The Talent in the Room


Rich Lowry, on Hillary's slide:

I believed, with a lot of other conservatives, that the Clintons were really good at destroying people. Judging from the last three weeks, they are really bad at destroying people. Maybe all those people they destroyed in the 1990's were just easily destroyed? This is very disorienting...

Without taking anything away from Bill Clinton's considerable prowess as a politician, his Nineties enemes were a pretty lackluster crop; few of them approached even George W. Bush's (none-too-intimidating) mix of charisma and political skill. Clinton's most talented foes, arguably, were Ross Perot and Newt Gingrich, both of whom were quite capable of destroying themselves without much of a push from the Clintonites. As for the rest, well, one could make a strong case that Barack Obama and John Edwards are both more talented politicians than any of the Democratic candidates (Tsongas, Jerry Brown, etc.) Clinton knocked off in '92, and that Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Mike Huckabee are all better-suited to the national campaign trail than George H.W. Bush and Robert Dole - or most of Dole's '96 GOP rivals, for that matter.

Moreover, when "the Clintons" destroyed their political rivals in the Nineties, it was Bill (and his hatchet men) who fought and won most of the battles; if anything, Hillary was a liability in the '92 and '96 races, and to a lesser extent in the struggles with the GOP Congress (until the Lewinsky scandal made her a figure of sympathy, that is). And Bill, as you may have heard, isn't on the ballot this time around.

Photo by Flickr user SSKennel used under a Creative Commons license.