copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert
Months ago, it was Springtime. The Primary Election season was about to come to a close. In March, talk turned to the month that begins summer. Senator Clinton was elated, as were we all. At the time, it seemed soon June would be busting out all over. The Senator from New York believed she had a chance to secure the Democratic nomination. The former First Lady spoke of how wondrous the sixth month of the year might be. When asked of her plans for the rest of the year, Hillary Clinton rejoiced. She recounted; June 1992 was a euphoric time for the Clinton family. Perchance, in 2008, she said, the same thirty days might again bring reason for euphoria. The Senator expressed, the unexpected might occur, just as it did in 1968, when . . . the disturbing, distressing, disquieting, the dire, calamitous catastrophe crippled American citizenry.
Yes, in March, animals still hibernated and perhaps, the American people were a bit sleepy from their long winter nap. The electorate was focused on Spring fever. Any reason for jubilance brought joy to those who participated in the political process. In the third month of the year, not only was nature anxious to awaken from a sleepy season, the people in the United States were eager to be reborn.
The last seven years were too long. The storms and strife were too severe. In America, it was time to turn the page. The pain inflicted by the Bush Administration was too great. The people craved peace and prosperity. They were willing to fight for what they thought best. Some remembered the 1990s fondly. Perchance, we could go back to better times. Certainly, now it seemed anything would be possible. Women had achieved a victory. So too had working class, “whites.” Finally, Clinton and her constituency thought this was true. The former First Lady, Hillary Clinton had just realized a triumph in the Ohio and Texas primaries.
Prepared for what many had long said would be a much-deserved coronation, Senator Clinton was elated. Against all odds, or perhaps, as predicted the elected official from New York proved there was no reason for her to suspend her journey to the White House. Indeed, she often spoke of how excited she was as she contemplated the time when the moving van would pull up to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and she would again hold the keys to the Oval Office. Hillary Clinton said she was “ready to clean house” at the most prestigious abode in the land. That was Spring. That is the time of the year when many think to tidy up.
Yet, while the two wins were glorious, many thought these were not enough. Journalist believed there were problems for the presumed nominee. Barack Obama had much support, possibly more than the magnificent Senator from New York. Thus, in an interview with Time Magazine the Presidential aspirant was asked and answer . . .
One group that probably ultimately wouldn’t want it to go on too long is the Democratic Party itself. Can you envision a point at which – if the race stays this close – and with the difficulties that everyone has analyzed in accumulating enough delegates to get any distance ahead where party elders would step in and say “Senators Clinton and Obama, this is now hurting the party and whoever will be the nominee in the fall. We need to figure this out.”
No, I really can’t. I think people have short memories. Primary contests used to last a lot longer. We all remember the great tragedy of Bobby Kennedy being assassinated in June in L.A. My husband didn’t wrap up the nomination in 1992 until June, also in California. Having a primary contest go through June is nothing particularly unusual. We will see how it unfolds as we go forward over the next three to four months.
At first blush, people may agree. Americans may hastily remark, “Tis true. Senator Clinton is correct.” However, in actually, only a portion of hr statement is valid. Memories fade quickly. People recall what they think wise to believe. Might Bosnia and sniper fire come to mind? It seemed the esteemed First Lady described a desperate circumstance more than once, although she knew the reverie was not real, or possibly, she forgot.
Then, again, just as now, Americans allowed for the misstatement. Months elapsed before any one questioned what was said. Endless excuses could account for what occurred then. It was cold outside; brains were frozen. Americans were caught up in the moment. The candidate mesmerized the masses. The media did not bother to investigate for they too rejoiced at the idea that a woman might become President, or perhaps, memoirs are meant to be mythical in scope.
Possibly, that is why citizens in the United States accepted an impressive chronicle of thirty-five years of service to the country, eight of which were in the White House. Few would wish to admit to what was revealed when that recollection proved to be less than what had been presented.
The documents offer no support for her claims, made during the presidential campaign, that she helped to negotiate the Irish peace accords or facilitated the flow of refugees in the Balkans. Neither is there evidence in them to back up her claim that she helped pass the Family and Medical Leave Act, the first legislation Mr. Clinton signed as president. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, sailed through Congress and landed on Mr. Clinton’s desk 10 days after he was inaugurated. Indeed, on the day Mr. Clinton signed the bill into law, Feb. 5, 1993, there is no indication on that day’s calendar that she attended.
The documents offer no insight into her role in appointments to key administration posts or in courting donors for her or her husband’s political campaigns.
And they do not add to an understanding of how she coped with revelations in 1998 of her husband’s sexual betrayal with a young White House worker, or provide a paper trail of the discussions that led to her declaring her candidacy for the Senate in 1999.
The dry records carry all the emotional punch of a factory worker’s time card, showing where she was for much of her eight years in the White House but telling nothing about what she was saying, thinking or doing.
Could it be that reveries do not expose as persons would wish to believe. Hence, people choose to forget. More than a decade has past and that may have an effect on reminiscences. Documentation shows President Bill Clinton was the Party choice long before June. In April 1992, while there were lingering questions as to his character, contrary to what Senator Clinton thrice stated recently, her husband was able to cinch the nomination before the last primary. Confident words came from then “Progressive” leaders.
Ronald H. Brown, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said tonight, “I cannot imagine a set of circumstances that would keep Bill Clinton from having a majority of the delegates by the end of the primary season, based on his performance today.” Mr. Brown added that he had long hoped for an early nominee “so we can focus our time and attention on George Bush.”
Ah, perhaps Senator Clinton asks America to forget. Hillary Rodham may revel rather than muse, “memories are short.” Anecdotes, ancient accounts make clear, even when Bill Clinton sought the Democratic nomination, the Party hoped for time to concentrate and converge. Yet, if Senator Clinton were to admit this, June would be her bust. The Presidential hopeful may state . . .
At Sunshine Foods here, Mrs. Clinton said the following:
“Earlier today I was discussing the Democratic primary history and in the course of that discussion mentioned the campaigns that both my husband and Senator Kennedy waged in California in June, in 1992 and 1968. And I was referencing those to make the point that we have had nomination primary contests that go into June. That’s a historic fact.
“The Kennedy’s have been much on my mind the last days because of Senator Kennedy. And I regret that if my referencing that moment of trauma for our entire nation and particularly for the Kennedy family was in any way offensive. I certainly had no intention of that whatsoever. My view is that we have to look to the past and to our leaders who have inspired us and give us a lot to live up to. I am honored to hold Senator Kennedy’s seat in the United States Senate, from the state of New York, and have the highest regard for the entire Kennedy family. Thank you.”
While the Senator may offer her gratitude for the sympathy she endeared to evoke the former First Lady does not apologize for the use of a statement once, twice, or perhaps three times. Forgetfulness reigns, for in March there was no causal relationship. The latest assertion only applies to what today, most appreciate may be callous. Where were Americans in the Spring?
Perchance, Senator Clinton, then and now has no empathy for what is, and what was. Nonetheless, few citizens can forget what this present election brings out, bigotry. Rampant racism in the age of enlightenment has a hold on this country. Intolerance has benefited the Clinton campaign and at times, almost crushed Barack Obama’s and the nations dream. What Americans would wish to forget is how divided our homeland is, and how this effects the security of a candidate. Barack Obama may not mention the possibility of political bloodshed as Senator Clinton did; however . . .
Mr. Obama learned about Mrs. Clinton’s remarks as he rode in his motorcade from Miami to Sunrise, Fla., on Friday. He and his aides discussed the matter, but decided he would not address the comment when he arrived at an afternoon rally.
Instead, to an audience of 16,000 people who filled the Bank Atlantic Center arena, Mr. Obama praised the candidacy of Mrs. Clinton and assured Democrats that their party would be united after the long primary campaign ended.
Privately, aides to Mr. Obama were furious at the remark, particularly because his safety is a particularly sensitive issue. He was the first presidential candidate to receive Secret Service protection more than a year ago because of specific threats, none of which were disclosed.
In an interview earlier this year, Mr. Obama said he was aware of the threats, but felt safe because of the Secret Service protection, which he pointed out was given to presidential candidates because of the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy.
“It’s not something that I’m spending time thinking about day-to-day,” Mr. Obama told The New York Times in February. “I made a decision to get into this race. I think anybody who decides to run for president recognizes that there are some risks involved, just like there are risks in anything.”
Barack Obama is likely not as sleepy as the electorate can be. The Presidential hopeful may not be captivated by the Clinton charisma. Nor does he probably forget as easily as the rest of population does when Senator Clinton slips. Barack Obama was not cocooned in the winter or spring. He was aware; and chose to forgive what is challenging to forget.
Reveries, References . . .
- Hillary Clinton Coverage. Argus Leader. May 23, 2008
- Hillary’s Bizarre RFK Comment, By Karen Tumulty. Time Magazine. May 23, 2008
- Clinton, Discussing Nomination Battle, Invokes R.F.K. Assassination, By Katherine Q. Seelye. The New York Times. May 23, 2008
- Interview with Clinton: One Day at a Time. Time Magazine. March 6, 2008
- Clinton makes case for wide appeal, By Kathy Kiely and Jill Lawrence. USA Today. May 7, 2008
- The 1992 Campaign: Primary; Clinton and Bush Prevail in Pennsylvania Primaries; Feminist is Senate Nominee, By Robin Toner. The New York Times. April 29, 1992
- Bill Clinton says media overreacted to Bosnia flap. Cable News Network. April 11, 2008
- Clinton’s White House Schedules Are Released, By John M. Broder. The New York Times. March 19, 2008