The GOP may have a frontrunner who has repudiated much of what the Republican Party historically has stood for (entitlement reform, free trade and limited government), but as Charles Krauthammer points out in today's must-read, the Democratic Party has undergone a drastic transformation too.
Specifically, the Democratic Party has repudiated Clintonism–and it is al the more interesting that the final rejection came from former president Bill Clinton. Krauthammer writes:
The center-left, triangulating, New Democrat (Bill) Clintonism of the 1990s is dead. It expired of unnatural causes, buried — definitively, if unceremoniously — by its very creator.
The final chapter occurred last week when, responding to Black Lives Matter hecklers denouncing his 1994 crime bill, Bill Clinton unleashed an impassioned defense. He accused the protesters of discounting the thousands of lives, mostly black, that were saved amid the crack epidemic of the time because gang leaders and other bad guys got locked up. Yet the next day, the big dog came out, tail between his legs, saying he regretted the incident and almost wanted to apologize. It was a humiliating, Soviet-style recantation obviously meant to protect his wife’s campaign, which depends on the African-American vote to fend off Bernie Sanders.
The crime bill Clinton signed into law led to a drastic decline in crime, but he can no longer defend it if his wife is to have a shot at being president because the current Democratic Party has moved so far to the left. Two thirds of the Congressional Black Caucus also supported the crime bill that in the Age of Black Lives Matter can only be denounced as racist.
The rejection on Clintonism doesn't stop with the crime bill. NAFTA, which Bill Clinton promoted, is also anathema today. Hillary Clinton came out against the free-trade agreement of our time, Trans-Pacific Partnership, which she originally praised as the "gold standard" of trade agreements. Krauthammer points out that there is no need for Mrs. Clinton to reject the welfare reform of her husband's administration because President Obama already has demolished it.
It is nothing like her husband’s party. Which is why she campaigns as Bernie lite — they share the same goals, she says, but she can get things done. Hence the greatest irony of all: For the last decade and a half, the main propellant for the Hillary-for-president movement has been the rosy afterglow of Bill’s 1990s, the end-of-history era of peace, prosperity, and balanced budgets. Want it back? Vote Hillary. That’s the tease. Yet a Hillary victory would yield a Clinton Redux animated not by Bill but by Bernie.