Monday, February 04, 2008


A well-deserved smack of Bill Clinton for his recent behavior:
Last week, Clinton was blasted by Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, an Obama supporter, for taking "glib cheap shots" that are "beneath the dignity of a former president." He was excoriated by Ed Schultz, the nation's top liberal radio talk host, for "lying about Barack Obama's record" and "embarrassing" the Democratic Party. Tom Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader who has endorsed Obama, warned that Clinton's "overt distortions" were "not presidential" and could "destroy the party" if not checked.

     A past chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party charged the Clintons with practicing the "politics of deception" and likened the former president to Lee Atwater, a Republican operative who became infamous for his ruthless political warfare.

     "The Clintons play dirty when they feel threatened," wrote William Greider in a scathing piece for The Nation, a leading journal of the left. "The recent roughing-up of Barack Obama was in the trademark style of the Clinton years in the White House. High-minded and self-important on the surface, smarmily duplicitous underneath, meanwhile jabbing hard to the groin area. They are a slippery pair and come as a package. The nation is at fair risk of getting them back in the White House for four more years. The thought makes me queasy."...

     If recent weeks have made one thing clear, it is that the current Clinton campaign is as much about returning Bill to the White House as about making Hillary president.

     Bill Clinton's angry outbursts, his lack of self-control, his overpowering presence in the public arena are surely a preview of what a Clinton Restoration would be like. Hillary might be the president, but Bill would still be, as he has always been, the dominant Clinton. To whom would he be answerable in a second Clinton administration? Not to the woman whose political career is a derivative of his, that's for sure.


     On the day a new president is inaugurated, the outgoing president traditionally keeps a low profile, slipping away quietly after the swearing-in and leaving the spotlight to his successor. Not Bill Clinton. His first order of post-presidential business on Jan. 20, 2001, was a 90-minute rally at Andrews Air Force Base, complete with honor guard and a 21-gun salute.

     "I left the White House, but I'm still here!" Clinton exultantly told the crowd. "We're not going anywhere!"

     Like most Americans, I was ready for the tawdry and tiring psychodrama that was the Clinton administration to finally be over. But something told me he wasn't being rhetorical.

     "He means it," I wrote at the time. "He *isn't* going anywhere.


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