For all the credit Hillary Clinton gets for being so wise and experienced and intelligent, you would think she might have learned something from her loss in the 2008 primaries. Why run for president again if you’re just going to make the same mistakes you made the first time? Namely, putting Bill Clinton out on the campaign trail.
The way many see it, the former president was instrumental in his wife’s loss to Barack Obama. Unwilling to stick to the campaign message, Bill Clinton ran his own mini-campaign in 2008, gleefully attacking Obama in ways that Hillary herself had chosen not to. Angered by the kid-gloves treatment Obama was getting from an adoring media, Clinton chastised reporters, accused the Obama campaign of playing dirty, and took the whole campaign off message. When he dismissed Obama’s presidential ambitions as a “fairy tale,” Clinton was forced to apologize; some saw it as a racially-tinged attack.
Now Clinton is back, and he’s in trouble again, and it’s about race again.
Last week in Philadelphia, the former president got into a heated exchange with Black Lives Matter protesters who claim that his 1994 crime bill was responsible for the mass incarceration of African-Americans. Bill, his ego bruised, spent ten long minutes arguing with the protesters – not the best look for the Clinton campaign, which is only winning because of black voters.
On Sunday, Bill went on a tour of three black churches to make up for the emotional misstep. “We need prison reform,” he said at a church in Harlem. “We overdid it and put too many young, nonviolent offenders in jail for too long.”
Not every black Democrat is infatuated with the ridiculousness of Black Lives Matter, of course, but liberals are expected to stick together. When someone comes at you from the left, you have to handle it very carefully. Today’s idiocy is tomorrow’s Democratic Party platform. And when you’ve built up a party that can only win because the black vote is locked up, you don’t want to do anything that might upset the apple cart.
But Clinton is Clinton, and he very obviously cares more about protecting his own legacy than getting his wife elected. Whatever.
But for Hillary supporters, this episode should give them pause. If she made this mistake again, what others might she make again? Would she again jeopardize national security for her own convenience? Would she again depose a dictator with no plan for what might happen next? Experience is important, but only if you learn from your mistakes.