The Clinton Brand And The Future of The Dems

E.J. Dionne argues that the Clintons have damaged their brand in the fight for the nomination:

Bill Clinton's approach to the South Carolina primary, the Clinton campaign's effort to ignore everything it once said about the irrelevance of the Florida and Michigan primaries, Hillary Clinton's willingness to say (or imply) that John McCain is more prepared to be president than Obama--all this and more have created a ferocious backlash against the Clintons. The result is that when the word "Clinton" crosses their lips, many Democrats sound like Ken Starr, Bob Barr and the late Henry Hyde.

Hmm, maybe. But wasn't there always a large contingent of Clinton-haters in the party? The Clinton Camp was in power during my high school and college years, and they always came across to me as extraordinary hedgers. I mean these are the folks who invented the Sista Souljah moment, I don't know how you get more unprincipled than that. Furthermore, I always smelled the stench of political ambition wafting off of Sen. Clinton's war vote. In the words of Denny Green--They are who we thought they were, no? Here's Peggy Noonan, last February, pointing out how tenuous the Clintons' position was in their own party:

Hollywood titan David Geffen, who now supports Barack Obama, this week famously retagged the Clintons as an Ivy League Bonnie and Clyde. Bill is "reckless," Hillary relentless--"God knows, is there anybody more ambitious than Hillary?" In an interview that seemed like an audience, with the New York Times's Maureen Dowd, Mr. Geffen said, "Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it's troubling." In this he was, knowingly or unknowingly, echoing Bob Kerrey, the former Nebraska senator, who said in 1996 of the then-president, "Clinton's an unusually good liar. Unusually good. Do you realize that?"

I think it is true that President Clinton has done serious damage to that bipartisan aura that surrounds all ex-presidents, as well as his reputation as a politician. But I don't see how any of this is going to hurt the Dems.