There's something just a little uneasy-making about Bill Clinton's return. True, he may be pulling Obama's chestnuts out of the fire. But there remain, about Bill Clinton, some things that make some of us wish that the ex-president would (for once!) get the job done and then haul his fat-free vegan ego out of the spotlight.
Twelve years after leaving the White House, four years after his wife’s failed presidential campaign and six days after his well-received convention speech, Bill Clinton is hitting the campaign trail as the role model both sides claim to emulate.
Energized by his return to the stage, Mr. Clinton has agreed to barnstorm battleground states like Florida starting Tuesday for President Obama, who has embraced the former president and appropriated his best lines. But as Mr. Clinton promotes his fellow Democrat, Republicans promote him as everything Mr. Obama is not, a “real president,” as Newt Gingrich put it, not a “pretender” like the incumbent. ...NYT
Of course, Republicans mean to be irritating when they embrace their old nemesis as somehow more "real" than the slimmer, more authentic White House incumbent with the deeper tan. I bet Bill's role in this phase of Obama's campaign is also irritating to Clinton's wife who is, some say, being "positioned" for a 2016 run.
Please, don't pretend that Clinton represents better days, days of concord and compromise. Hardly! And spare a kind thought for Barack Obama who's gritting his teeth and getting on with the job.
If Mr. Obama was bothered, he has not shown it. At campaign stops since the convention, he has cited Mr. Clinton. “Somebody e-mailed me after the speech and said, ‘You need to appoint him secretary of explaining stuff,’ ” Mr. Obama told an audience in Portsmouth, N.H.
But the narrative around Mr. Clinton as some sort of representative of a more cooperative age seems a product of calculation and fuzzy memories. “It wasn’t exactly that way, no,” said Robert Walker, a leading House Republican at the time. “A lot was forced on him.”
When he did compromise with Republicans, Mr. Walker said, it was “very reluctantly.”
Mr. Clinton’s presidency was marked by titanic partisan battles. His first budget plan passed without a single Republican vote, and he was impeached for giving false testimony under oath about his affair with a former intern, Monica S. Lewinsky. Even when the two sides arrived at a mutual goal, it involved great conflict. Mr. Clinton signed a welfare overhaul bill only after vetoing the first two, and a balanced budget deal in his second term was reached only after a budget deadlock that shut the government in his first.
“The difference between the ’90s and now is the bipartisan cooperation only occurred after partisan Armageddon,” said Joel P. Johnson, a former counselor to Mr. Clinton. “Everyone crawled out of the crater and got back together.” ...NYT
Fellow voter: If it's politics in 2012 we're talking about, there's no doubt that that we are, once again, being manipulated. This isn't the new dawn. It's the light of a guttering candle in the same old whorehouse.
And what does the Big Dog get? Resurrection, redemption, relevance, a reflected patina of Obama integrity and fidelity; the chance to outshine the upstart who outmaneuvered his wife and, by extension, him in 2008. And a possible ticket back to the Oval, this time as the first First Man, a vegan gnawing on Michelle’s vegetable garden.
It’s not a bromance, like Romney and Paul Ryan. It’s a transaction. Obama needs his Democratic predecessor to reassure jittery voters that the future can look like the past, with a lower deficit, plenty of jobs and the two parties actually talking. In return, Bill will have the capital to try to ensure that the past can look like the future, with Hillary as Obama’s successor.
What a wild twist. Instead of ushering in the post-Clinton era, as intended, Obama has ushered in the pre-Clinton era. ...Maureen Dowd, NYT