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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Two Against One

If Bill Clinton has to trash his legacy to protect his legacy, so be it. If he has to put a dagger through the heart of hope to give Hillary hope, so be it.
If he has to preside in this state as the former first black president stopping the would-be first black president, so be it.
The Clintons — or “the 2-headed monster,” as the The New York Post dubbed the tag team that clawed out wins in New Hampshire and Nevada — always go where they need to go, no matter the collateral damage. Even if the damage is to themselves and their party.
Bill’s transition from elder statesman, leader of his party and bipartisan ambassador to ward heeler and hatchet man has been seamless — and seamy.
After Bill’s success trolling the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, Hillary handed off South Carolina and flew to California and other Super Tuesday states. The Big Dog relished playing the candidate again, wearing a Technicolor orange tie and sweeping across the state with the mute Chelsea.
He tried to convey the impression that they were running against The Man, and with classic Clintonian self-pity, grumbled that Barack Obama had all the advantages.
When he was asked yesterday if he would feel bad standing in the way of the first black president, he said no. “I’m not standing in his way,” he said. “I think Hillary would be a better president” who’s “ready to do the job on the first day.” He added: “No one has a right to be president, including Hillary. Keep in mind, in the last two primaries, we ran as an underdog.” He rewrote the facts, saying that “no one thought she could win” in New Hampshire, even though she originally had had a substantial lead.
He said of Obama: “I hope I get a chance to vote for him some day.” And that day, of course, would be after Hillary’s eight years; it’s her turn now because Bill owes her. “I think it would be just as much a change, and some people think more, to have the first woman president as to have the first African-American president,” he said.
Bad Bill had been roughing up Obama so much that Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina suggested that he might want to “chill.” On a conference call with reporters yesterday, the former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a national co-chairman of the Obama campaign, tut-tutted that the “incredible distortions” of the political beast were “not keeping with the image of a former president.”
Jonathan Alter reported in Newsweek that Senator Edward Kennedy and Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois congressman and former Clinton aide, have heatedly told Bill “that he needs to change his tone and stop attacking Senator Barack Obama.”


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