op-ed

Distancing the White House from the ‘first black president’

Lenny McAllister Contributor
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The 42nd president of the United States—William Jefferson Clinton—continues to build a unique legacy for himself. There are people that remember Clinton as the president during the peaceful and prosperous 1990s. There are others that will remember Mr. Clinton as the man that “did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

One political moniker that people may now forget—or perhaps did not know—was Clinton’s acknowledgement and ribbing within many circles as “The First black President of the United States.”

That may sound silly now, considering that Barack Obama is actually the first black president. However, it may sound silly—and outdated—to continue calling Mr. Obama “president” after 2013 if he continues having the Clinton legacy impact the Obama Administration.

From the outset of the Obama Presidency (actually, “pre-presidency,” if you include the lead-up to Inauguration 2009), people questioned the authenticity of the “hope and change” mantra of the 44th president as he continued to pile up retreads employed by the 42nd American president. Now, President Obama’s legacy continues to tarnish through these continued ties with the man Republicans labeled “Slick Willie.”

From President Clinton’s suggestions (although with those of former President Jimmy Carter) that race was a motivating factor in criticism of President Obama during the emergence of the Tea Party movement to Clinton’s Game Change quote of Obama “getting us coffee,” President Obama’s name being tied to Mr. Clinton’s persona seems to garner diminishing returns continuously.

Now, with the “Sestak Affair,” we find Mr. Clinton back in the middle of what comes across at this point as lies, cover-ups, and unethical “Washington as usual”—all of the things that many may expect from “Slick Willie,” but nobody voting for President Obama expected from him in November 2008.

As President Obama continues to play partisan politics in Washington and breach the confidence of independent and moderate voters with his inability to win congressional consensus and change the acrimonious tone permeating throughout American politics, he can ill-afford such an affiliation with Clinton’s political legacy, one that is increasingly marred with unethical choices and a willingness to skirt rules as only a career politician and skilled lawyer could. Yet, the Obama Administration looks more like the ethics-challenged Clinton Administration—and not just because of the political holdovers and appointees, although that may be part of the problem.

Placing Mr. Clinton’s name into the mix of the “Sestak Affair” along with that of “the Rahminator” casts Mr. Obama in a very bad light. This situation sounds too much like the Blagojevich situation with the president’s former senate seat in Illinois for comfort. That, in turn, begs a question that has not been approached in over a year: what exactly did Mr. Obama know about how his senate seat was being filled upon his election in November 2008? Remember, the president was said to have been “above the fray” when former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich went down trying to sell the seat, yet we were also told that Mr. Obama was past “politics as usual,” even as current evidence seems to suggest that this administration does politics along with some of the best—even if that means bringing in big guns such as “Slick Willie” to play along.

This current black president loses credibility as an above-board politician each time his name pops up in incidents that are attached in some way to the “first black president.” Surely, this is not about race, but it is about legacy and image: no sitting president should want to continue to hitch his presidential legacy to that of a man who was willing to throw away presidential glory for the sake of a White House-based tryst with a girl slightly older than his own daughter. People increasingly remember President Clinton less as a young president that presided over prosperity but more as a man that finds himself in unscrupulous situations including martial affairs and mysterious deaths. Disappointingly, President Obama is rapidly becoming remembered as a young president that presided over a time where political aspirations peaked and confidence in politicians wallowed in a sea of rhetoric and “business as usual.”

Being linked with Clinton as a “black President” is an informal moniker that Obama may always share, particularly in the minds of those remembering the anticipation of the Clinton presidency in the days leading up to Inauguration 1993. However, the rest of this links between Clinton and Obama that continue to crop up only serve to further the pull down the current president from the white house he rode into the White House into the sludge of Washington immorality that Clinton’s White House became known for.

Lenny McAllister is a syndicated political commentator, podcast co-host, and the author of the book, “Diary of a Mad Black PYC (Proud Young Conservative,)” purchased online at www.tinyurl.com/lennysdiary and www.amazon.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/lennyhhr and on Facebook at www.tinyurl.com/lennyfacebook .