Barack Obama put it gently, with respect to Bill Clinton's increasing role in trying to ensure that he gets his wife (and himself) back into the White House:
"My understanding is President Clinton’s not on the ballot."
The problem is: he is and he isn't. His wife wants to use him as a weapon in the campaign, but still insist that it is she who is running, and not him. She wants to appeal to a return to his policies, but still insists that she does not represent a third term for the 42d president. She wants him on her resume until it's not convenient. Then she pretends to be a feminist. She wants to include in her "experience" her attempt to get everybody's healthcare under her beatifically benign control in the early 1990s. But in turn he insists that her failure to achieve anything - because of her reflexive secrecy, paranoia and over-reach - was actually his fault, not hers. She wants credit for being a feminist, while still running in part on her husband's record - both claiming credit for the good parts and disowning the bad parts. They will keep playing this game - arguing every which way, passing the buck from one to the other, never accepting responsibility, for as long as it gets them past the latest news cycle.
If she is the nominee, it will be the two of them again. The real risk is that it will mean the same never-ending psycho-drama, the same petty sleaze, the same constant beat of marital-political intrigue that we endured in the 1990s. It's worth recalling: just because their enemies were often vile doesn't mean the Clintons didn't give them plenty to work with - often needlessly. Another term of the two of them could well lead to the same kind of sexual scandals that distracted and near-paralyzed affairs of state in the 1990s. If you don't believe that, then you simply haven't grasped the depth of Bill Clinton's needs and compulsions and Hillary Clinton's life-long enabling of them. Their act in power could in turn provoke the same response from the hard right - empowering the Christianists just as they are finally being marginalized, funding them, uniting re-energizing them, rebuilding the GOP around social conservatism and war. I am told by my Clinton-friendly readers that I am obsessed with this matter, seized with hatred, a mouthpiece for Republican talking points, a woman-hater, etc etc. Fine. Whatever. Have your say.
But if you think we would be electing a normal presidential candidate in Hillary Clinton, as opposed to a co-dependent, scandal-drawn power-couple with almost no accountability within their marriage, let alone outside it, then you're welcome to your delusions.
I just want this on the record, ok? If you want to pick them again, do so with your eyes open.
(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty.)