Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Caging The Beast: Hillary Must Tame Bill Clinton

According to exit surveys, half of the white Democrats who decided at the last moment to back former Sen. John Edwards in the South Carolina Democratic primary came over from Sen. Hillary Clinton, possibly in revulsion against the racial innuendos of former President Bill Clinton.

Now, there are suggestions that the Clinton campaign is moving to tone Bill Clinton down. And it's about time. Since the end of the Iowa campaign, Bill Clinton has been a loose cannon on the deck. It has become ever clearer that he sees Hillary's candidacy as a bid to restore his own power in the White House. And if the two get there, there may be a power struggle -- between the two of them.

George Will writes this morning that poor Hillary has "been reduced to the role of surrogate speaking for her husband, the king across the water, restive for a Restoration with her tagging along." He adds, "Obama is running against two Clintons -- or one and a fraction of one, given how much she has been dismissed by her overbearing spouse."

Well, there are clearly some commentators who don't like Hillary, and aren't willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

But, still, it's become obvious that if Bill Clinton continues to show his temper on the stump, as he did all last week, Hillary may be in trouble. She runs the risk of reminding the voters of Lurline Wallace, George Wallace's milquetoast of a wife, who he foisted, for a term, on the people of Alabama as their governor, while George ran the show behind the scenes.

In the New York Times, yesterday, Patrick Healy had a fascinating article under the headline, "After Obama Victory, Clinton's Camp Seeks Gentler Role for Ex-President."

Rep. Charles Rangel, (D-New York), one of Hillary's major black backers, told Healy that Mr. Clinton was going to pull back.

"He's got to," Rangel said. "The focus has got to get back on Hillary. For all that he cares about his wife, this has to be her election to win, and it's become too much about his role."

Meanwhile, Linda L. Fowler, a professor of governor at Dartmouth, was quoted in the same article as saying she believed Bill Clinton had been hurting Hillary.

"Voters don't like the idea of a co-presidency," said Fowler, "and he became so high-profile that he made people begin to see this as a co-presidency. It's even more problematic because she's a woman. It looks like either she needs him to fight the big battles for her, or she can't keep the big dog on the porch."

And an aging dog at that. Clinton, now 61, like many people as they age, is showing more of his temperamental idiosyncrasies." He certainly lost his temper in Missouri the other night after the South Carolina returns came in when he compared Obama to Jesse Jackson, suggesting both were just black candidates with a black agenda.

Clinton is as vicious as that tiger in the San Francisco Zoo. But unlike with the tiger, the victim, in this case, Obama, has escaped the bites.

Still, it's been enough for the writer Toni Morrison, who came out Monday for Obama. And it was Morrison who had once given Clinton the title of "first black president." Now, he looks more like what he is -- a white Southerner.

Perhaps, Hillary simply has to have a little talk with Bill, explaining to him the lay of the land. Or perhaps she has to provide him with a distraction. How about another female intern? Not Monica, but a lookalike. After all, if Jacqueline Kennedy could ignore Judith Exner and Marilyn Monroe, Hillary can look the other way, at least until she can give Bill the boot out of the White House.

It may all end, all right, with a soap opera at the White House. After all, the Clintons have always aspired to attain the social respectability of L'll Abner's Dogpatch.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your column was a very cheap shot against the Clintons, about whom you seem to know very little. Which may be why you dredged up the Lewinsky matter and claimed the Clintons aspired to Dogpatch society. You'll say anything. Why don't you take a bath.

1/30/2008 7:21 AM  

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