Hillary v. Bill Clinton? What about Hillary v. Herself

The media is presenting the Clinton campaign as Hillary v. Bill Clinton because she is repudiating his record. But what about her own?

Matt Drudge noticed the headline at The Washington Post: “How Hillary Clinton is running against parts of her husband’s legacy.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t just running against Republicans. She’s also running against parts of her husband’s legacy.

On issues large and small, the Democratic presidential contender is increasingly distancing herself from — or even opposing — key policies pushed by Bill Clinton while he was in the White House, from her recent skepticism on free-trade pacts to her full embrace of gay rights.

The starkest example yet came Wednesday, when Hillary Clinton delivered an impassioned address condemning the “era of incarceration” ushered in during the 1990s in the wake of her husband’s 1994 crime bill — though she never mentioned him or the legislation by name.

“We have allowed our criminal justice system to get out of balance,” Clinton told an audience at Columbia University in New York, making references to unrest in Baltimore and elsewhere and elsewhere over actions by police. “And these recent tragedies should galvanize us to come together as a nation to find our balance again.”

I really doubt that moving away from her husband’s work in favor of law enforcement is going to cost her much. Many Conservatives who probably applauded Bill Clinton at the time are beginning to have second thoughts on the issue because of the results they perceive.

But many of these changes of mind are not simply repudiations of Bill. They are repudiations of Hillary. Her campaign is not merely Hillary v. Bill Clinton, but Hillary v. herself. For example, on the “full embrace of gay rights,” Hillary was articulating a definition of marriage as one man and one woman when she was on her own as a Senator speaking for herself. You can’t claim that she is repudiating Bill Clinton when she is changing her own stated principles from a time when she had her own political career.

So all this talk of opposing her husband is really a cover-up. She is opposing and opposed by her own past self.