The Clintons Need a Restart

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by Joe Klein,

from TIME Magazine,

The power couple looks more like an example of excess in politics than a force to tame it.

This has been an annoying summer for the Clintons. There was the spectacle of Hillary Clinton’s closest aide Huma Abedin standing by her man, the infantile former Congresspervert Anthony Weiner–an unfortunate reminder of the interns of yesteryear. There was the splashback over whether Lawrence Summers, a former Clinton Treasury Secretary, should become chairman of the Federal Reserve Board–an unfortunate reminder of the feckless Clintonian attitude toward financial deregulation, which led rather directly to the Great Recession of 2008. And to top it off, there was a New York Times exposé of moral and fiscal slovenliness at the Clinton Foundation–an unfortunate reminder of the way the Clintons too often go about their business, combining great works in the world with shameless world-class fundraising.

All this while former Secretary Clinton was getting her ducks in a row, preparing, no doubt, for another run at the presidency in 2016.

I suspect that this will be a problem for Hillary Clinton going forward, unless she decides to do something about it. The Clintons, [as Mark Leibovich. the political book of the summer, Mark Leibovich’s This Town] makes clear, were present at the creation of Washington celebrity culture. Their political consultants became TV stars. Their press aides and pollsters careened through the revolving door to take jobs doing crisis management. Their fundraisers, like the relentless Terry McAuliffe, set new levels of brazen display. (You may recall the renting of the Lincoln Bedroom.).

Much of the political press and almost all the smug Democrats who populate the world that Leibovich describes in This Town have anointed Hillary Clinton as the party’s next nominee and, given the morbid state of the Republican Party, probably the next President. She is certainly the best-qualified politician to run for President in many a moon. But I wonder: At what point does the stench emanating from Washington reach a critical mass of the population? Can a populist reformer, like New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo or Montana’s Brian Schweitzer, run against her.

My guess is that Clinton will have to emerge from her comfort zone …

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