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Excuse-Mongering at the New York Times

October 26th, 2012 - 9:07 am

If Obama loses? Matt Bai says blame Bush Clinton! And not Hillary, either:

In these final weeks before the election, Mr. Clinton’s expert advice about how to beat Mitt Romney is starting to look suspect.

You may recall that last spring, just after Mr. Romney locked up the Republican nomination, Mr. Obama’s team abruptly switched its strategy for how to define him. Up to then, the White House had been portraying Mr. Romney much as George W. Bush had gone after John Kerry in 2004 – as inauthentic and inconstant, a soulless climber who would say anything to get the job.

But it was Mr. Clinton who forcefully argued to Mr. Obama’s aides that the campaign had it wrong. The best way to go after Mr. Romney, the former president said, was to publicly grant that he was the “severe conservative” he claimed to be, and then hang that unpopular ideology around his neck.

In other words, Mr. Clinton counseled that independent voters might forgive Mr. Romney for having said whatever he had to say to win his party’s nomination, but they would be far more reluctant to vote for him if they thought they were getting the third term of George W. Bush.

Let’s get something straight. Bill Clinton is the best the Democrats have. He’s the first two-full-terms Democrat since FDR. He’s the first not-a-miserable-failure Democrat since JFK — and Kennedy’s only term was cut brutally short. Clinton was a pretty good president and possibly the finest pure politicker of the late 20th Century. And he’s for sure the best politicker of the 21st.

So if the petulant, overrated, not-messiah who presided over the worst recovery since Truman ditched FDR’s New Deal demagoguery wants to know why he’s losing, he ought to look in the damn mirror. And for this once, without preening.

The question remains: Did the White House pitch this story at Bai, or is it his own analysis? If it’s the latter, then I’d love to get a feel of the prematurely (?) dejected vibe at the NYT. And if it’s the former, I might just laugh myself into a coma.

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