The word from the White House is that some employers, especially those with 50 to 99 workers, are given a delay for compliance on the health law until 2016. It is the latest of retreats on the scope of coverage; a retreat that began, under pressure from the insurance industry, after Obama became president. In 2008 he campaigned vigorously for a public health insurance option.
The delay is designed, at least in part, to help Democrats soothe business anxieties in this year’s midterm elections. Republicans, however, show no signs of their letting up on attacks on the health law. It’s a central issue in many of this year’s midterm elections, hot enough, they hope, with moderates as well as conservatives, to help Republicans wrest control of the Senate from the Democrats.
This may be a grand illusion. On the other hand you don’t have to be a Machiavelli to be aware of the disadvantage it would create for Democrats going into a presidential election with both houses of Congress dominated by the other party.
Speaking of 2016, I see the Clinton scandal of the 1990s is back in the news. While Bill Clinton has assumed the role of global statesman, Hillary is casting a shadow on 2016 as an apparent presidential candidate. Thus, Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who is himself eyeing the White House, has brought up the Monica Lewinsky affair, most conspicuously on “Meet the Press,” and taking the former president to task for having taken advantage of the young intern. “That is predatory behavior,” he said.
Soon after the senator thundered, The Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website, so described by the New York Times, unloaded a collection of papers from Clintons’ White House years.
The documents were from Diane D. Blair, an old friend of Hillary who died in 2000. The papers had been kept at the archives of the University of Arkansas where Blair was a political scientist. The correspondence reportedly describes how Mrs. Clinton coped with her husband’s infidelities, as well as other struggles, notably the attempt to overhaul the health care system.
In targeting Mrs. Clinton, a potential rival in 2016, Senator Paul asserted “the media seems to have given President Clinton a pass” on the Lewinsky affair. But, as the Times pointed out, Ms. Blair’s papers describe a White House that felt constantly under assault from the news media,” and adding that for the most part “the papers paint a bleak picture of the Clintons’ time in the White House.”
So the question: why would Hillary want to go back to the heartache of all that? If she really had enough as a former first lady, a former senator, a former secretary of state, a former candidate for president? It may be Rand Paul has the answer.
This article originally appeared in the San Leandro Times.