Defending Bill Clinton


You may want to sit down, but I read the following Bill Clinton remarks yesterday and didn't see anything untoward about them:

"I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country," said Clinton, who was speaking to a group of veterans Friday in Charlotte, N.C. "And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics."

I don't think he's implying that Obama doesn't love his country or is not devoted to the interest of this country (although you could, with some strain, parse it that way). He's actually hoping for a substantive, non-swift-boating, non-Coulter, non-Hannity campaign. It's pretty close to my own hope for an Obama-McCain race. Now why Clinton didn't include Obama, who is the current front-runner, and who has shown an ability to speak and talk constructively and civilly for the entire campaign, is an interesting question, isn't it? He's certainly less divisive than he or his wife. And he has just shown an ability to respond to swift-boating not by the usual Clinton defensive crouch but by tackling it head-on and winning the argument.

I think the statement just speaks to Clinton's staggering sense of ownership of the Democratic party and the unconcious assumption that his wife deserves to be the nominee. I still think the Clintons cannot believe the gall of anyone daring to challenge their power or their specious self-regard. I've said it before, but imagine if Clinton had won over a dozen primaries in a row, was ahead in the delegate count, ahead in the popular vote, and way ahead in the number of states won. Don't you think the pressure on Obama to pull out would be enormous? And wouldn't Clinton regard his persistence as treachery? And yet Clinton in the exact same situation carries on, with a minimal chance of victory,and actually had the gall to offer Obama a veep slot. Who on earth does she think she is? At best it's pure Clinton entitlement. At worst it's white entitlement.

Oh, well, I tried to defend the Clintons and look where I ended up. Better luck next time.

(Photo: Win McNamee/Getty.)