'Where You Been, Boy? I Missed You!'

By James Fallows

My interpretation of President Obama's first-debate setback has been different from Andrew Sullivan's. But we are absolutely as one in marveling at this "here's how you do it" lesson from Bill Clinton on dealing with Mitt Romney's new version of himself and his policies.



Thanks to Andrew for turning this up.

Bonus historical point: of the thousands of factors that contributed to George W. Bush becoming president in 2000, an important one was Al Gore's distaste for framing his campaign as a plea for a third Clinton term -- Clinton himself would have been re-elected if eligible -- and fully unleashing Clinton on the campaign trail. The result in Tennessee might have been different if Clinton had worked the circuit there. Or in Arkansas, or Florida, or New Hampshire, etc, any one of which would have kept the election from ever getting into the hands of Justices Rehnquist, Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas, and O'Connor. You can understand Gore's reluctance -- sort of. He was furious at Clinton for the gross indiscipline and deception of the Lewinsky episode; and of course he wanted to win not a Third Clinton but a First Gore term.

Obama might also prefer to run this campaign without sharing any of the limelight with Clinton. Several differences make it easier for him than it was for Gore to let the Big Dog back onto the stage, including the passage of time, and the fact that he was never directly in Bill Clinton's shadow. Still, it showed something good about both the Obama and the Clinton family temperaments that Barack Obama invited Hillary Clinton into his cabinet, after their bitter campaign. (And something very good about her that she has performed as she has.) And it's to the credit of all Obamas and Clintons that the sitting president is using the former president this way.

TL;DR version: It's a wonderful, funny clip.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/where-you-been-boy-i-missed-you/263450/