Skip to comments.Bill Clinton in a china shop
Posted on 06/11/2012 1:03:33 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Bill Clinton is the great Saint Bernard of politics, bounding around the political landscape, rescuing and providing aid while simultaneously knocking over the table lamp.
Last week he hosted the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting, taking a serious look at Americas economic problems. He is also in the thick of the 2012 campaign, raising money for President Obama. The trouble is no one is better at articulating the case for Obamas re-election while at the same time occasionally undercutting Obamas chances.
Recently he has been on the wrong end of at least three different statements he has had to clarify defending Bain Capital, testifying to Mitt Romneys sterling business career, suggesting the country was still in a recession, and suggesting he favored extending the Bush-era tax cuts. Clinton is doing such good work for Romney that he now appears in the Republican nominees press releases. Even Sarah Palin praised Clinton in an effort to make Obama look way out of the mainstream.
What is up with Clinton? Everyone has a theory, which is part of the problem with Clinton. He compels theories from people about his hidden machinations, even when there arent any.
So lets consider a series of theories based on a round of conversations with Clinton watchers, former staffers and allies:
A storyteller in a Twitter world. Clinton is at his best when he is telling a tale or reasoning something out with you. I could give a pretty good one, he once said to an Ames, Iowa, audience about loping political speeches, cause I came out of a tradition of storytellers where we listened and learned how to tell stories. That doesnt really fit in the 140-character world of Twitter. The news cycle has sped up even faster since he was president. So have the phony outrage and games of gotcha. His talent for framing what the election is about is less valued and gets less play than the moments when he is off message.
Hes actually not off message. If you look at Clintons so-called gaffes, theyre not off message in any reasonable sense. When he said that Romney had a sterling business career, it was right up against a sentence that said he would not be a good president.
When he said the Bush-era tax cuts should be extended, he was talking about a temporary extension to work out a deal with Republicans. Twice in the interview he said he did not support a permanent extension. The comment about the recession was simply an act of misspeaking.
He has forgotten how to talk like a politician (because he doesnt have to). Clinton speaks in paragraphs. He spends a lot of his time in long conversations with interesting people talking about global issues. That can deaden your political communications skills that when sharp allow you say nothing interesting about even the smallest issues. In order to navigate a world in which your every word is spliced, you must say nothing that can be taken out of context, which is to say, very little at all.
The former leader of the free world isnt going to simply read talking points cooked up by the Obama campaign in Chicago, anyway. One strong dissenting voice among my interviews argued that while Clinton did have trouble adapting to the new world during the 2008 campaign, hes long since adapted.
He thinks he is the smartest one in the room. Clinton thinks that the Bain attacks on Romney are inefficient and not smart. They also risk hurting major Democratic Party donors. In a CNN interview, he also clearly was sending a bigger message about how he thinks this election should be fought: on ideas about the future. That was a memo to the Obama team. It may have been an act of ego, but it was an act of ego to help Obama. This contradicts the theory of those who think that Clinton has been trying to undermine Obama for one reason or another.
Occams bushy beard. Occams razor says that the simplest answer is usually the right one. But in the political world, people often believe the opposite is true. Practitioners and pundits (at the dinner table and in the green room) often search for the most baroque explanations to explain utterly common things. In medicine, this is known as Hickams dictum. So when Clinton is simply running his mouth, it is interpreted to be subtle positioning to set up his wifes presidential run, or an attempt to undermine Obamas legacy so that Obama wont get elected to a second term and diminish the record of the last two-term Democratic president.
He loves politics. As Taylor Branch wrote in The Clinton Tapes, he never begrudged survival and ambition in politicians, whether friend or foe. Indeed, he reveled in calculations from opposing points of view. For someone who loves politics this much, Clinton doesnt mind playing a few angles, for whatever purpose, so its understandable to think every deviation he makes must be a clever stratagem. But when hes making a tactical move, says one who knows him, its a little more obvious. He works his way to his point in a methodical way. Thats not what people have seen in his supposed gaffes.
He is angling for his wife. Clinton was his wifes chief surrogate in 2008. He says the decision is up to her, but everyone assumes that he really wants her to make another run for president. So could he be sabotaging Obama to help his wife? That would require enough subtlety not to get caught, but would still need to be bracing enough to do Obama some damage. Even Clinton cant pull that off. But its true, say those who know him, that Clinton is loyal to those who have helped him and his wife. That would explain his defense of Bain, and it also would explain his warm comments about Donald Trump.
No single theory explains Clinton. He contains multitudes. Which portion of which theory makes up the complete picture requires you to come up with your own alchemy. As for the Obama campaign, which must handle these little eruptions now and again, the best thing to do is to prepare for the occasional breakage of a family heirloom, because theyre never really going to be able to control the Saint Bernard.
The Clintons and almost all other Democrats know that Obama is OVER HIS HEAD and that some scandal or scandals will knock him over and VOILA!! Hillary!!!
Bill Clinton, the hillbilly wanker sociopath traitor rapist should STFU and crawl back into a dark corner like the cockroach he is and wait for his overdue dirt nap.
“Recently he has been on the wrong end of at least three different statements he has had to clarify”
Doing his very best not to break out laughing as he did so (clarify). Count me in the camp of thinking every last one of his statements were intentional and calculated. I don’t buy for one second that Clinton “gaffed” all of that. Clinton’s a lot of things, but he’s neither dumb, nor has he lost his political skills in semi-retirement. He’s blunting Obama’s lines of attack against Romney even as he publicly is being the loyal Democrat, raising money and otherwise “aiding” in Obama’s re-election.
Bill Clinton in a China shop?.....just looking for campaign donations.
I’ve never understood all this excitement about Hillary.
When she ran in the 2008 primaries, she had some of the highest negatives ever recorded by polling for any presidential candidate. Does she somehow compare favorably against Obama in some ways? Do Democrats really think that the answer to their Obama problem is another campaign by Hillary???
Could it be that time and events have passed the Clintons by? There’s all this talk of Hillary being the VP nominee with Obama this time, or Hillary running in 2016. It’s hard to believe that so many Democrats are eager for another re-run of the Bill and Hillary soap opera.
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