Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Party Unity?

Why don't you tell us what you really think Bill?

Hmmm, you think Bill Clinton might have a bit of angst? Likening Obama as a politician to a Chicago thug is probably not going to do a lot for party unity.

I'd love to be able to believe its time to break out the popcorn and watch the blue blood flow through the halls of the DNC Convention tonight and tomorrow - figuratively speaking of course. Unfortunately, I have no doubts that we will hear nothing but professionalism from Hillary Clinton tonight. Bill Clinton is a bit of a different story. I doubt that he will be refering to Obama as a Chicago thug in primetime. But I could well see lukewarm praise for Obama.

This from a Politico article, Denver Drama, Can The Clintons Get Over It?

Hillary Rodham Clinton is over it — at least when people are watching.

. . . Bill Clinton is not over it. He’s trying, his associates say. He’s slowly getting to a better place. But his resentments from the bitter campaign battles of last winter and spring are many and diverse, and people who have spent time with him recently said they fester just below the surface.

For the next two days, a convention that belongs to Obama will be dominated by the same two people who dominated the Democratic Party for the last generation and who have come to Denver in much different roles than they wanted. She speaks Tuesday. It’s his turn Wednesday.

For the Clintons, the politics of the week are simple: Accept the cheers of the many Democrats who still support them, be lavish in their praise for Obama, make sure that if he loses no one can say it was because they were covertly rooting for that result.

But the psychology of the week is complicated. It requires them to muzzle what friends say are their deep and continuing doubts about Obama’s electability, qualifications and political character.

It also requires them to embrace a generational transition in which the Clintons — whose political personas once stood for youth and the excitement of change — are cast as sunset figures, two conventional politicians in their sixties being shoved aside by a charismatic young celebrity.

“They are both going to do what they have to do,” said one veteran of Bill Clinton’s White House who remains close to them. “That does not mean they will enjoy it.”

But Obama, too, is part of the Denver psychodrama. Some Democrats with high-level ties to both the Clinton and Obama camps said they were surprised that Obama has not done more to make the Clintons more enthusiastic about his candidacy.

Obama has taken the minimum public steps necessary to accommodate the Clintons, including giving them prime-time speaking spots.

But he has taken few of the extra steps that Clinton allies say would have gone miles toward fostering goodwill.

He did not work hard to help her retire her $24 million campaign debt.

He did not make a high-profile statement repudiating any suggestion that Bill Clinton played “the race card” in the nomination contest — an allegation that the former president considers grossly unfair and that continues to infuriate him.

Just as significant, Obama has maintained a certain cool diffidence toward the former president. They spoke by phone last week. But for weeks before that, associates said, Clinton had heard nothing and did not even know when he would be speaking at the convention. The Obama campaign’s only communication was a form letter sent to all delegates.

. . . The success of the healing effort will depend not just on what people say from the podium, but on how supporters in the Pepsi Center and in the national television audience react. This group includes high-level Democrats and people who were among the 18 million voters who backed Hillary Clinton in 2008.

“There is a group of Hillary people who are very angry, very upset,” a senior Clinton adviser said. “Some of it’s directed at the media. Very disappointed. You can’t control all those people. These are CEOs — some of them major, rich people.
. . . Few Clinton associates interviewed believed there was any doubt she would run for president again if Obama should lose. And the Clintons believe a Democratic loss is entirely possible. They no longer vocalize their beliefs that Obama has scant experience and faces huge problems connecting with lower-income whites and other key voting blocs. But the criticism they leveled last winter and spring — both publicly and more sharply in private conversations with top Democrats — were entirely sincere at the time, and have not gone away.

. . . [Bill Clinton] wants to return to the elder statesman role, friends said. But his own grievances from 2008 — toward the news media, and toward Obama — are an obstacle.

In public remarks over the years, Clinton has said many times that his biggest mistakes in life came when he was tired or angry. During his wife’s campaign, he was often both — sometimes with good reason, as he witnessed errors by his wife’s advisers or endured what even many media commentators have called a pro-Obama bias in news coverage.

Clinton several times became ill-tempered in public, called Obama’s anti-Iraq message a “fairy tale” and denounced a widely respected journalist as a “scumbag.” His tirades during daily campaign conference calls became so frequent that some of his wife’s strategists stopped getting on the phone.

. . . That’s why aides are sharply limiting access to him now, until he has more time to put his feelings about Obama into perspective. Both Clintons declined repeated interview requests from Politico.

Bill Clinton believes the Democratic nominee, far from practicing a unifying, transformational brand of politics, has the political instincts of “a Chicago thug,” one longtime associate said. Clinton has told people that Obama allowed surrogates to try to suppress Hispanic turnout in the Nevada caucuses, and played “the race card” in reverse against the Clintons in South Carolina and other states.

In a testy interview with ABC News during an Africa tour for his foundation a few weeks ago — one that convinced Clinton he should not give interviews for a while — he vowed that he would unload with his real feelings about the campaign after the general election: “I have very strong feelings about it.” . . .

Ah, come on Bill, let those feelings out. The PUMA folks want to hear what you have to say. You'll feel much better, and likely, so will we.


KG said...

beautiful! I just have to borrow that!

GW said...

Glad you like it. Borrow away.