It's fun to watch the criticism being leveled at former President Bill Clinton for taking such an active role in stumping for his wife and especially for going after Obama with both barrels firing. Today's NY Times has Obama snapping at reporters who ask him if Bill is "rattling" him and quotes David Axelrod, Obama's "chief strategist" as saying "We’re not interested in a rolling debate with a retired politician."
Dear, dear me--it's always quite funny when politicians sneeringly call other politicians "politicians." And retired, to boot! The implication of course is that Bill is not being "presidential." In fact, Obama supporter Tom Daschle comes right out and says that Clinton is "not keeping with the image of a former president." Let's see--what image would that be? Perhaps the one Harry Truman projected when he told voters in 1960: "If you vote for Richard Nixon you might go to hell!" Or Andrew Jackson ruminating after he left the White House that he should have shot Henry Clay and that it would have been nice if he had had a chance to hang John C. Calhoun. Or Teddy Roosevelt calling William Howard Taft "a fathead with the brains of a guinea pig." That kind of former President image? No, I guess Daschle means building houses or going on goodwill tours or playing golf, like a good little former President.
Obama seems likely to win in South Carolina on Saturday, but he needs to beware of acting as if he is unassailable simply because he is a black man running for president, just as Hillary cannot play the "woman" card too often. As for Bill? Well, at least, unlike his wife's opponents, he's keeping it real....
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
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