Let’s start with the indisputable facts. Bill Clinton, like him or not, possesses a preternatural gift for public relations. He handles the press brilliantly, and if we ever create a National Bullshit Hall of Fame (it would only be right that it be located in DC using pork barrel money) he should be the charter inductee. I envision a wax statue of him welcoming visitors at the entrance to the museum, holding a blue dress behind his back, winking and giving the bitten-lip thumbs up. The statue’s eyes would follow you around the room, like a renaissance painting, except you’d get the distinct impression it was checking out your junk.
Given his facility with the public, it’s puzzling how he is campaigning for his wife so badly. First, the man previously known as “the first black president” (with surprisingly little irony attached) royally pisses off black voters with his Jesse Jackson comments in South Carolina, handing Obama virtually every southern state. And now, he clumsily manages to breath new life into Snipergate by throwing some more lies on the fire, just when we’d finally moved on. It’s almost like he was saying to the press “Come on, you folks can still wring some more mileage out of this! See?” He’s been more helpful to Obama than anybody on Obama’s payroll. Bill’s coming across these days as a crazed badger, not the smooth operator who brought the most fun to the White House since Truman installed the bowling alley.
What’s going on? Has Bill gone crazy? Crazy like a fox, perhaps. People are too polite to admit it, but deep inside we all know that Bill doesn’t like Hillary any more than we do,* and he’s got even more reasons. (Notwithstanding that they are his fault.) And do you think Bill Clinton, man’s man around country matters, serial womanizer, the guy who used state cops to shuttle chicks to and fro the gubernatorial love bunker in Arkansas, really wants to be remembered as America’s inaugural male First Lady? That’s a hard role to swallow for a dude like Bill. He doesn’t want to give up riding shotgun on Marine One. He wants to be hitting on Sarkozy’s hot wife, not throwing her tea parties in the West Wing. Sure, he’s supposed to be Mr. I-feel-your-pain, but you don’t get to be the most powerful man in the free world without having an ego, and my guess is that his can’t handle the idea of being number two on Air Force One.
So, he’s throwing the game, shaving points. Except he’s Bill Clinton, so he’s good at it, and manages to come off as rabidly supportive of his wife at the same time that he torpedoes her bid for presidency. Sure, it’s the worst kind of wrong. But he’s just a person, and he wouldn’t be the first unemployed guy to resent his wife getting a job. Plus, if you cheated on your wife with hundreds of women, humiliating her in front of millions, wouldn’t you be a little nervous about her becoming the most powerful person in the world? Hell hath no fury like a commander-in-chief scorned.