Bill Clinton: #NeverHillary = #Birther

Last night Bill Clinton told the loving story of the courtship of Hillary Clinton and their long marriage. Along the way he pointed out many, many examples of how Hillary advanced a variety of social justice issues especially relating to children, education and healthcare. For the first half of their marriage, she worked on these issues without political consideration. Moreover, there’s ample evidence to verify these accounts through historical records and interviews.

Bill pivoted after this account to ask the audience to reconcile this historical record with the rhetoric of those who have and are currently attacking her. He pointed out that while she was not running for office, her colleagues on both sides of the aisle gave her glowing reviews. Comparing this account to the cartoonish one advanced by her foes was the crux of his argument about her fitness for the presidency.

In essence, Bill Clinton asserted that #NeverHillary adherents had only unsubstantiated innuendo and hearsay, whereas he provided actual historical evidence and could produce witnesses of Hillary’s direct interventions and actions. Moreover, their narrative depends on a personal worldview and mastery of events that history can’t support.

We’ve seen this before. The Birther movement targeting President Barack Obama relied on the same kind of whispering campaign. It was a conspiracy that was false at face value. And yet, it had adherents because some people wanted to believe the worst in him. Bill Clinton likely hit the nail on the head here too when he called Hillary a change maker, noting that her opponents feared her capacity to get things done. President Obama’s 2008 “hope and change” campaign motto was ridiculed by the very same people who feared it. If anything, Hillary Clinton represents an even greater threat to the status quo having seen how President Obama’s opponents have worked to oppose him over the last eight years. To them, a “changemaker” is a clear and present danger and they recognize her as formidable.