Why Is Barack Obama More Mired In Scandals Than Bill Clinton?
By J.T. Young
It is ironic that Obama could be more endangered by scandals than Clinton was. How could a president who never seemed to have endured scandal, be more threatened than a president who seemed perpetually facing one? The answer lies with America’s expectations and each presidency’s strength. Clinton’s image helped insulate him from scandal, while Obama’s leaves him dangerously exposed to his current scandals’ potential.
Obama and his Democratic predecessor have many similarities. Both were young and cool when first elected. Both lost congressional majorities and then fought congressional Republicans over fiscal issues. Both raised taxes. However one difference has become glaringly obvious of late: their relation to scandals.
Clinton was seemingly born in them politically. They dogged him in the presidential primaries – his most memorable early moment being a primetime explanation of an affair. They followed into the White House and throughout his presidency – culminating in his impeachment. Yet while continual and serious, they were contained.
Contrastingly, Obama has had relatively few brushes with scandal for so public a figure. Certainly, that can be somewhat attributed to favorable media treatment. However, Clinton too was a liberal Democrat favored by the media. Perhaps, Clinton was unprotectable, while Obama’s scandals – past and present – lacked the salacious details of Clinton’s.
However all this returns us to the paradox: despite being continuously surrounded by scandals, Clinton’s proportional political threat was not as great as Obama’s could be now – despite his relatively scandal-free career. Why?