The Clinton season has passed
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Why does the Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Ballot initiatives in Colorado, Louisiana could restrict abortion access Trump mocks Joe Biden's drive-in rallies at North Carolina event MORE email scandal descend day-by-day into a maelstrom of deceit, incompetence and bad practices when there have been greater scandals from which the Clintons have emerged unscathed? Because Clinton season has passed. Which is not to say that she will not be elected president in 2016; but if she is, it will be a disaster for America.

The world begins to leave us already as Germany today teams up with France and Russia to discuss their own defense, even as Britain bolts the American realm, the first of the G7 to join up with the new China-led institution formed to counter the World Bank. For America to descend into nostalgia and reenactment now would be catastrophic.


But when political cultures persist beyond their glory days, they tend to descend into nihilism, as France did in the early 20th century or Spain did into fascism shortly after. What Hillary Clinton calls for in fact is a Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden face off for last time on the debate stage Trump expected to bring Hunter Biden's former business partner to debate Davis: On eve of tonight's debate — we've seen this moment in history before MORE reconstruction era, the wonders of which never fail the imagination of those who were young in 1967. Those who recall Kurt Cobain in their youth probably don't fully get it. Those who read Neil Gaiman today and play Defense of the Ancients are likely mystified. The Clinton Age was purely generational and Bill, its avatar, marks a generation from another century, another millennium.

In this regard, the email scandal suggests Watergate, a political scandal that occurred in 1972 and drove President Richard Nixon from office. Few came to the defense of the president within his own party and in the press. Most anxiously egged on the young Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward. They became heroes to a rising generation of investigative reporters. To some degree, Watergate had the appearances of a scapegoating; a public political lynching, a purging of all the anxieties from a 10-year-long heartbreaking war in Vietnam that we did not win.

So it will go with the Clintons if they arrive again in the Oval Office.

Another problem which occurs when a political culture persists beyond its time is that it takes on a "royal" character, which means that the general collective of passive voters virtually abdicates its responsibility to govern itself and devolves its public responsibilities instead to old families: the Bushes, the Clintons, the Kennedys. Back in the day, I interviewed a major fundraiser for the Clinton-Gore campaign, a yellow dog Democrat in the South, who said plaintively, "I guess the Clintons are the closest we'll ever come to having a king and queen."

This model probably awakened with the Kennedys when first lady Jackie Kennedy referred to the rise of John F. Kennedy to the presidency as "Camelot." The press took it to the bank.

The problem in the time of Watergate was the future. It was not yet in sight, which caused the greatest anxiety, and we would go lame for a few years until President Reagan brought some stabilization.

We face the same dangerous malaise today with Clintonism.

But America's future does rise on the horizon while the current twilight persists. And when the night fogs lift, the one who will bring liberalism onward and upward into the century will appear. That is the "inevitable" candidate and each day it becomes increasingly clear: That is Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWhat do Google, banks and chicken salad have in common? Final debate: War Admiral vs. Seabiscuit Biden defends his health plan from Trump attacks MORE, the senator from Massachusetts.

My guess today is that opposition will rise and coalesce in binary fashion starting with her astute former student at Harvard Law School, Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonCotton mocks NY Times over claim of nonpartisanship, promises to submit op-eds as test Barrett fight puts focus on abortion in 2020 election COVID outbreak threatens GOP's Supreme Court plans MORE, the young Republican senator from Arkansas, who stakes his claim in the (revolutionary) new Congress this week with a letter to Iran.

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at