January 18, 2016 at 10:15 AM

Bingo. And that takes the wind out of Hillary’s ‘war on women’ sails.

petefrt on January 18, 2016 at 10:31 AM

Too bad Clinton stooge Janet BBQ Reno didn’t make Slick a frog-marching perp as was her sworn duty.

viking01 on January 18, 2016 at 10:39 AM

Remember, if Bill becomes too much baggage for Hillary in the general election, there’s a potential for an October surprise.

By that, I mean, Bill is sent out to get caught openly cheating on Hillary. Hillary announces that that is the last straw and files for divorce, in hopes of winning the election on a sympathy vote.

Depending on how Hillary really feels, she could reconcile with Bill after the election and call off the divorce.

J.S.K. on January 18, 2016 at 10:42 AM

Slick Willie could shoot his enthusiasm all over Nicki Minaj on MTV and Hillary’s campaign would be there with a moist towelette.

Younggod on January 18, 2016 at 10:50 AM

The Republicans would be stupid to make Bill’s past actions the focus of their shots at Hillary — that’s exactly how Team Clinton wants to frame the issue, as angry right-wingers wanting to re-fight 1998 all over again. The point is to keep Hillary from having it both ways. Either she’s the Queen of XX chromosomes and supreme leader in the fight against the ‘War on Women’ or she’s Mrs. Bill Clinton, trotting out hubby and his legacy as president at campaign stops, because she herself is such a horrible retail campaigner.

If Hillary wants Bill on the campaign trail, she has to be forced to answer the question if she’s so gung-ho about women being believed on their claims against men, why did she work to destroy the women who made claims against her husband. Hillary of course will have no problem calling those women liars — she called the families of the Benghazi victims liars a couple of times over the past two weeks — but that still forces Hillary’s contradictions into the forefront, especially among those who’ve either forgotten or are too young to remember her role in defending Bill against Paul Jones’ claims in 1992 or Monica Lewinsky’s in 1998.

jon1979 on January 18, 2016 at 10:51 AM

Bill certainly has nothing to do with MY opinion of Hillary. I hate her solely for the things she has done and said all by herself.

Tom Servo on January 18, 2016 at 10:59 AM

so….gingrich for speaker again??

dmacleo on January 18, 2016 at 11:02 AM

Billy Jeff doe Dallas….Chicago…Los Angeles…NYC…

jukin3 on January 18, 2016 at 11:04 AM

Interesting observation by a commenter at NRA:

• Reply•Share ›
Avatar
Arminicious • 13 hours ago
Hillary and Eric Holder walked in to tonight’s debate together, and he endorsed her and campaigned with her this weekend.

If my Kremlinology analysis is accurate, Holder would not have done that if there has not been a grand bargain between Obama/Jarrett and Hillary.

So yes, she is too big to jail in our latter-day banana republic.

onlineanalyst on January 18, 2016 at 11:57 AM

Erm, that’s NRO, not NRA.

onlineanalyst on January 18, 2016 at 12:24 PM

If my Kremlinology analysis is accurate, Holder would not have done that [endorsed and campaigned for Hillary] if there has not been a grand bargain between Obama/Jarrett and Hillary.

So yes, she is too big to jail in our latter-day banana republic.

May Mr. Justice Holder ring in your ears as you make your voting decision.

Barnestormer on January 18, 2016 at 1:35 PM

“Bill on the campaign trail” sounds more like a рorn movie than a political plan.

Rix on January 18, 2016 at 10:04 AM

And the sequel: Bill Clinton starring in, “Predator in Chief”

Oxymoron on January 18, 2016 at 1:49 PM

‘DEATH LIST’ AND IRS RAVAGED ‘WOMEN OF CLINTON’
‘When you investigate all scandals … you find dead people’

http://www.wnd.com/2016/01/death-list-and-irs-ravaged-women-of-clinton/#p2CD9EEaHMwGvOZs.99

Pork-Chop on January 18, 2016 at 2:45 PM

Now that Bernie is gaining on her, Hillary had to openly remind people that they are not voting for her, but for Bill. Not even die-hard Democrats want her. But they are willing to let Bill sneak in the backdoor. He will stage a place coup the evening of Hillary’s inauguration and relegate her to her “everyone’s grandma” persona and have her back cookies for the entire country.

And yes, she did make Bill fair game.

bartbeast on January 18, 2016 at 2:47 PM

Hillary – If Bill or Anthony were to engage sexually (even if consensual) with White House Staff – Would you Stand by your man or your employees?

Would you fire them or allow it to continue?

NO US HR department would allow Bill Clinton or Anthony Wiener on their payrolls.

barnone on January 18, 2016 at 4:40 PM