Sunday, 23 December 2007

The Clinton legacy

The Democratic primary contest for the upcoming US election is remarkable in that former two-term president William Jefferson Clinton --- can't you just tell, from their names, that Americans take themselves more seriously than Australians do? --- is a leading campaigner ... on behalf of his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

There is an excellent article in this weekend's magazine section of the New York Times, The Clinton Referendum, discussing the extent to which Mrs Clinton's campaign is turning into a referendum on her husband's legacy: this then opens up into a discussion of that legacy itself.

It is interesting to reflect on the similarities, and the differences, to the situation in Australia, where there has been a long-overdue renewal of Labor Party government. I have missed the Hawke/Keating administration with a passion for all of the last eleven-and-a-half years, and it is true that Kevin Rudd is neither Bob Hawke nor Paul Keating ... but then, for all that he stands on their shoulders, it's good that he isn't either of these men. Theirs were not flawless governments. I am glad to see that we are moving on from them, in a way (I must hope) that acknowledges and builds on their strengths. Maybe the way to do this, in the American case, is with a president who is not also a Clinton?

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