Hillary Clinton flubbed the last Democratic presidential debate. She flip-flopped on the illegal immigrant’s drivers license position two times in two minutes as candidate John Edwards so aptly put it.
In 1959 an early rhythm and blues vocal group, The Coasters, recorded a song called, “Along Came Jones,” about a “slow-walking, slow-talking” tall, lanky cowboy who always showed up at the last minute to rescue the damsel in distress from the villain, “Salty Sam.”
On Monday, before a postal workers convention in Nevada, hubby Bill came to Hillary’s rescue as “slow-walking, slow-talking Jones”… or he showed up as the villain “Salty Sam” and put Hillary’s nomination in peril once again.
Discussing the efforts of debate moderators – read Tim Russert – and Hillary’s Democratic rivals, Bill Clinton said,
“We listened to people make snide comments about whether Vice President Gore was too stiff,” Mr. Clinton said, “and when they made dishonest claims about the things that he said that he’d done in his life. When that scandalous Swift boat ad was run against Senator Kerry.” “Why am I saying this?” he continued. “Because I had the feeling that at the end of that last debate we were about to get into cutesy land again.”
I find it curious that Clinton would refer to the Swift boat campaign. My Democratic friends have always told me that “swift-boating” is a dirty, underhanded Republican smear tactic used against Democrats. I was surprised to learn from Bill Clinton that “swift-boating” is also a sneaky, underhanded Democratic smear tactic used by Democrats against other Democrats.
Curious as the Swift-boat reference was, even more interesting is the question of why Bill Clinton felt the need to say anything at all about the debate.
Two reasons come immediately to mind as to why Clinton made that speech. Either Bill Clinton doesn’t believe wife Hillary can handle by herself the “meanies” accusing her of flip-flopping… or Bill Clinton doesn’t really want Hillary to win the Democratic nomination for president.
Contrary to current opinion from both sides of the political spectrum, Clinton could have actually believed that coming to Hillary’s rescue from being “swift-boated” by her fellow candidates and Tim Russert; he thought he was saving her bacon. Precluded for all intents and purposes from actively campaigning for Hillary, the best Bill could do was making a speech supporting her and condemning the rest of the cast.
Reason number two would be Bill doesn’t want really want Hillary to be the President of the United States. The supporting argument for this hypothesis is Bill Clinton’s own inflated ego. I’m not sure if there is anything in the world more valuable and precious to Bill Clinton than his presidential legacy – so much so that he has been trying to rewrite its history for the past six years. Would Bill want to chance Hillary annulling and voiding his own re-written presidential legacy?
Say what you will about Bill Clinton, but he does happen to be one of the most skilled and artful politicians in American history. Did Clinton make that speech defending Hillary because he, William Jefferson Clinton, the consummate politician, knew what the backlash would be?
There could of course be a third reason – the spotlight. The only thing Bill Clinton ever loved more than “Intern Night” at the White House was being in the spotlight in front of a microphone and a television camera. Clinton couldn’t keep his hands off a Monica and he can’t keep his mouth shut in front of a microphone.