The word is out among Hillary’s security detail this week: They need a marksman who can surreptitiously and on a second’s notice fire a tranquilizer gun with pinpoint accuracy from up to 50 yards, and make it look like a heart attack or an aneurysm.
They had him fairly subdued for a week or so, but there’s trouble with Bill again. He got in a shouting match with hecklers at a speech in Ohio, and went head to head on the rope line with a self-appointed Obama provocateur. He’s staked out ludicrous spins on Hillary’s current deficit in the numbers by suggesting that they’ve run a Huckabee-like insurgent campaign on $5 donations here and there and whatever they can scrape together between picking up soda cans on bottles on the stump and fishing out the lose change from the seats on the press bus every night. He also casually slimed Obama’s caucus voters as jaded elites who just want a new kind of President so they can have different fund-raising photo ops over the next four years.
It may be all smoke and fire signifying nothing. The campaign spins are a desperate late-inning gambit to stop Obama from running away with the race and giving them a late-game shot of swiping back a victory. From an objective position, Bill’s outbursts at the Ohio speech on Sunday were understandably human to a certain extent. The abortion protesters were belligerent and endlessly disruptive throughout the speech, and the Obama heckler was a self-aggrandizing douche bag who just wanted to get his name on CNN for 15 minutes, and poked the former President with a stick until he got a reaction.
But Bill Clinton got where he was by being superhuman, not human. As he shows the cracks and the frailties and the “contents under pressure” limitations that you and I would, he’s not only displaying a man who never would have made it through the government shutdown and impeachment and the impossible pressure cooker of the 1992 Presidential race, the old road warrior seems to have lost most of his touch since the last time he had such a vigorous outing on the hustings. That would have been 1996, and even then he was campaigning against a respected but very-much long-in-the-tooth Republican opponent in Kansas Senator Bob Dole. In 2000, Bill was still busy governing, and Hillary’s campaign never heated up before Rudy Giuliani’s cancer (or looming mistress problem) pulled him out of the race, and Rick Laszio was never much of a threat. Her 2006 opponent is so lost to history already that he wouldn’t even make a Trivial Pursuit Political Foamer Platinum Edition (I gave myself six minutes before I finally had to Google him: John Spencer), so Bill would make the rare appearance on the trail with her when he wasn’t bitch-slapping Chris Wallace just because the opportunity presented itself.
All very understandable. But, one, the critics are correct when they posit that it doesn’t exhibit very “Presidential” behavior (then again, he isn’t President anymore). The other, larger problem is one that a writer whom I’ve forgotten portended for Hillary’s campaign last summer. When Bill and Hillary are on the stump together, all of the eyes tend to drift to Bill. That’s a minor distraction when he’s on his best behavior. He hasn’t been on his best behavior. When he goes off his campaign meds and reacts to the endless slings and arrows a tight Presidential race is going to throw at him–even if he’s not the candidate–another news cycle passes where the story is all about him and not his wife.
But that’s not why I’m here. I can get all the issues I want from the campaign literature and the web sites. I’m an American who grew up on too many hours of television a week and at the end of the day I’m a degenerate entertainment junkie. I’ll always tune in throughout any political season, but with creatures like former President Clinton wreaking havoc upon the landscape, I’ll always add a big bowl of popcorn and a few beers to the experience.
WISCONSIN SHEEZE: It was likely an uneasy Monday in the Obama Campaign, as they had the triple whammy of Hillary’s fresh negative ads in America’s Dairlyland, charges of plagiarism for his unattributed use of a Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick stump speech (albeit one that he likely helped write), and a new poll showing Hillary with a six-point lead over Obama in an American Research Group poll of likely Wisconsin voters. Prepare for another case of expectation whiplash if Hillary pulls out a win or even comes close here.