Hillary: Hooray or hell no?

Sunday, Hillary Clinton announced she was running for president. Sunday night started the mud-slinging. It’s been 96 years since the 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote. It’s amazing that it’s taken this long for a female candidate to get this close to being the Commander in Chief. (As if the men have done such a great job.)

In 1984 Geraldine Ferraro was Mondale’s running mate against Reagan and Bush Sr. But Mondale-Ferraro won 13 electoral votes. (Not exactly a squeaker.)

The closest was Sarah Palin’s vice presidential run in 2008. Among other things, she told schoolchildren that the vice president runs the Senate. To think Palin was a heartbeat from the presidency still gives me palpitations.

Both parties can be vicious during campaigns. It likely won’t change until there’s public financing of elections, but that’s another column for another day.

A perfect example of obscene viciousness was the Georgia senatorial race in 2002. The incumbent was Max Cleland, who had lost three limbs in Vietnam and had been awarded Silver and Bronze stars. His GOP opponent, Saxby Chambliss, was 4-F during Vietnam.

In 2001, Cleland courageously voted against the Patriot Act in the Senate. The bill had been rushed through Congress, with many legislators not even bothering to read it. At Karl Rove’s direction, Chambliss’ campaign posters featured Cleland’s photo next to Osama bin Laden as though they were fellow travelers. (How’s that for vicious?)

So the candidate who didn’t serve in the military was elected by calling his triple amputee opponent a traitor. The answer to “Have they no shame?” is “Apparently not.”

Another ethically challenged election was in 2004 (and also thanks to Rove), when John Kerry was attacked with the infamous “Swift Boat” ads. From 1966-1970 Kerry was a lieutenant in the Navy. George Bush Jr. was in the Air National Guard. (Illegally moving up 1,000 places on the list because of his father’s political connections.)

Bush’s Guard unit was referred to as the “Champagne Unit.” This was because of the excessive partying and because they trained on planes not suited for Vietnam and thus would avoid combat. How convenient.

During Vietnam, Kerry received a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. During his “military service,” Bush probably received numerous hangovers. Thus, the draft dodger defeated the war hero again. In 1969 George Harrison wrote, “Here Comes the Sun.” For Hillary it might be, “Here Comes the Mud.”

During Bill Clinton’s presidency the couple were actually accused by some “wing nuts” of murdering their lawyer, Vincent Foster, who committed suicide. (Raising “vicious” to a new level.)

As the Fosters grieved they endured accounts from the likes of Rush Limbaugh. The spurious allegation was that the Clintons had slipped out of the White House and had done the deed themselves. (Good grief.)

The king of sleaze was Richard Nixon with his “dirty tricks,” which culminated with Watergate and Nixon’s unprecedented resignation. But people forget Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” of 1968, implemented in the south to exploit race as a wedge issue.

To his credit, Ken Mehlman, head of the Republican National Committee, spoke to the 2005 NAACP convention. He apologized, saying the Southern Strategy “was morally wrong.”

In 1988, presidential candidate George H.W. Bush was trailing Michael Dukakis by 17 percent. Enter Lee Atwater, the ruthless architect of the infamous “Willie Horton” TV ads, which also exploited racial tension.

Needless to say, Bush Sr. trounced Dukakis. However, within three years, Atwater, 40, died of brain cancer. Before his death, he phoned Dukakis to apologize.

So, for the next 20 months, Benghazi will be chanted from the right with allegations Hillary was asleep at the switch. Even though she was exonerated after Congressional investigations, it’s likely there will be more.

Four Americans died at Benghazi. (Keep in mind 242 Americans died in 1983 after Reagan deployed the Marines to Beirut and terrorist bombs blew up their barracks.) As for Clinton’s Benghazi accusers, it’s ironic that many voted to slash security funding for our Libyan embassy. Go figure.

Actually, “asleep at the switch” describes George W. Bush in 2001. On Aug. 6, he received a briefing that bin Laden was determined to attack in the U.S. (36 days before 9/11!)

The briefing included “attacks on financial centers” and “commercial airliners.” Did Bush notify the airlines? Put the country on alert? Actually, he went on vacation to Crawford. Apparently, brush needed cutting.

Testifying before the 9/11 Commission, Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Adviser, stated, “The administration did not anticipate strikes within the country.” To this day, she insists the briefing “wasn’t an actual warning,” whatever that means.

Fast forward to 2016. When Sarah Palin isn’t shooting wolves from helicopters, she’ll likely be leading the Hillary “hell no” chorus. Vice President Joe Biden could attack back, but he’ll probably be too busy running the Senate.

Jack Neworth is at facebook.com/jackneworth and twitter.com/jackneworth and can be reached at jnsmdp@aol.com.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *