Matt Bai on Bill and Hillary:

This may be the defining difference between the candidacies of Bill Clinton and his wife, between Clintonism and Hillaryism, if such a thing can be said to exist. Like most successful outsiders, Bill Clinton directly challenged the status quo of both his party and the country, arguing that such a tumultuous moment demanded more than two stark ideologies better suited to the past. By contrast, Hillary Clinton’s campaign to this point has been mostly about restoring an old status quo; she holds herself up as the best chance Democrats have to end eight years of Bush’s “radical experiment” and to return to the point where her husband left off. It has been a strong but safe campaign, full of nondescript slogans (“I’m In to Win!” “The Change We Need!”) and familiar, if worthy, policy prescriptions. That might be a shrewd primary strategy, but winning a general election could well require a more inspiring rationale. Nonincumbents who go on to win the White House almost always take some greater risk along the way, promising changes more profound — if potentially more divisive — than a return to normalcy. The reformer runs great danger. The more cautious candidate merely runs.

A vote for Hillary is not a vote for change — it’s a vote for the 90’s and a vote for a promise that she won’t be any different than her husband if she’s elected. To some Democrats, this may be exactly what they want. I know some Democrats who would vote Bill in again if they could. But this world isn’t the same as in 1992. We need a President who is capable of dealing with the new problems and challenges we face in this changing world. If you are someone whose main objective is radical change from the policies of George W. Bush, then you will get that from Obama and Edwards. Hillary is a candidate who is less likely to step out and take political risks. If you liked the first two Clinton terms, then Hillary’s your girl. The Clintons need to stop thinking about the past, and start thinking about the future, because Obama’s still out there.

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