Hillary Clinton Is No Nixon, But...

As presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton boarded Air Force 1 with President Obama Tuesday, the wind was most likely at her back. The cloud that hovered over her campaign had seemingly disappeared.

The FBI report stated that no charges would be brought against her, the last thing standing between her and her party's presidential nomination.

She was being accompanied by a popular president who is in a position to campaign for her in a manner not seen since Theodore Roosevelt campaigned for William Howard Taft.

The historic symbolism of Clinton and Obama standing on the Charlotte podium together was not loss on the 7,000 in attendance. The day after the nation celebrated its 240th birthday as an independent country, Clinton captured the moment eloquently when she stated: "Nobody who looked like Barack Obama or me would have been included back then (1776). But we're here today because the story of America is the story of hard-fought, hard-won progress."

Regardless of one's politics, any understanding of history makes Clinton's statement irrefutable. Unfortunately for her, the narrative does not end there. The dark cloud that hovered over the Clinton campaign did not dissolve with the FBI report, it merely rose beyond eyesight.

Clinton as the presumptive nominee raises a question for Democrats to ponder: Did they find their Nixon?

I realize in popular culture to invoke the nation's 37th president equates to resurrecting the Watergate scandal. But one need not summon the Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP) or the "plumbers" to find Nixonian comparisons between the two.

From 1948, with the Alger Hiss case, to 1973, Nixon held a place on the national stage. For 20 years, with the exception of 1964, his name appeared on the national ticket. His qualifications and gravitas were not in question.

Clinton has also held a place on the national stage for more than 20 years. She was the most influential first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt, served eight years as the junior senator from New York, and four years as secretary of state. Like Nixon, her qualifications and gravitas are beyond reproach.

They also share an unflattering attribute. After lauding their political skills, one is apt to add the conjunction "but." It is this three-letter word that works against their accomplishments.

Even her rationale justifying her 2002 vote for authorizing the use of force in Iraq could be classified as classic Nixoian.

And then there was last week's FBI report that read: "Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information."

One must also factor in the aforementioned statement with Bill Clinton's decision to seemingly compromise the Justice Department's investigation by meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch privately. It matters little if the meeting between Clinton and Lynch was benign or intentional. It feeds the existing narrative about the Clintons.

Moreover, this latest upheaval is not part of some "vast right-wing conspiracy," nor is it the endless (which seems finally to have come to a merciful end) witch-hunt known as Benghazi.

Whatever it is, it reflects unbridled arrogance and entitlement. If this were any other election year, Clinton's political fortunes might be irretrievably damaged. At times, the Clinton's actions reprise Nixon's infamous statement to David Frost, "When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal"!

But like Nixon in 1968, Clinton is buoyed by the public perception of the opposition party as one of disarray. Nixon was never the darling of the Republican establishment. Conservatives never considered him one of them. But he could win, especially in 1968.

The inevitability of Clinton's 2008 campaign was inconveniently derailed by the chants of "Yes we can!" and she had to "feel the Bern" in order to be the presumptive nominee in 2016.

None of this, however, suggests victory in November. The Democrats are poised to tout an experienced, smart and qualified nominee -- one with a firm grasp of the status quo politics, foreign and domestic.

But this may not be a moment for the status quo, as the United Kingdom's recent vote to leave the European Union bears witness.

As for Clinton, her email scandal is behind her. Legally speaking she is in the clear. There is the court of public opinion that may view her carelessness differently. It may regurgitate that nagging Nixonian "but."