Bill Clinton has been busy. You really have to watch that guy, because he thinks he is the Isaac Newton of politics, and he suggests as much in his autobiography. There is this reference to the Clinton's Laws Of Politics. One of them is, elections are always about the future. And that particular law works in Obama's favor. It does not matter that Bill Clinton was an amazing president, that is in the past. 2008 is not going to be about how fabulous a president Bill Clinton was.
How does Bill Clinton get busy? The guy will plain pick up the phone, likely late at night.And he will call up some obscure reporter at some major media outlet, someone he has not talked in a long time. Hey, how you doing? Just thinking about you. How is your wife? How are your children? And so you know this is off the record. This is informal. And then he will dig in. You know, I don't understand why you media guys are not seeing this. Barack Obama and my wife have the exact same voting record on Iraq ever since Obama came over to the Senate. This is so unfair that you guys pillory my wife over Iraq. And then he will move on to talk about golf. The work is done. When that reporter next writes up his piece, what is on his mind has been put on his mind by none other than the magic boy from Arkansas, the one and only Bill Clinton. And there is not a trace of him doing it anywhere.
Bill Clinton has been very busy. Iraq is the biggest weapon Obama has on Hillary, and Bill Clinton is out to erase that. He wants to make Iraq null and void. Some time late last year, some hapless voter in Texas asked Billie Clinton about his wife's vote on the Iraq war. And Bill Clinton just glowered at him for a few seconds before he said with some emotion that he thought it was time to stop looking at the past and start looking at the future.
And the future looks identical. Obama wants to end the war, so does Hillary. Obama is promising universal health care, so is Hillary. And those are the two big ones.
How you run your campaign counts. Who raises more money matters. Who has a larger, more robut organization? Who has the larger brain trust? Who has the most endorsements?
Bill Clinton works like a demon, he always has. He works like a demon, and he makes it look all so easy and casual. And that is actually a double whammy, more effective than if it showed that he was sweating.
If Hillary is going to be the nominee, she is going to be president. It will be this or that Democrat in 2008. That much is a foregone conclusion. McCain and Rudy will tear each other apart, and we will have the last man standing for breakfast. And that makes me wonder if we should not treat Fox News as our real opponent for 2008. As in, let new media beat Fox.
If Hillary ends up president, I am not going to beat my chest. I think the world of her. I was as behind her before Obama showed up as I am behind Obama. My favorite story about Hillary is this. She shows up in some small Indian village as First Lady. And the local women surround her to tell her she has no idea what it means to them that she is there. Those women are right. Hillary has no idea.
I have met her a few times in person.
But I have thrown my weight behind Obama. It is exciting to play shadow boxing with the man himself, the one and only Bill Clinton.
It is perfectly legitimate for Hillary to have Bill Clinton for husband. It is fair game. And of course the guy will turn heaven and earth for his wife. That is fair enough. It is absolutely fair that Hillary will raise a lot of money. It is absolutely fair that Hillary has much establishment support.
I guess there are no short cuts.
Obama will have to get in and work hard. He is going to have to go head to head with Hillary on money, message and organization.
He has to jump into the fray. The Hillary camp has already found and targeted Obama's Iraq. Where is Obama's counterpunch? What would be Obama's counterpunch?
Obama's Iraq is that he is not a woman. If he is elected president, he is not going to be the first woman president. That is his weak point.
How do you counter that? You outwoman Hillary. You suggest having a woman for running mate would be great at this point in history. You suggest about half your cabinet will be female. You suggest Hillary has been mostly symbolic, she has not really done much for women as a leader with much power. You expand the policy debates on gender beyond the prochoice position to also talk about workplace issues like equal pay, and sexual harassment, and relationship issues like domestic violence and better policing on the same. It might be time to declare War On Domestic Violence. Talk of recruiting more women into the police force so as to better tackle domestic violence. That is how you outwoman Hillary. Tell the voters she has been meek on gender issues. She has not really stood up for women, has she? I mean she has, but she has been so miserly about it.
Obama has got to get on the offensive. He got hit on Iraq by none other than Bill Clinton himself very recently, and he did not even notice. It is like John Kerry's boat veterans' attacks. The attacks were false, but they worked because Kerry did not hit back.
You got to hit back. That is one of the basic laws of politics. You don't have to get down and dirty. Staying clean and hitting back are not mutually exclusive.
Those who stay above the fray lose. Politics is a contact sport. Who said that? Bill Clinton.
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