Another Perspective

Hunting in Pairs

The Clintons try to do a number on Barack Obama.

By 1.27.08

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Watching the Democrats these past few weeks doing everything possible to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, I found myself asking this question: Do the Clintons hunt in pairs like those Velociraptors in Jurassic Park?

I mean, come on. Obama, stares intently at Hillary, watching her every move, on guard against every conceivable stratagem. Then, WHAM! Bill cold-cocks him, whups him upside the head, right out of the blue, and pivots to chew out a couple of members of the press corps to let everybody know what's what. He still is the Big Dog.

Blind-sided by Bubba, Obama staggers, regains his footing, only to be gut-punched by the Senator from New York with charges that he consorts with, nay, provided legal representation for a slumlord in Chicago, the very one Bill and Hill posed with in the courtesy photo which appeared on Drudge's website recently! The former President comes back around for a real stomping of the junior Senator from Illinois. And what was that fairytale crack all about anyway?

Obama is caught in the Clinton corner of the political equivalent of a Texas tag-team match. Hillary works him over a bit. Then Bill jumps in the ring and gets his licks in while Hillary waits her turn to work him over one more time. They even claim, with straight faces, that Obama is a fan of Ronald Reagan. It is truly a thing to behold.

I cannot make up my mind if Bill and Hillary are performing this duet consciously or not. Maybe we just have a rogue ex-President on our hands.

"Bill Clinton: 'Screw It, I'm Running for President," read the January 23 headline of the satirical daily, the Onion. Maybe the jokesters over there are on to something. Bill needs the action, the fix. Vicarious thrills may not do it for him anymore.

And just as Hillary stood by her man through the Gennifer Flowers fiasco, she now claims to be very proud of her "passionate" spouse.

Over at the Economist, the Lexington columnist (January 24) observes that, while the Democrats are on the verge of a historic choice between the first black man and the first woman as a presidential nominee, everybody is talking about "A certain 61-year-old white male with a habit of waffling on about the old days, falling asleep in public and turning puce when crossed." Even worse, President Clinton "has downgraded himself from global statesman to political hatchet-man." Double ouch. Is this what Howard Dean over at the DNC had in mind for this election season? Don't think so.

Certainly, Obama's solid victory in South Carolina might be the beginning of the end of an effective attack role for Bill Clinton in Hillary's campaign. But you can never count him out.

Interestingly, my Democratic friends are becoming very unguarded of late in expressing their reservations regarding the Clintons, disparaging one or the other, sometimes both. Whether these are long-suppressed feelings or just the emergence of a political self-preservation instinct, I am not sure.

A Republican office-holder in my home state of Missouri related to me his conversation with a former Democratic Mayor of St. Louis some months back. His Honor said the Democrats would win the White House in 2008 with anybody but Hillary Clinton. Maybe good can come from evil, if you get my drift.

Damn, this is an interesting election. The Republicans have put on a real show and promise to keep the primary interesting down to the wire. But this attempted mugging of Barack Obama by the Clintons is worth the price of admission.

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About the Author

G. Tracy Mehan III served at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the administrations of both Presidents Bush. He is a consultant in Arlington, Virginia, and an adjunct professor at George Mason University School of Law.