Will Hillary be blessed or cursed by the Clinton name? | NevadaAppeal.com

Will Hillary be blessed or cursed by the Clinton name?

Kirk Caraway
Nevada Appeal Internet editor

Hillary. You don’t have to use her last name to know who I’m talking about. She’s like Madonna in a business suit.

She likes it that way. Her Web site boldly pronounces “Hillary for President.” Who needs a last name?

Indeed. Especially when that last name is linked to scandals and the man who overshadows her. She has to fight not only her Democratic and Republican opponents, but her husband’s legacy as well.

When Hillary came through Carson City last week, I was waiting to see if there really was something special about her, that intangible quality certain people have that sets them apart from the rest.

I didn’t see it. What I did see is a candidate who is better known than all the rest, but whose notoriety is a two-edged sword.

Hillary supporters can be broken down into two groups. One wants to see her become the first woman president. The other wants to see a return engagement of the Clinton Administration.

I think there is a lot of wishful thinking going on in both camps. They seem to believe in the idea of her, rather than the person that she is.

Hillary is a skillful politician in her own right. But she doesn’t hold a candle to Bill. He is the kind of guy who could walk into a room and charm the pants off of everyone. Hillary did charm the room with her celebrity, but it didn’t win many converts, even among the Democratic faithful.

She is in a strange position where she is trying to distance herself from her husband’s legacy at the same time she benefits from it.

More people approved of Bill Clinton’s job in office than voted for him. But as much as people would like to see him become president again, I don’t think they want to see him as First Husband.

Hillary’s critics also seem to be divided into two camps. Some think she is so damaged that she would be easy to beat in 2008. The others believe her star power is dangerous, and they do all they can to tear her down.

To be fair, Hillary gets blamed for a lot of things that simply aren’t true. She has been a target for a long time, and has the scars to prove it.

All the rumors and innuendo have created an image that just can’t be wiped away. The good news for her is that people know who she is. The bad news is that people think they know who she is. Her negative poll numbers are very high. Those voters aren’t going to change their minds easily.

If she manages to win the nomination, I think that she’ll get about 45 percent of the vote in the general election, which is more than Bill earned in his first election. But unless another Ross Perot comes around to steal votes from the Republican nominee, 45 percent isn’t enough to win.

I also don’t hold out much hope for her if she does become president. She is such a polarizing figure that it’s hard to see her uniting the country and accomplishing anything of note. It will be a continuation of the divided government that has damaged the foundations of this country. Hillary is the best fundraiser the Republicans have, using her image to bash all Democrats. She will be attacked nonstop, and if the Republicans manage to win back one house of Congress, she will be subjected to more investigations than her husband.

It’s sad that the best chance to elect a woman president rests on the shoulders of someone with more baggage than Oprah on a shopping spree.

After six years of one-party rule and the bitterness that it engendered, I would hope that the next president would be someone who could heal the wounds, bring all sides together and chart a course for everyone to follow.

Hillary isn’t that person, and the sooner Democrats get over their swooning and pick a candidate that can win and govern, the better.

• Kirk Caraway is editor of http://nevadapolitics.com, and also writes a blog on national issues at http://kirkcaraway.com.