Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Will the Real Bill Clinton Please Shut Up?

If anyone really wants to know why Hillary was not considered for the V.P. slot the latest eruption from Mount Bill Clinton is exhibit ZZZ. We are well past exhibit A or B and just about to ad yet another letter to the log. Will some one please duct tape this man’s mouth before he sticks his foot in it again?

We are well past being a petulant looser and now deep in the territory of self-destructive narcissism. His latest not-so-subtitle blast at Barack Obama provided yet more unwanted drama at the convention. Flash back to his tepid support previously given and there is a pattern.

Bill Clinton is way past licking his own wounds here, he has moved on to the political equivalent of gnawing off his own leg. It is quite the spectacle and must feature prominently in the wet-dreams of the Traditional media. Nothing better to sell those corn flakes then a prominent man making a base fool of himself is there? Unfortunately he is also dragging his wife down with him. Hillary has got to snap Bill out of this petulant sulk. It is now her political career on the line. If she can not control her own husband how can she be trusted to control anything else?

The Obama team has been generous to the point of night sweats to team Clinton. All their generosity has not flipped Bill over to their cause. Hillary got her roll call, she got her speech, she even got Michigan and Florida fully seated. Bill got his speech and on his favorite topic: himself. He now gets to talk about how wonderful his presidency was; he gets to talk up his economic achievements. Truth be told it is a good story; but it is still all about Bill and his bottomless need for confirmation. The end game of Bill’s “last run” is getting needlessly fraught with drama. One wonders if Bill wrapped too much of his own ego into Hillary’s campaign. One wonders if Bill was only really campaigning for himself; for his own agenda and needs.

Bill’s ugly side really came out in the post South Carolina debacle. The stinging rejection he received from the African-American community sent him in an emotional tail-spin that was unnerving to watch. He careened and careered around the political stage crashing into all manner of malapropisms. He literally got sent down to minor leagues of the campaign circuit. A former president was doing appearances that would normally be relegated to his daughter or even a third tier functionary. Even in these little cul-de-sacs of American politics he managed to get in trouble. He was wildly off message in an unflattering self-pitying way. Bill Clinton did not just burn bridges to core constituencies, he napalmed them.

In the end, Bill was no longer an asset for his wife; he was just one more albatross hung around her neck. As Hillary already had a stunning collection of the sea bird draped around her, this was not a good thing. There was Mark Penn, there was Patti Solis-Doyle, there was her February crash-and-burn in the caucuses, and there was her empty war chest. She ran, she worked the line, she spoke herself horse; she staid viable long after lesser politicians would have hooked off the political stage. One thing for sure; Hillary can accessorize with the best of them. It takes real talent to look good with a necklace of dingy, dirty, squawking sea-birds draped around the neck of your pantsuits. It takes even more talent when one of those nasty birds is your own husband.

It is a good thing that Barack Obama is such an even-tempered man. A lesser politician would have yanked Bill’s speech or at least slapped him down. A lesser man would have politically back-slapped Bill Clinton into next month for his comments. There was no excuse for the former president’s behavior. Bill Clinton, of all people, knows what he is supposed to do. He knows the drill, he is supposed to get happily behind Barack Obama and join the mirthful Corus. This display of pique does Barack no good, it does Hillary no good, it does the party no good, and in the end it does him no good. Once upon a time there was a masterful politician that re-invented himself from the ashes of defeat. He raised Phoenix like from the political fever swamps of Arkansas and beat a scion of Republican privilege. He not only survived but flourished in Republican dominated Washington D.C. He beat the system and even bested a tawdry sex scandal. That political professional is long gone. He has been replaced by a bitter, self-pitying jackass who needs a time-out.

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