Jeffrey Goldberg wonders whether Bill Clinton has decided to pick up on the Democratic whisperings about John McCain’s temperament. At an appearance last night, Clinton suddenly launched a broadside against POWs, implying that their anger can suddenly erupt irrationally:
Bill Clinton is speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival, and he said just now, apropos of almost nothing (actually, during a long peroration on Nelson Mandela): “Every living soul on this planet has some highly-justified anger. Everyone. If you know anybody who was a P.O.W. for any time, they can be going on for years and all of a sudden something will happen that will trigger all those bad memories.”
Not too subtle.
Did Clinton decide to join the Democratic bandwagon and start attacking McCain through his military experience? As Goldberg says, it’s not very subtle to suddenly, and apparently by changing the subject, start talking about rage and triggers in POWs. And as Goldberg notes, Clinton rarely says anything by accident in public.
On the other hand, it’s not even clear that Bill has decided to jump on the Obama bandwagon, at least not yet. Goldberg also says that Clinton never mentioned Obama at all, and actively avoided the subject. That doesn’t sound like an enthusiastic surrogate, and if he doesn’t have any stomach for promoting Obama, why would he cheap-shot McCain in this fashion?
I’m inclined to think that Clinton made these comments with a purpose. Regardless of whether he likes Barack Obama — and so far, the evidence says he doesn’t — he may have decided that torpedoing McCain serves other purposes. With his reputation as a loose cannon firmly established in this cycle, he may also have concluded that he can get away with it more than his wife could, or other Democratic officeholders could.
I wonder how former POWs feel about a former Commander in Chief insinuating that they are all dangerous time bombs, just waiting for the right trigger to explode?
Update: Watch the video here.