Saturday, June 07, 2008

Regarding Guilt, Anger and Bill

James Fallows (Atlantic) on why Hillary behaved as she did - post titled, "How Hillary Lives With Herself:"

The Clinton team doesn't worry about hurting Obama's prospects of winning in the fall, because they assess those prospects at zero. Always have. Obama might not win if he leads a bitterly divided party, but (in this view) he was never going to win. Not a chance. He would be smashed like an armadillo in the road* by the Republican campaign machine, and he would be just about as ready as the armadillo for what was coming.

When Clinton still had a plausible shot at the nomination, this assumption removed all guilt from beating up on Obama. As in: "I have a lifetime of experience that I will bring to the White House. I know Senator McCain has a lifetime of experience to bring to the White House. And Senator Obama has a speech he gave in 2002." By whittling Obama down, the Clintons were saving the party from a suicidal mistake.

John Harris, Politico, compares Gore and Hillary, both working in Bill's shadow:
Gore believed Bill Clinton’s personal scandals were a headwind and banished him from his campaign. Why, critics taunted after the 2000 election, would you sideline the most popular Democrat and most talented campaigner of the age?

Hillary Clinton believed Bill Clinton was a political asset and made him her most prominent public surrogate. Why, the critics now taunt, would you allow your unruly husband to hijack your campaign and make your message all about restoration at a time when the electorate is hungering for change?
And reports on this not surprising tidbit:
David Maraniss, a fellow Clinton biographer, reported the story of Hillary being driven home one night by a mentor, Bernard Nussbaum, when they were both working as staff lawyers on the House Judiciary Committee’s Watergate inquiry. With earnest intensity, she made a prediction about her then-boyfriend: “He’s going to be president of the United States." Amused, Nussbaum replied, “That’s silly and ridiculous.” Before slamming the door shut, Hillary Rodham seethed: “I know this guy. You don’t. He is going to be president. You think it’s silly. Well, someday you’ll eat your words.”
And then this observation, which strikes me as about right:
During the early Clinton years, political adviser Paul Begala, who had spent countless hours on the road with the couple during the 1992 campaign, told friends he had discovered the secret of their relationship: Both looked at each other in mystery at how the other person had married someone so undeserving.

This was why they survived the Lewinksy scandal, and other indignities. Each saw their marriage as the world’s most exclusive club — a bond strong enough to handle all manner of stresses.
Finally Harris asks:
Now what?

For Bill Clinton, the supreme challenge will be to face what is clearly his anger over the outcome of his wife’s campaign and the way they both were treated by both their party and the press. His worst moments in both private and public life have always flowed from his sense of grievance.

Speaking of Bill's anger The New Republic points out two very separate accounts (not counting his explosion over the Vanity Fair article.

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