Newt and Hillary: A Heady Union

Last week, Newt Gingrich and Hillary Clinton put aside past differences and joined political hands to promote a common goal. They agree over the need for a greater federal presence in electronic record keeping to improve health care. One could say that it was the “shock heard around the political world.” Although the MSM reported the story, very little attention was given to its importance.

For the past week, this strange alliance has been “aging” in the back of my mind. With two competing and complex politicians, one would think the union would be unpalatable. So, let’s uncork and see what we get.

The Issue (Bouquet)
As we all know, Healthcare Reform is a pet project of Hillary’s and one of her greatest defeats while she and Bill were in office. She and Newt came to political blows over the issue. Of course, her current pursuit with arch-enemy Gringrich contains of only a subset of Hillary’s true goals.

A certain amount of bipartisan support already exists for this healthcare initiative. Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn), a physician, have already begun to work on a bill for Senate consideration. A bipartisan House bill is already under consideration.

In essence, the issue isn’t new and is already being pursued in both the House and Senate. Was the alliance raised to publicize the issue, or was the issue raised to publicize the alliance? I believe it was the later.

Gingrich (Body)
Newt left the political arena long ago under the cloud of a sex scandal. He indulged in this sexual escapade during the time of the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal. It must have galled Newt that he was burned at the stake by his party while Clinton was defended and almost canonized by the Dems. Sometimes, the higher moral fiber of the Republicans come back to haunt one fallen from grace.

Since then, he has written books and appeared as a political commentator. Recently, he has been selling his book, “Winning The Future: A 21st Century Contract With America.” One could argue his book is the platform for his upcoming run for the Whitehouse in 2008. Rather unremarkably, he has been hitting many early primary states on his book tour. Why not campaign while you’re on the publishing company’s dime?

Clinton (Taste)
Hillary would erase the Healthcare Reform stain from her record (and from her very soul) if she had to make a deal with the devil to do it. It’s likely she sees Newt in that light. She must believe this kind of publicity will move her agenda, as well as her political aspirations, forward. However, that argument would only work if the outcome appeared unlikely – which it does not. Issues with bipartisan support have the best chance of passage. Unless some special interest group takes a dislike to the legislation, it may fly under the media radar. Hillary’s interest in this alliance must be more subtle.

Conclusion (Aftertaste)
We can detect some obvious flavors with more subtle undertones. Both Newt and Hillary will likely make a run for the Presidency in 2008. Both Newt and Hillary would like to project a more centrist, bipartisan image. It helps both candidates-to-be to get positive national publicity as often as possible.

Which of the two really dominates or overpowers this young and surprising alliance? Newt separated himself from the party. No longer a party favorite, he attempts a backdoor route to the nomination. By publicly embracing a front-running Dem, his finish may fall flat within this own party.

The dominant winner would have to be Hillary. Recent polls show Hillary could overpower Newt as a presidential candidate. (These poles are certainly too early to be accurate – if any polls are accurate, but are all we have on which to rely.) For Hillary, it is a “win-win” situation. She gains a centrist standing, national news coverage and advances a Republican candidate she can handily beat. She also separates herself from the Republican bashing now promoted by most party Dems over the filibuster issue. She has remained publicly silent regarding this issue. She will emphasize her depth and individuality, much as her husband did in his run for the Whitehouse.

This alliance — like revenge — is best served cold . . . and, may have been opened slightly before its time.

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One Response to “Newt and Hillary: A Heady Union”

  1. Big Dog says:

    From Jay Leno:
    In an unlikely pairing, Hillary Clinton made an appearance this week with Newt Gingrich to push a health care measure. The press is making a big deal out of this thing with Newt, but hey, if anyone knows how to appear in public with a man she can’t stand it’s Hillary Clinton.