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All Things B

January 27th, 2008 - 9:51 am

I’ve never seen a primary like this one. Nobody has. For the first time ever, the voters of a major party will choose either a black man or a white woman as their nominee. The dynamics of this race have never been seen before, and its ramifications will continue to be felt in the general election and long after. Everything has changed.

Well, almost everything. There is one great big constant in the Democratic Party. It’s Bill Clinton.

First up, skippy writes:

coming on the heels of obama’s decisive victory in so.carolina — coupled, in our opinion, with bill “someone get me an intern” clinton’s recent boorish behavior, this endorsement should propel sen. obama into some serious victories come super tuesday.

we are tempted to write “perhaps even the nomination,” but we don’t count the clintons out just yet.

That last part seems wise, especially for folks like me who remain a tiny bit sympathetic to Obama. I’d probably rather have an honest liberal in the White House than a faux conservative, or, in Hillary’s case, a faux everything.

Over at CBS, Vaughn Ververs has this to say:

By injecting himself into the Democratic primary campaign with a series of inflammatory and negative statements, Bill Clinton may have helped his wife’s presidential hopes in the long term but at the cost of his reputation with a group of voters that have long been one of his strongest bases of political support…

The rout came after weeks of racial polarization, much of it involving the former president, who thrust himself into the fray in a manner more reminiscent of backwoods Arkansas politicking than conduct befitting a former commander in chief.

Frank Rich, Patient Zero of Bush Derangement Syndrome, thinks Bill isn’t just hurting Hillary, he’s helping the Republicans in the general election:

What has gone unspoken is this: Up until this moment, Hillary has successfully deflected rough questions about Bill by saying, “I’m running on my own” or, as she snapped at Barack Obama in the last debate, “Well, I’m here; he’s not.” This sleight of hand became officially inoperative once her husband became a co-candidate, even to the point of taking over entirely when she vacated South Carolina last week. With “two for the price of one” back as the unabashed modus operandi, both Clintons are in play.

Rich goes on to say, “People don’t change. Bill Clinton, having always lived on the edge, is back on the precipice.”

TalkLeft, where Jeralyn Merritt and “Big Tent Democrat” seem to be pretty much in the Hillary camp, nevertheless link approvingly to this Josh Marshall piece:

I agree with what TPM Reader JD said last night that, in effect, Bill Clinton holds a de facto office within the Democratic party. And what he’s been doing amounts to an abuse of office. He has come into a primary process between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and used his unique power to jam his thumb down on one side of the scale in a way that I think is very difficult for anyone to overcome.

Newsweek’s Evan Thomas and Suzanne Smalley chime in, too:

In his rope-line interview with NEWSWEEK, Clinton shrugged off the bickering as standard politics. “That’s what elections are about,” he said. “That’s not disrespectful.” One Clinton campaign adviser, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the subject, says Bill Clinton’s attacks on Obama have not been premeditated or strategic. This adviser did say that the Clinton camp has some concern that the former president’s outbursts in the media could hurt the campaign. “I think you’ll see him dial it back,” says the adviser. But “he’s hard to control.”

All over your TV, the news sites, and the blogs, you’ll see the same two words over and over again — “Bill Clinton.” I’ve barely skimmed the surface here. Somehow, the tightest, most exciting Democratic primary season since at least 1968 has become All About Bill. How does he do it?

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