Monday, January 21, 2008

Pipe Down Bill!!

I realize this an unprecedented event in our nation's history. The spouse of a former President is running for President. It's different even from the Father/Son relationship of the Bushes. If Hillary becomes President, the former Mr. President moves into the White House as well. And spouses generally stand by their partner in times like this. All the wives are campaigning hard for the husbands.
In many ways Bill Clinton is in a no-win position. That being said (and yes I'm biased) the tone of his campaigning has been a problem. I like Bill and think that by and large he was a successful President, but he was known then and is known now to get a little out of control. His attacks on Barack Obama have been unseemly and un-Presidential. He may think it worth the price to use up his personal capital to support his wife, but I'm not alone in finding this problematic. According to a Newsweek article, a number of key party leaders, including Ted Kennedy have given him an earful. So far he's not heeding their advice, but I hope someone gets through to him. Not only could he damage his wife's campaign, but the Democrats in November.
I'm trying to be generous here, but he has lost a lot of good will from people such as me.

2 comments:

haitianministries said...

In the spirit of being generous, the Clinton's are certainly navigating uncharted waters here. Undoubtedly, being a former president as well as the spouse of a presidential candidate is an unprecedented conflict of interest. But it's not like Bill can recuse himself from one position or another very easily. He's trying to walk a fine line that may simply not exist.

The Newsweek article reports that one of Obama's advisors said, "recent events raise the question: if Hillary's campaign can't control Bill, whether Hillary's White House could." This, of course, is a strong argument against presidential dynasties and, I'm wondering, if it doesn't suggest that maybe the real conflict of interest here is a former first lady campaigning for the presidency. In other words, if Bill is unable or unwilling to recuse himself from the role of campaign spouse, then maybe she is the one that needs to recuse herself by stepping down from the campaign altogether.

Certainly, I think voters have a right to know whether or not, if elected, Hillary is going to be a president with her "own voice" or just the proxy for Bill Clinton, presidency #2.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

The real problem here, and the one that has made me uncomfortable with Hillary's campaign from the very beginning is the issue of dynasty. It's almost impossible to separate what has been and what is.

I'm sure that Hillary has her own voice and ideas, and were she not Bill's wife, we'd look at this differently. Her past is both a strength and a weakness for her.

Ultimately, even though I'll vote for her if that's the choice in November, I'm not a happy camper.

It's not because she's a woman, it's because she is the spouse of a former President. That's the problem.

And by becoming her hatchetman, he's demeaning the Presidency.