Thursday, June 21, 2007

vote one, get one free

I read this article on the Clintons with interest, mostly because it's a story of one reporter, Carl Bernstein, relating his thoughts to another reporter, Alex Spillius, in the New York Sun.

If Americans elect Senator Clinton as president next year, they will also be re-electing her husband, according to the author of a new biography of the former first lady.

Carl Bernstein, one of the reporters who broke the Watergate scandal which brought down President Nixon, told the Daily Telegraph that the couple would operate a joint presidency in which President Clinton would advise on policy and tactics as well as act as troubleshooter.

"There is no question in my mind it would be a co-presidency because he has better judgment than she does on most political matters. He would be a constant presence," Mr. Bernstein said.

Bernstein isn't saying anything shocking here. We can guess how Hillary's presidency would be because of her infamous comparison of Bill's presidency to a two-for-one special. Bill would have an extremely unique role if Hillary wins the White House: a former president who is the spouse of a sitting president. How could he not be intimately involved?

As a couple, they feel the last years of his presidency were wasted by the Monica Lewinsky affair and his failed impeachment, and that they have unfinished business, particularly on health reform and restoring America's standing in the world.

"As a couple?" Please. What about as a nation? I think most everyone saw Bill's final years as "wasted" because of his scandalous behavior. Again, Bernstein offers nothing shocking or even interesting with this view. What's more interesting is the notion of "unfinished business" - that the Clintons believe that they're the ones who have to fix America, to make it right again. Unfortunately, Spillius doesn't allow Bernstein to further his ideas about that.

The article notes that Bernstein worked on his book for eight years, which means he started researching Hillary when she ran to be New York's senator. The article doesn't say how Bernstein decided to finish his book - why not spend another year on it to see how her run for the highest office plays out? Perhaps Bernstein thought this would be the prime time to sell his book - if Hillary doesn't gain the presidency or even the nomination, the book likely wouldn't sell as well.

Even Carl Bernstein realizes that timing is a very important thing. As one of the reporters who revealed the Watergate scandal, he knows that well.

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