Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bill Clinton As Surrogate

On November 27, 2007 former President Clinton, to the disbelief of most, stated in Iowa that he opposed the war in Iraq "from the beginning." In his 12/14/07 interview with Charlie Rose, Bill Clinton said voting for Barack Obama is "rolling the dice" and "there are a lot of people who honestly believe what you have done for other people in your public life…is completely irrelevant, but what matters is what you symbolize.” Three days later in South Carolina, Clinton 42 commented of his wife "well, the first thing she intends to do, because you can do this without passing a bill, the first thing she intends to do is to send me and former President Bush and a number of other people around the world to tell them that America is open for business and cooperation again."

The latter statement was easily brushed aside by the Republican National Committee, which contended "in 2009, a Republican president will be working with our friends and allies abroad..." And Democratic primary voters who voted against Bush 41 when voting for Mr. Clinton might not be comforted by the implication that election of Mrs. Clinton might represent a Bush/Clinton dynasty.

And these controversial statements by the former President, and the suggestons that Senator Clinton's campaign is concerned about their potential impact, bring to mind the criticism of Al Gore's presidential election campaign of 2000. After George W. Bush was selected President, critics reveled in ridiculing Gore for not using in the campaign the popular President he had been serving for eight years.

Now we know why. Bill Clinton- who had less of a stake in Gore's election than he has in his wife's bid- is an excellent campaigner, but a loose cannon. The Gore forces would not have been able to limit Clinton's travels or efforts to Arkansas, or Arkansas and Tennessee, as some of the media types who took such glee in the Vice-President's defeat, imply. The involvement of President Clinton probably would have done more harm than good nationally and there is little chance it would have turned the tide in his home state. It is time for the critics to acknowledge that they have been wrong, that for all the strategic failures (such as the selection of Joe Lieberman as V.P. nominee) of the campaign, Al Gore lost the Presidency for other reasons, including the sliming of the candidate by the mainstream media and five Supreme Court justices who placed partisanship above law or country.

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