Is Bill Clinton Detrimental to Hillary’s Campaign?
With the recent Rants from former president Clinton on the Nevada
Caucus’s, Calling Obama’s history of opposition to the war, and his
television interviews, Bill Clinton may be causing Hilliary’s
supporter to look toward the Obama Campaign due to the positive
message of hope. President Clinton appears to be taking his
speech opportunities to re-write his administrative and moral
blunders while president rather than focusing on His wifes campaign.
Hillary Won the Nevada Caucus’s but, President Clinton called the
process, won by Senator Clinton, disenfranchising to many people in
the state. Some pundits and advisors are suggesting, president
should keep his mouth closed and let Hilliary run the campaign.
Clinton’s poll ratings are very high so Hillary figures he can be of
great help to her on the campaign trail. So far, so good — but then
they extrapolate that view and conclude that he would be a good person
to make her negative attacks on opponents, to answer charges against
her and to take the media to task for their coverage. And that’s where
they are wrong.
Bill’s high ratings are largely due to his nonpolitical activities
in recent years. His book Giving, although largely a payoff to those
who have given to him or to his wife’s campaign, portrays him as a
philanthropist par excellence. Combined with the kudos for his role in
helping tsunami and Katrina victims, and his annual September
conference to organize and help to third world countries, he is
acquiring the statesmanlike reputation that eluded him when he was a
But when he gets down and dirty, defending his own record, rebutting
attacks on Hillary or excoriating the media or his wife’s opponents, he
acts very political and brings down the very ratings that made his
intervention seem useful in the first place.
He and I spoke right before the 1994 Congressional elections about
where he could campaign to help to re-elect Democrats. He had just
returned from the signing of the peace accord between Jordan and Israel
and his approval ratings, for once, were pretty high. “You should go
back to the Middle East,” I told him.
“But you don’t understand, my ratings are high now because of the
trip to the Middle East and I can do candidates a lot of good,” he
“No, you’ll lower your ratings because you won’t appear presidential
as you campaign and you’ll end up doing the candidates for whom you
campaign more harm than good,” I replied.
Bill couldn’t help himself. He ran out and campaigned all over the
U.S. for the congressmen and senators who had backed his economic
package and anti-crime bill, and most of them ended up losing in the
GOP sweep of 1994. In the meantime, he lowered his rating by 10 points
by campaigning and seeming political.
When Bill takes the stump for Hillary and speaks in bland
generalities, he does her some good and no harm. But when he emerges as
a cut and burn politician, flipping and flopping over his past position
on Iraq and attacking media coverage of Hillary, he lowers his ratings
and ends his usefulness to Hillary’s campaign.
The best thing for Bill to do is to stay home. Or better yet, leave
the country on some charitable or philanthropic mission while his wife
runs for president. His job is to keep his own ratings high. Her job is
to exploit those ratings for her own advantage, no matter how little
she deserves them.
Hillary’s entire campaign, like her whole legal and political
career, is entirely derivative of Bill’s. By using her lynchpin as a
bludgeon to hammer her opponents, he destroys his effectiveness and
hurts her own campaign.
Even the Bloggers on Time and RCP are seeing the writing on the wall
Back Off, Bubba!
Posted by TOM BEVAN
Jon Alter has some scoop:
Prominent Democrats are upset with the aggressive role that Bill
Clinton is playing in the 2008 campaign, a role they believe is
inappropriate for a former president and the titular head of the
Democratic Party. In recent weeks, Sen. Edward Kennedy and Rep. Rahm
Emanuel, both currently neutral in the Democratic contest, have told
their old friend heatedly on the phone that he needs to change his tone
and stop attacking Sen. Barack Obama, according to two sources familiar
with the conversations who asked for anonymity because of their
sensitive nature. [snip]
“This is excruciating,” says a member of the Clintons’ circle, who
asked for anonymity. “But the stakes couldn’t be higher. It’s worth it
to tarnish himself a bit now to win the presidency.”
Why does that last quote not surprise me?
On primary day in New Hampshire a couple of weeks ago, I wondered how this fight would shake out:
How ironic is it that Bill Clinton – once dubbed America’s first
black president – is now in the position, along with his wife, of
having to go negative against a black man who appears to have the first
legitimate chance of winning the White House? If the Clintons are
successful in snuffing out Obama’s insurgency with swift boat like
tactics, how much venom and hatred will that unleash against them by
progressive activists and the African-American community – and how
might that play a role in the general election?
Bill may indeed back off, now that his wife has regained the upper
hand with a win yesterday and the Democratic race shifts to South
Carolina. If Obama wins convincingly there, however, don’t be surprised
to see Bill back on the attack heading into February 5th.