Tina K. Russell

April 25, 2008

On Liabilities

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 4:11 pm

I never thought I’d say this, but Bill Clinton is starting to sound like Stephen Colbert… in character.

President Bill Clinton says the Obama campaign “played the race card” on him « Y-Decide 2008 (via Political Wire)

“I think that they played the race card on me. We now know, from memos from the campaign that they planned to do it along.” – President Bill Clinton.

And that’s how President Clinton begins his answer to WHYY’s Susan Phillips who, during a phone interview earlier this evening, asked the President how he feels about one Philadelphia official who says she switched her support after interpreting Clinton’s remarks in South Carolina as an attempt to marginalize Obama as “the black candidate.”

Clinton goes on to say that “you have to really go some to play the race card on me.” He lists a number of his accomplishments on behalf of people of color, inexplicably putting the fact that he has “an office in Harlem” at the top of the list.

Clearly, Clinton seems clearly frustrated by the question or the suggestion by anyone – either the reporter or the Philadelphia official whom she quoted – that he was somehow making a negative statement about Obama (or Jesse Jackson) based on their race. His frustration comes through towards the end of the recording when, apparently unaware that he was still on the line, Clinton asks whoever is with him, “I don’t think I should take any shit from anybody on that, do you?

Holy living–! I don’t want to watch this any more! Bill Clinton has clearly gone from “savvy politician” to “slow-motion train wreck.” I think he feels bad–from my armchair psychologist perspective–that he’s been such a drag on his wife’s campaign and knows no other reaction than to try and compensate, and instead, make it worse.

Would you please stop, Bill? This is painful. You used to have real trust with communities of color, and you’ve thrown it all away. I mean, I want Barack to win, but it hurts when the opponent is being marginalized by an out-of-control spouse. It all seems like a bad sitcom.

Part of the problem with Hillary’s bid for the presidency is that Bill’s campaign was promoted as a “two-for-one deal,” with two remarkable public servants running for the White House. I can’t help but feel–particularly when Bill fails to shut his yap–that it’s all an underhanded, Kirchner-style switcheroo. Bill is undermining Hillary’s image as a calm, measured hand on the Presidential phone, and giving us nightmares of a man who cannot handle his wife running a campaign alone, much less running a Presidency alone.

That’s really an unfair statement; Hillary needs to be judged as her own woman, not as some kind of counterpart to Bill. There is, of course, a fair amount of sexism inherent in the media’s fascination with her husband (as opposed to, say, Michelle Obama, who has gaffed before, but never with Clintonian gusto), as well as with Hillary’s campaign narrative that she has sixteen years of executive experience through osmosis.

Hillary’s her own woman; she’s not an extension of her husband. Unfortunately, the two people most responsible for undermining that message are Bill and Hillary.

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