"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you”


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

What Do We Do With Bill?

It must have been one of the fundamental questions TeamHillary pondered while formulating its 2008 presidential campaign strategy.

Clearly, Clinton Nineties Nostalgia would be a central part of Hillary's candidacy. The strategists were banking on human nature. Most of us choose to remember positive memories over painful experiences and TeamHillary's strategy would be to focus on the best aspects of the Clinton years. They were counting on the electorate's fond memories of the economic boom, soaring stock market and the "hiatus from history" that marked the decade between the end of the Cold War and the arrival of foreign terrorists on America's shores. They also understood the political battles of the decade (re: the L'affair Lewinsky) seemed frivolous in retrospect to today's life and death questions.

Politicos of all ideological persuasions acknowledged former President Clinton as one of his generation's foremost political strategists. Having Bill as her senior adviser would be an unrivaled campaign weapon, as long as the private scandals remained part of the past and he did not outshine his candidate spouse. Overall, Bill had to be viewed as one of the campaign's most powerful assets.

However, they probably didn't foresee the inexplicable evaporation of Bill's political Midas touch. In recent weeks, Bill has become a liability whenever he garners media attention. Whether he's accusing her Democratic rivals of "piling on" and "swift-boating" Hillary or he's revising his Iraq war position, he seems to have found a knack to knock the campaign off-stride.

I start to wonder, what happened to his vaunted political wisdom? Or is that simply another example of the selective amnesia inherent to a campaign built on nostalgia?

The question for TeamHillary, one month prior to the Iowa caucuses remains:

"What do we do with Bill?"

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