by Dick Morris | July 15, 2015 12:07 am
If Hillary Clinton becomes the next president — and, in the process defeats Jeb Bush — the Bush family will only have itself to blame. Without the active help of both former presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, Bill and Hillary Clinton would be on the ash heap of history. It was Bill’s predecessor and his successor who saved his and his wife’s career. Remember the history. President Clinton finished his second term high in job approval but very low in personal favorability. This trend, a reversal of the norm, began when his relationship with Monica Lewinsky became known. His job performance, including years of balanced budgets, sustained his ratings even as voters deplored his personal life.
Then it hit the fan. As he left office, Bill:
–Signed a plea deal with the Special Prosecutor in which he admitted that he gave misleading testimony in the 1998 Paula Jones case about his affair with Monica Lewinsky and accepted a five-year suspension of his Arkansas law license. In exchange, the prosecutor — Robert Ray — agreed not to indict Clinton on perjury charges. Clinton eventually paid a $1 million fine.
–Left the White House carrying $190,000 worth of gifts they had received in office. They had to return $114,000 of them. An attempted burglary gone bad!
–Hillary signed an $8 million book deal in the period after she was elected Senator in November, 2000 and before she entered the Senate two months later. The deal wasn’t announced until after she was safely elected and before she would be bound by Senate rules prohibiting exorbitant book advances for its members.
–Bill pardoned 147 felons on his final day in office, some of whom had paid Hillary’s brothers or Bill’s brother to for help in securing the pardons. Others were generous donors to the Clinton Library.
Under the media bludgeoning that ensued, Clintons ratings dropped precipitously.
When he left office, President Bill Clinton enjoyed a favorable rating, in the Gallup poll of Dec. 2, 2000, of 57 percent. But by the time the public learned of his end-of-term fiascos, it fell to 51 percent (on Feb. 3, 2001) and thence to 42 percent on Feb. 19, 2001. Finally, it reached an all-time low of 39 percent on March 5, 2001. He was roadkill.
But his rehabilitation came in 2003 when President Bush-43, battered by the Katrina hurricane in August of 2005 and castigated for inaction and insensitivity, reached for Bill and his father as life preservers. At his suggestion, they teamed up as an unlikely duo to minister to the stricken hurricane victims. Bill was rewarded with a redemptive rise in the polls, bouncing back to 60 percent favorability on Oct. 21, 2005. Soon the pair was en route to Haiti to minister to the victims there. (For Bill and Hillary, it was a heaven sent opportunity for thievery and plunder.)
The closer Bill hugged George-41, the better he did. And, Bill’s rehabilitation dragged along Hillary in its wake.
Inexplicably, the rehabilitation continues to this day. Just last week, the two former presidents — Clinton and Bush-41 — joined to address a class in presidential leadership in Texas. As they exchanged quips and hoped a Jeb-Hillary race would follow the “high road,” the implicit message remained: Bill Clinton is an honest man, worthy of respect from the widely admired former president.
If it were not for this kind of ultimate insider thinking, in which evidence of dishonesty, bribery and concealment by a former president and his candidate/wife are dismissed as “just politics”, we would never even consider elevating the Clintons to high public office again.
The Bushes have breathed new life into the Frankensteins, and the resulting monsters may yet devour them … and us.
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