Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Terrible Tempered Mr. Bill Runs Out of Steam

Bill Clinton used to know how to keep his cool. His ability to maintain his composure no matter how many times he got caught lying his ass off, mainly about his chronic inability to keep it in his pants, was instrumental in helping him survive the Republican's attempted impeachment coup.

Let's remember, the Republicans paid dearly for going after Bill because they weren't able to make a fatal dent in his public support. That might've been much different had then president Clinton revealed the ugly temper he's shown so often during his wife's campaign for the Democratic nomination.

It's not that Bill doesn't have reason to be upset. This nomination, after all, was supposed to be hers in a cakewalk. She was so far ahead of all the other Democratic candidates combined that she was as unsinkable as the Titanic.

It's useful to recall that Hillary, not Obama, had the black vote sewn up. Black voters were devoted fans of Bill Clinton. Barack Obama didn't steal those votes, the Clinton camp drove them out with their repeated race-baiting stunts. That was an event of seismic proportions that shook the black community. Interestingly enough it was Bill, not Hillary, who began that blunder.

And the Clinton campaign just kept tripping over a string of blunders. When she realized that what she had wasn't selling, Hillary kept trying to re-invent herself and pandered shamelessly to one group after another. She downed boilermakers with the blue collar crowd in Pennsylvania and professed her love for hot peppers to the Latino voters in Texas and showed up wearing an Indian necklace to appeal to South Dakota natives who had already decided to back Obama. Then there was that miserable "3 a.m." phone call ad, her attempt to knife Obama in the back by saying only she and McCain were experienced enough to be commander in chief, her crack about "I think he's a Christian," the one about her exclusive affinitity to "hard working Americans, white Americans," the outright and oft-repeated lie about braving sniper fire, the Bobby Kennedy assassination ploy. All this and more and yet Mrs. William Clinton and her rabid supporters claim the nomination was stolen from her. That is a pathetic, bordering on sick, joke.

Yet Bill still contends that "she wuz robbed." Of course it's the media's fault, especially the black media, those disloyal, ungrateful darkies. This campaign has shown the ugly side of Bill Clinton.

The New York Times' own black columnist, Bob Herbert, plainly won't be sad to see the Big Dog depart from the campaign:

"The cry of “McCain in ’08!” at the Democratic rules committee meeting in Washington over the weekend came from a supporter of Senator Hillary Clinton.

It reminded me of Bill Clinton’s comment that “it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country.”

He was talking about Hillary Clinton and John McCain. The former president’s comment played right into the sustained effort by opponents of Barack Obama to portray the senator as some kind of alien figure, less than patriotic, not fully American, too strange by half to be handed the reins of government.

This was supposed to have been the Democrats’ year. But instead of marching to victory, the party has been at war with itself in some of the ugliest ways imaginable. There was a time, not that long ago, when Democratic voters were crowing about how happy they were with all (or almost all) of the potential nominees.

But the Clinton and Obama partisans spent months fighting bitterly on the toxic terrain of misogyny, racism and religion. It can only make you wonder about the vaunted Democratic claims of moral superiority when it comes to tolerance.

This should have been the year when the Democrats just hammered the Republicans over the economy, the war, energy policy, health care, appointments to the Supreme Court, the failure to rebuild New Orleans, and so on. The list of important issues on which the Republicans are vulnerable is endless.

There is no end of blame to be apportioned among the Democrats. The Clintons have behaved execrably. But weak-willed party leaders showed neither the courage nor the inclination to stop them from fracturing the party along gender and ethnic lines.

As for Senator Obama, he’s been mired in a series of problems of his own — problems that have done serious damage to the very idea that brought him to national prominence in the first place: that he was a new breed of political leader, a unifying candidate who could begin to narrow the partisan divides of race, class and even, to some extent, political persuasion."

At the end of the day it may be clear that Bill Clinton did no favours for anyone.

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