The boy can’t help it.
Bill Clinton, our 42nd president and national treasure, just can’t stop himself from chiming in about the GOP presidential race. Of course, with Bubba, there’s always a double message and an ulterior motive.
Of Newt Gingrich, Clinton said:
“He is, first, resilient. And secondly, he’s always thinking. And he’s got a million ideas. And some of them are good and some of them, I think, are horrible.”
This is Clinton’s way of giving a shout-out to his old Congressional nemesis and intellectual sparring partner. Clinton may not agree with Newt on much, but he does respect his brain. Clinton is a free-range thinker the way Newt is, so there is a lot of mutual admiration and respect there. Don’t discount him, is what Bubba is really telling Team Obama.
Then on Mitt Romney, Clinton said:
“It’s a mistake to underestimate Gov. Romney,” Clinton said. “He’s performed well in all these debates and did a lot of rather impressive things as governor of Massachusetts. I wish - I don’t think he ought to apologize for the health care program. It’s working.”
Actually, it’s bankrupting the state. But here Clinton is also giving a shout-out to a fellow “smart guy.” Clinton doesn’t know Romney as well as he knows Gingrich, but he does recognize intellect.
Clinton is doing two things here: first, he’s praising Newt and Mitt because both men, at various times and to various degrees, have moved to the center and embraced government policies that Clinton himself has supported. He sees a bit of a kindred spirit in both of them. That could hurt them in the primaries but may actually help them in the general election.
Which brings us to Clinton’s second objective: there’s no love lost between Clinton and Obama. Clinton will campaign for Obama and say all of the right things. But Bubba always finds a way to get passive-aggressive, as he did last week when he stood next to Obama and referred to the economy as “lousy.” Obama looked like he was about to haul off and slug him.
Does Clinton really want Obama to win next year? With Hillary bailing on her gig, does Bubba really want to see another term for Obama in which he’d have no high-level spies and no influence? Does Clinton really want to lose his special designation of being the only Democrat president since Roosevelt to win a second term? Does he really want to share that label with Obama?
You know Clinton. I know Clinton. We all know Clinton. And we all know the answers to those questions.
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