Forget the polls. Here is the best news I have seen for Bush supporters:
Former president Bill Clinton, whose recuperation from heart surgery last month has been slower than he anticipated, will not make more than a few cameo appearances on behalf of Democratic nominee John F. Kerry, and even an abbreviated schedule is far from certain, friends and Democratic officials said.
Clinton has been recuperating from his Sept. 6 quadruple bypass surgery at his home in Chappaqua, N.Y., with a recovery regimen that has included mile-long walks. He has completed the walks but finds himself exhausted after each jaunt, friends said, and he remains in considerable pain from the chest incision.
Two things about Clinton, one that Republicans won’t admit to and one that Democrats are wary to concede to:
1.) Bill Clinton is a winner: Face it, Republicans. Bill Clinton may have his moral failings, but the man is a winner. Son of an alcoholic born in a broken home and raised in poverty, things have turned out pretty well for Bill Clinton, and I don’t know too many people who would not trade places with him. The man is bright, personable, well-respected within his circles, and wealthy. If I remember correctly, he has lost only one race in his entire political life. In a testament to his tenacity, he horse-whipped the candidate four years later.
Wanna argue with me? You better get in your way back machines and remember why it is Republicans hated the man so much, considering he was, by comparison to Gore, previous Democratic presidential candidates, and John Kerry, pretty moderate. Yes his foreign policy was a failure, and yes he had issues with the truth, but the real reason Republicans hated Clinton was because he was so good at kicking our asses. Really, really, good. He stole every one of our winning issues, made them his own, and then kicked our heads in with them. As a fierce partisan, I used to feel like I had spent twelve rounds in the ring with Mike Tyson after one of Clinton’s press conferences or SOTU addresses. He was that good at framing the debate, co-opting our issues, and villifying us.
Still think he is a loser? Two words: Dole/Kemp.
Still think he is a loser? It would probably be President Gore right now had Al not run away from Clinton in 2000.
I am willing to bet that were there no such things as term limits, Bill Clinton, if not dead from over-exertion, would be coasting to election in his fourth presidency. And while Clinton and company are given far too much credit for the boom of the 90’s and far too little blame for foreseeing the bubble and the recession Bush inherited, they do deserve credit for not screwing things up. While we are still living with his foreign policy shortcomings, I don’t know too many people besides Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson who would say the 90’s were that bad. Again, Clinton probably gets too much credit for the economic expansion during his Presidency, but I am not sure how else you judge theman- by someone elses term in office? Clinton was President from 1993-2001, so those are the only years we can really judge him for, and most people would say that the 90’s weren’t all that bad.
2.) Bill Clinton is political to the core- beyond what most of us can even imagine: There is not one aspect of Bill Clinton’s life that is not the result of some political calculus. The man had polls taken to find out where he and his family should spend vacation- need I say more? Do you REALLY, REALLY think he wanted his office to be in Harlem?
I don’t think Clinton has many deeply held beliefs. Unlike most Republicans, I genuinely think he does have the best interests of people in mind, and I do honestly think he really does want the best for people- particularly the poor. Which leads to what I think is Clinton’s one core belief:
“I am the best person to help these people, so anything I do to stay in power is ok.”
There is, quite simply, no other way to explain why Bill Clinton was willing to throw whole portions of the longstanding Democratic agenda down the tubing while adopting and enacting (often times under duress) NAFTA, Welfare Reform, and numerous other issues. I still have no idea why the liberals love Clinton so much, because I remember a time in the 90’s when one wag noted that the ‘reason Republicans hate Bill Clinton so much is because he is a danger to replace Ronald Reagan as the century’s most conservative president.’ Only the liberals hatred of Clinton’s enemies can explain their continued adulation of Clinton today.
First and foremost, Clinton cared about himself, and his electability. Everything, and I do mean everything, was a secondary matter. Just ask Buddy, whose adoption is explained in this manner:
Julia Gorin started worrying about Buddy, the chocolate Labrador retriever, when he was brought to the White House as a puppy late in 1997.
She had heard that Bill Clinton’s poll-oriented advisers feared the president would lose his “family man” image when his daughter, Chelsea, went off to college and recommended a dog as prop. A Lab, America’s most popular breed, was the obvious choice. Even the color was calculated.
Gorin, a dog lover who adopted a pit bull she found discarded on a New York subway platform, didn’t think that was the way to select a pet.
Whether or not you believe Buddy was apoll-driven image prop (and as a dog lover, I find this Clinton tale a little over the top), it does help make my point. Bill Clinton is so political that people would actually believe he WOULD do such a thing.
At any rate, the point of all of this is that if Bill Clinton thought Kerry had a chance, he would be out there campaigning until it killed him. I don’t think he could help himself. That Bill is choosing to sit this election out to recuperate says a lot.