The five-year-long dance between the Clintons and President Obama has always been an interesting show, but never more so than now as the runner-up in the 2008 Democratic presidential contest starts to maneuver in preparation for 2016. Hillary Clinton spent her four years as secretary of state playing the good soldier for the president, doing little of value but also (and unlike her spectacularly inept successor John Kerry) causing him little trouble. She exited the cabinet with a presidential love fest that had to annoy Vice President Joe Biden, her only likely rival for 2016. But now that she is safely out of the Washington maelstrom and embarked on a path that she hopes will see her return to the White House as president rather than first lady, her relationship with Obama has undergone a not-so-subtle change. That has allowed some of the old antagonism between her and, in particular, her husband and the man who beat her in 2008 to resurface.
That antagonism was on display today as Bill Clinton joined the growing chorus of critics of the ObamaCare rollout in an interview published in a web magazine. Speaking much as if he was one of the angry red-state Democrats who think the president’s lies about ObamaCare can sink their hopes of reelection next year, the 42nd president stuck a knife into the 44thpresident by saying the law should be changed to accommodate the demands of those who are losing their coverage despite the president’s promises to the contrary:
“I personally believe even if it takes a change in the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got.”
In doing so, the former unofficial “explainer in chief” for Obama has helped undermine the notion that the president’s signature health-care legislation can be kept intact. But he has also begun the process by which Hillary will begin to disassociate herself from an administration that is beginning to take on the odor of lame-duck failure.
White House spokesmen Jay Carney tried to represent Clinton’s defection as somehow consistent with the president’s comments during his cribbed “apology” for the false information about the bill that he repeated ad nauseum during the last three years (“If you like your health care plan…”) during an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd last week. The president said his team would study how to make it up to the millions who are losing their coverage and being hit with huge increases in their premiums. But he knows very well that to do that would essential destroy the system on which ObamaCare is based. The point is there is no way for responsible citizens who pay for their insurance not to be the losers in this scheme since without bilking them (as well as the recruitment of vast numbers of young, healthy people who will pay for more insurance than most will want or need) it will be impossible to carry off the vast redistribution of wealth that is at the core of ObamaCare.
That’s why the willingness of Democrats to embrace the bill proposed by Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu (one of those endangered red-state Democrats) to legislate a fix that would allow Americans to keep their existing coverage is so dangerous for ObamaCare. It’s not clear such a fix is even possible, but the willingness of Democrats like California’s Dianne Feinstein to jump at that wagon shows that the ground is slipping away from underneath the president’s feet. While the White House has said their concern is eliminating substandard insurance policies, this is another barefaced lie as the whole point here is roping in more people to pay for those who are currently uninsured, not improving their coverage.
This may be a turning point in the history of ObamaCare as the dysfunctional website now appears to be the least of the president’s problems. But it is also a sign that his would-be successor now believes that she must detach herself from what appears to be a disastrous second term. If we needed an official notification that the future of the Democratic Party wants no part of the problems of the present, Hillary’s husband just delivered it.