Clintons Out of the Game
A curious piece by Politico’s Ben Smith, “Game over: The Clintons stand alone,” begins:
A new book is out with a highly critical but unsourced portrait of Hillary Clinton. This familiar occurrence — it’s happened too many times to count over the years — has usually been greeted with an equally familiar response: A fast and furious counterattack from the Clinton inner circle.
What’s notable about the highly publicized release of “Game Change,” however, is the virtual silence from the Clinton camp. The lack of public outrage seems to mark the sputtering end of what was once known as the Clinton political machine and underlines a fact that onetime Clinton loyalists acknowledge: The book’s primary sources about the former candidate and current secretary of state are her own former staffers and intimates.
As a result, there is no campaign of veteran Clintonites spinning the press corps and trying to pre-emptively discredit the book’s scathing depiction of Hillary Clinton as a rudderless candidate and a cheerleader for vicious tactics against eventual winner Barack Obama. There is no team of Clinton proxies going on cable television to denounce authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann as scurrilous and unworthy of belief.
This time, Bill and Hillary Clinton are virtually alone.
The less dramatic but more accurate assessment is that the Clintons don’t have a team because they’re no longer in the game.
Come next Wednesday at noon, Bill Clinton will have been out of office nine years. He’s off playing elder statesman and philanthropist.
Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, lost her best chance at getting elected president in her own right and will almost certainly not make another bid. Sure, she’s only 62. But her next shot would come in 2016, at which point she’ll be 69. It’s been done — successfully by Ronald Reagan and unsuccessfully by Bob Dole and John McCain — by men that old. Can a woman do it? Using Secretary of State as her platform? Probably not.
Beyond the political and cultural obstacles, one imagines the Clintons would like to cash in on the lecture circuit again. And, frankly, enjoy their golden years doing something less stressful.