It was only yesterday when we learned that Team Hillary was dusting off the Big Dog to take him out for a spin on the campaign trail. As risky as that move might be, Hillary and her handlers may feel that the chips are down and they don’t have much choice. But what if it works and she winds up moving back into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Will Bill be taking up residence and working out of the office of the First Lady? (Er… First Gentleman, I mean.)
Hillary isn’t ready to say. (The Hill)
“I’m not counting my chickens before they hatch. I just want to be sure that we get the chance to earn the votes of the American people and to win the White House back,” the front-runner for the Democratic nomination said in response to a question about Bill Clinton having a West Wing office.
In the interview airing on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily,” Clinton lauded her husband as a “great adviser” who “knows as much about the economy and how to get jobs created and how to help people see their incomes rise as anybody that I could talk to.”
But she wouldn’t elaborate on the role that the former president would have in her potential administration.
This is a question which sounds like a bit of pre-season media fluff but it would get complicated fairly quickly if Hillary becomes president. There is an office and a budget for a staff for the First Lady and it entails a lot of duties which involve some of the, shall we say… less weighty duties involved in keeping the West Wing humming. Are those the sorts of jobs that Bill Clinton would want to do?
The questions go far deeper than that, however. The President of the United States is expected to leave all of their other concerns behind and tucked away on a shelf when they enter office, but the First Lady is under no such restrictions as far as I know. What happens to the Clinton Global Initiative when Hillary comes to power? It’s hard to imagine it just going away. But if Bill wanted to run that massive organization out of the office of the First Lady it would entail hundreds of millions of dollars in donations being handled and contacts with foreign governments, business leaders and all manner of folks traipsing in and out. Even if they weren’t physically coming in to see him the traffic would still be taking place surrounding the office. How on Earth would the Clintons propose to keep all of that business pure and separated from the affairs of the leader of the free world?
That would get ugly pretty quickly. Would Bill turn over his foundation entirely to someone else for four or eight years just to accomodate his wife? Assuming he doesn’t want to, then he would need to continue to primarily live and work out of his New York offices. But if that happens the nation is left without a First Lady / Gentleman. Would the country continue to run unimpeded with those offices left vacant? If it did then it might prove that the “office” of the First Lady is pretty much just window dressing with no real effect on anything. But holding that “office” is one of the key accomplishments and resume bullet points for one of the current candidates.
Oh… this could get messy very quickly.