The Clintons Need a Restart

The power couple looks more like an example of excess in politics than a force to tame it

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Much of the political press and almost all the smug Democrats who populate the world that Leibovich describes in This Town have anointed Hillary Clinton as the party's next nominee and, given the morbid state of the Republican Party, probably the next President. She is certainly the best-qualified politician to run for President in many a moon. But I wonder: At what point does the stench emanating from Washington reach a critical mass of the population? Can a populist reformer, like New York's Governor Andrew Cuomo or Montana's Brian Schweitzer, run against her, making the Augean-stables argument that it's time to sandblast the filth from the nation's capital? A vigorous opponent could argue that the Clintons' long history of fancy conferences and steroidal speaking fees and flights on private jets, consulting with Democratic Wall Street sorts like Bob Rubin and Summers, has rendered them too precious to represent the people. There is something unearthly about getting paid $700,000 for a speech in Nigeria.

My guess is that Clinton will have to emerge from her comfort zone--the succor provided by her friends and sycophants and favored advisers--and really address the money culture that is rotting our democracy. She is going to have to reject her husband's Wall Street friends and policies. She may have to demand signed no-lobbying-ever-again legal pledges from her staff (with prohibitive financial penalties built in). She may have to get the world's greatest explainer to help with a mea culpa or two. He might even consider stopping in at a McDonald's--for a smoothie, if not a Big Mac--and getting back in touch with the folks.

TO READ JOE'S BLOG POSTS, GO TO time.com/swampland

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