Friday, February 01, 2008

Foreshadowing For A Clinton Campaign

Attacks on the Clintons? For those who think they've seen it all, here's the latest product of Charles Krauthammer's fevered mind.
What they don't understand is that for Clinton, there is no legacy. What he was doing on the low road from Iowa to South Carolina was fighting for a legacy -- a legacy that he knows history has denied him and that he has but one chance to redeem.

* * *

Except for the spousal loophole. Hence his desperation, especially after Hillary's Iowa debacle, to rescue his only chance for historical vindication -- a return to the White House as Hillary's co-president. A chance to serve three, perhaps even four terms, the longest in history, longer even than FDR. The opportunity to have dominated a full quarter-century of American history, relegating the George W. Bush years to a parenthesis within Clinton's legacy.

It was to save this one chance, his last chance, to be historically consequential that Bill Clinton blithely jeopardized principle, friendships, racial harmony in his own party and his own popularity in South Carolina.

Why not? Clinton knows that popularity is cheap, easily lost, easily regained. (See Lewinsky scandal.) But historical legacies are forever.

He wants one, desperately. But to get it he must return to the White House. And for that he must elect his wife. At any cost.
By what reasoned analysis would anybody think that Bill Clinton will get credit for Hillary Clinton's achievements as President, any more than she gets credit for his? (Or Laura gets credit for GW's? Or Nancy gets credit for Reagan's?) History may not be as harsh to him as Krauthammer suggests - he may become known as the last President to preside over a vibrant economy and U.S. global hegemony, before G.W.'s disastrous policies undermined our nation's financial, political and military dominance and for decades to come. Or perhaps history will remember his ham-handed efforts to force a final status deal in the Israel-Palestine conflict, and his atrocious use of the pardon power on his way out the door. But whatever history decides, it will be based upon his Presidency, not his wife's.

I don't think Krauthammer's the drooling idiot he seems to be when he writes stuff like this - he's giving us a preview (or perhaps a test run) of a new way to attack Hillary Clinton's candidacy through her husband. This follows on the heels of Republicans sophomorically sniggering about what Bill Clinton will do if he returns to the White House with no official responsibilities. That followed the apparently ineffective (yet continuing) strategy of suggesting that a Clinton victory would inevitably mean a "co-presidency".

Krauthammer capably illustrates is how somebody with an overblown ego, a propensity toward mendacity and a national platform can launch dishonest attacks on a political candidate. Point conceded. But it verges on hilarious that Dr. Krauthammer can diagnose that speck in Bill Clinton's eye, while....

On a peripheral note, given the choice between a spouse of a candidate who attacks an opposing candidate to benefit his wife, or a candidate who belittles his wife to attack an opposing candidate, I'm not so sure that I prefer the latter.

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