WASHINGTON, January 2, 2016 —The Hillary Clinton campaign has announced that former President Bill Clinton will start campaigning for his wife next month. While Bill is viewed positively by most Americans, Hillary is not.
How effective can Bill be? Will “Slick Willie’s” presence help when Hillary accuses Republican candidates of fighting a war against women?
Bill Clinton was the first baby-boomer president. As president, he was able to work effectively with a Republican Congress and the conservative speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. Together, they reduced the tax rate on capital gains, declared the end of the era of big government, passed and signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, and reformed the welfare system.
The result was a strong economy, a powerful America, and enough respect worldwide to help insure peace. Since leaving office 15 years ago, Bill Clinton has done things that have benefited America.
From his humanitarian actions both here and abroad to the global foundation where he encourages open dialogue and promotes world peace, he is an example of how an ex-president can get things done when no one else can. More than 60 percent of Americans view him positively.
Still, he is far from a saint. From his days as attorney general in Arkansas through his time as governor of that state, he was constantly in trouble, sometimes with criminal implications. But he was always able to talk and dance his way out of it.
From Whitewater his draft avoidance to his admission that he tried smoking marijuana but “didn’t inhale,” Slick Willie always avoided paying the price for his actions. In 1977 he was pardoned by President Carter for his potentially illegal actions concerning his draft status.
Perhaps his best-known slickness involved his sexual behavior with women who worked for him. He committed numerous acts of adultery, then was forced to answer questions under oath about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He lied under oath, and as a result was impeached by the House of Representatives. While a majority of senators voted to convict him, the tally fell short of the required two-thirds majority, so he stayed in office.
Slick Willie snookered us. He parsed, sliced and spun his words with misting eyes and a quivering lip. He said he did not lie; he had sexual contact with Lewinsky, but not real sex. Because we liked him, we went along.
He will try to snooker us again as he campaigns for Hillary.
Hillary has already said that Republicans, and front-runner Donald Trump in particular, have policy plans that will be devastating to women and to women’s rights. She is campaigning as a protector of women who will stop this Republican war. She says she will protect women’s health, ensure women equal pay for equal work to men, and fight for paid maternity leave.
But the Republicans will respond, especially when Bill Clinton begins to campaign for Hillary. Bill’s history of marital infidelity, mistreatment of women who worked for him and apparent desire for sexual favors may make it difficult for Hillary to say she is the candidate that will most benefit women. She supported her husband’s infidelity and stood by as he destroyed his accusers and humiliated her in front of the entire country.
As a role model for women, Republicans will say that Hillary is not a strong independent woman who can lead, but rather a woman who allows herself and other women to be treated as sex objects and less than men.
Bill lied to Congress; Hillary lied to the American people as secretary of state when explaining the Benghazi attack, and again about her use of the private server for her emails. The issue of honesty and trustworthiness could be very important during this presidential election. If that is the case, Bill may do more harm than good for Hillary, no matter how much we like the guy.