The New York Times never-ending obsession with the Clintons takes front page real estate today with this story on the current state of their marriage ‘arrangement’. It seems some Democrats are worried about the effect of ‘Clinton fatigue’ on Hillary’s chances to become the next occupant in the White House. Their nervousness is not misplaced.
Democrats say it is inevitable that in a campaign that could return the former president to the White House, some voters would be concerned or distracted by Mr. Clinton’s political role and the episode that led the House to vote for his impeachment in 1998.
“There’s no question that it’s a complicated candidacy for a lot of voters because of the history of that relationship and what they’ve been through,” said Leon E. Panetta, Mr. Clinton’s chief of staff from 1994 to 1997.
The Times story attempts to frame the Clintons relationship as a struggle between distinct career paths and political calculations, all the while balancing those needs with a deep love for one another. That’s picture is largely manufactured, and most voters see through it. Bill and Hillary’s relationship is far from traditional, and no matter how hard the Clintons try to keep up the facade, they will never genuinely relate to millions of couples in America. After all, healthy loving marriages don’t survive very long when you spend life apart. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to know that, and this is where the Clintons window dressing falls down.
If I could give Bill and Hillary advice, it would be this. Stop faking it. Your marriage doesn’t matter to your circle of friends or the people around you who have political aspirations of their own. The other people who care about and believe in the importance of healthy loving marriages will not use the two of you as examples on how to make relationships work.
If Hillary ends up being the first woman president because of her “national appeal and national strength” as Bob Zimmerman suggests, why not be the first woman divorcee president? After all, there are a lot of divorced people out there and Hillary wouldn’t want to discriminate against that voting constituency, right?