This week was yet another reminder of the importance of family ties in political life. While political dynasties are rare in Canada, this did not preclude the son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, Justin Trudeau, from scoring a surprisingly large victory over his opponents, including incumbent Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Meantime, in the US, Jeb Bush continued to ensnarl himself in his brother, George W. Bush, most recently on the question of whether he was somehow culpable in the attack on the World Trade Center.
There is however one prominent member of the Clan Club who has separated herself – even distanced herself – from her illustrious kin. Hillary Clinton.
Last time around, in 2007 and 2008, when she competed against Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for president, Bill Clinton was regularly in evidence. While Bill was not always to Hillary’s advantage, it was obviously decided that a man widely regarded as the most gifted politician of his generation was more politically advantageous than disadvantageous.
This time around though is different. Bill Clinton has been seen nearly nowhere, even this summer and early fall when Hillary Clinton was stumbling, stung by the e mail scandal, caught short by Bernie Sanders, and unable or so it seemed to relax into her campaign for the nomination.
Now the worm has turned. The past couple of weeks have been good to Hillary Clinton. She scored two major victories – her performances in the Democratic debate and in the congressional hearings on Benghazi. And her position has been strengthened by Joe Biden’s withdrawal from the presidential fray. She is in short sitting pretty this minute – without any apparent assist from her previously ubiquitous husband, the 42nd president of the United States.
Ironically, Hillary Clinton’s strong, steady, even steely appearance during yesterday’s marathon hearings did more than any single thing to prove to the American people that she is presidential timber. Whether she would ever have got to where she is now without her last name being Clinton is open to debate. What is no longer open to debate is that she merits a shot at the White House independent of and unencumbered by anyone else.