What the exit tea leaves should tell Senator Clinton

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According to Dick Polman’s excellent analysis, they should be telling her that she’ll still be a Senator this time next year.

He concludes:

I suspect that the Clintons know all this, despite her display of public denial. Never mind her rhetoric last night about soldiering on (“It’s full speed onto the White House”). What mattered most was her elegiac tone. Having hoped for a blowout Indiana win and a squeaker loss (or even upset win) in North Carolina, she knew that the night had gone badly.

And her husband clearly recognizes the lay of the land. He stood behind Hillary last night looking as if he’d been smacked with a two-by-four. The visual of Bill meant more than anything she had to say. The end of an era was in his eyes.

Nothing has hurt former President Clinton’s standing among the American people and his own party than this campaign.  He left at a time when the economy was doing pretty well, the specter of terrorism hadn’t yet reared its ugly head and the GOP had just about cried itself to sleep with its wild spouting over the Lewinsky thing (remember this?).  He was on top of the world and poised to be the next face on Rushmore.

He did some humanitarian work in the wake of the tsunami with former President Bush (who has remained remarkably untouched by his progeny’s performance) and he could look forward to a long an lucrative career of book writing and lectures.

Now his a finger-wagging, trade-deal-influencing, race-card-accusing, shadow of his former self.

He’s gone in the opposite direction of presidents like Nixon and Carter who left office in shame if not disgrace and more-or-less rehabbed their image to a point where I’m sure their personal approval ratings were up over 50 percent (if such a thing is measured for ex-Presidents).  Even Clinton’s vice-president and the man blamed for the past 8 years has emerged as an Oscar-, Emmy-, Nobel Prize-winning icon of pop culture, politics and the environmental movement.

What can President Clinton do to rehab his own image once this whole thing is over?  Discuss.

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