Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t just running against Republicans. She’s also running against parts of her husband’s legacy.
On issues large and small, the Democratic presidential contender is increasingly distancing herself from — or even opposing — key policies pushed by Bill Clinton while he was in the White House, from her recent skepticism on free-trade pacts to her full embrace of gay rights.
The starkest example yet came Wednesday, when Hillary Clinton delivered an impassioned address condemning the “era of incarceration” ushered in during the 1990s in the wake of her husband’s 1994 crime bill — though she never mentioned him or the legislation by name.
Well, that would be kind of awkward. But it’s worth noting that the 1994 crime bill was an awful piece of legislation, rammed through by the Democrats . . . and that it led to the Republicans taking the House later that year.
Sen. Rand Paul’s presidential campaign mocked Hillary Clinton’s call Wednesday for justice reform, claiming she’s running from policies her husband advocated during the Clinton administration. . . .
His campaign sent out an email accusing Clinton of pushing ideas that would “undo some of Bill Clinton’s work — the same work she cheerfully supported as First Lady.” His campaign cited the Clinton administration’s “war on drugs” focus, pointing in part to a Salon.com report that highlighted the findings of the Justice Policy Institute. They found “the number of prisoners under federal jurisdiction doubled” under the Clinton administration.
Paul’s campaign accused Hillary Clinton of trying to reverse that legacy while also “emulating proposals” that Paul himself has pushed — like moving away from mandatory minimum sentencing.
Still, the campaign said: “We welcome her to the fight.”
Hillary’s problem is, the more she runs away from Bill’s legacy, the more she has to explain what she, in particular, has to offer America. Which, basically, boils down to her being Bill’s wife.