How bad have things gotten at Team Hillary HQ this month? After her rather laughable – if not disastrous – appearance on Meet the Press this weekend it seems that Hillary is going to pull out the ultimate secret weapon to fight back against her critics and regain some momentum in the race. She’s going to get her husband to fight all the bullies for her. (Yahoo News)
After largely staying in the background this summer as Hillary Rodham Clinton kicked off her second campaign for president, former President Bill Clinton is ready to take on a more active and public role in his wife’s second bid for the White House.
Bill Clinton’s move to deepen the political involvement in his wife’s 2016 effort comes as she continues to confront the insurgent campaign of Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and the chance that Vice President Joe Biden could make a late entry into the race. Friends and former aides say the former president is eager to become a more vocal advocate for her candidacy.
“He’s going to be very active,” said Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton confidant. “He always intended to come out and support his wife. He’s now at the point that he’s ready to get out there.”
McAuliffe seems to be leading the way with the talking point they’ve decided on. Nobody really wants Bill involved in the race because obviously they don’t need him, but gosh darn it, the guy is just such a dedicated husband and servant that they just can’t keep him off the field. Hillary gave at least a hint of the same approach over the weekend.
“I love my husband, and you know, he does get upset when I am attacked,” Hillary Clinton said Sunday in an interview with NBC’s “Meet The Press. “I totally get that.”
I somehow doubt that this is going to fool very many people. Bill Clinton remains a rock star in the Democrat Party (for reasons which still perplex conservatives with long memories) and he’s one of their most popular, prolific fundraisers. Everywhere he goes he draws crowds, and over the past decade he’s been called in to shore up the defenses of Democrats who find themselves in trouble in tight races. As Hillary continues to lose ground to Sanders – and potentially Joe Biden – there are alarm bells going off at the DNC. The program isn’t going anywhere near according to script so they’re going to have to bring in the big guns.
But Bill was being kept on the bench in the early part of the race for a number of good reasons. Yes, it’s true that he retains the highest favorability ratings of any living president, but he seems to be admired for everything except his performance in the White House. One of the last things Hillary wants as she attempts to sell America on what her presidency would look like is the image of Bill wandering in and out of the Oval Office in his slippers and getting up to who knows what sort of business.
But I think there’s a bigger image problem underlying this strategy. The former First Lady has been constantly nagged with questions about her ability to come out from husband’s shadow, show that she’s her own woman and that this new presidency would be one of her own creation, not just a free pass for Bill to sidestep the 22nd Amendment. Further, Hillary has to fight to prove that she’s a tough competitor in her own right. Dragging Bill out of the closet at this point is going to bolster the image that she needs her husband to fight her battles for her and defend her from the mean old Republicans who are launching all of these “conspiracy theories” about her.
Is that what Americans want in their next president? And is that the message that all the feminists waiting for the historic, “First Female President” wanted to see? Traditionally, the spouses of candidates are seen as an asset, but in a much more understated way. Since most of them are male, their wives are often featured as being supportive, loving, great mothers and concerned citizens who worry about the same things that all of you do when sitting around the kitchen table. They aren’t portrayed as the puppet master behind the aspiring candidate.
Bill was once famously described by Hillary as “a hard dog to keep on the porch.” That description can apply to a lot more than chasing skirts, and if Hillary is ready to unleash the big dog she probably knows that there may be more than a few surprises in store down the line.