In an effort to reassure unemployed coal mine workers that her administration would not leave them jobless, Hillary Clinton promised to take her husband “out of retirement” so he can work on bringing jobs back.
“I’ve told my husband he’s got to come out of retirement and be in charge of this, because you know he’s got more ideas a minute than anybody I know,” she said in Ashland, Ky.
That commitment had a certain familiar ring. It brought back, in vivid relief, the memory of “Hillarycare” officially known as the Health Security Act.
In 1993, then President Bill Clinton named First lady Hillary Clinton to head up a task force to devise a national health care plan. She did it and for more than a year Mrs. Clinton worked actively to secure the passage of her health care package.
“For Love of Politics” by Sally Bedell Smith, published by Random House in 2007, is a 608 page study of the Clinton marriage and the Clinton White House. Her thesis is clear: the Clintons are a team. Elect either one of them and you get both.
Much was written and said recently, when Nancy Reagan died, about her vitally important role during her husband’s presidency. I was not surprised.
Having been in marital harness for two thirds of a century, I am acutely aware of the collegiality of marital decision making. Even when I think I am making a decision on my own unfettered opinion, the ghost of spousal dissent lingers.
George Washington set a prudent example when he declined to run for a third term. That tradition remained deeply imbedded in the American experiment for almost a century and a half until Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected in 1940 and again in 1944.
Sober reaction to FDR’s reign set in after his death, and by 1947 the Twenty-Second Amendment, setting a two-term limit on the presidency, was proposed by the Congress. In 1951 it became the law of the land.
The Constitution does not prohibit members of a president’s family from seeking the office, and in our nation’s history we have had three ‘related’ presidents:
John Quincy Adams, our 6th President, was the son of John Adams, the 2nd; Benjamin Harrison, 23rd President, was the grandson of William Henry Harrison, the 9th; and of course, in our day, there is Bush 41 and Bush 43.
But there has never been a father and son team in the White House which sought subsequently to be elected as a son and father team.