Saturday, June 28, 2008

Joe Klein gives relationship advice

In a post entitled "Call Him, Barack", Joe Klein writes that it's on Obama to extend the hand of friendship to Bill Clinton:

Obama has been making a lot of the right moves since nailing down the nomination--and it's probably time to swallow his pride and give the Big Dog a call, perhaps under the guise of asking specific policy advice... and then Obama should casually let slip that he doesn't at all consider Clinton a racist, and never has. Maybe a joke, "I'm looking forward to becoming the second black President..."

My first reaction to this was to imagine Joe hunched over his desk with the little Barack and Bubba dolls, working the whole scene out. But then I think back to the totally chickenshit statement Bill put out the other day, presented in its entirety:

"President Clinton is obviously committed to doing whatever he can and is asked to do to ensure Senator Obama is the next President of the United States."

As Hillary supporter Ed Rendell said, it's time for Bill to get over it. The Clintons ran an incredibly dishonest, nasty campaign, not so much on the race front but on the "we'd be better off with McCain" front, so yeah their image, at least among Democrats, has taken a bit of a hit. Them's the breaks.

The vast majority of Marc Ambinder readers choose a middle way: "Obama should ask Bill Clinton politely [to campaign for him], but if Clinton says no, Obama should ignore him." As opposed to groveling or ignoring him totally.

I guess that's probably reasonable, but I think there's something to be said for letting Bill know that it's not his party anymore, and it's for the best that it isn't. He's been completely useless to the Democratic Party for the last eight years. He was an "elder statesman" (read: quiet as a churchmouse) while Bush was running the country into the ground, and then he suddenly became a petty hatchet man when it was his wife's turn to run.

Sure, he's still powerful enough so that it would be best for Obama not to make an outright enemy of him, but this notion of Klein's that he should call and "casually let slip" that he doesn't think Bill's a racist and make with the jokes seems like a more degrading exercise than is really necessary for him. He's probably going to be president with or without the full-throated support of Bill Clinton.

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