The Unmaking of the President
Pejman Yousefzadeh spots Bill Clinton at the presidential podium on Friday and waxing nostalgic for the seemingly carefree days of the mid-1990s, begins to hum a slightly paraphrase version of Clinton's signature 1991 campaign song, “Don’t Stop Thinking About . . . Yesterday?”
OK, let’s do just that, because with Bill’s return to center stage, we can now place the 2008 campaign and the first year of the Obama presidency into a certain amount of perspective.
Then: Obama’s speeches "enmesh you in a grander moment, as if history has stopped flowing passively by, and, just for an instant, contracted around you, made you aware of its presence, and your role in it. "
NOW: Obama’s problem: Not enough “theatrics,” Eleanor Clift of Newsweek claims.
Rock star momentum is tough to recapture when the Zeitgeist passes you by.
Then: Bill and Hillary and even the Democratic voters who supported them are smeared as racists by fellow Democrats because they’re not the Messiah.
Then: Obama's “WhiteHouse.gov Plays Media Critic: Calls Krauthammer’s Washington Post Column ‘Wholly Inaccurate.’”
NOW: "During his impromptu press conference in the White House briefing room Friday, former President Bill Clinton favorably referred to comments Charles Krauthammer made at the Washington Post earlier in the day."
Then: Joe Biden seen as example of Seinfeldian opposite theory, akin to George Costanza in the New York Yankees' front office, a comparatively plodding backbencher tapped to join a political juggernaut.
NOW: Joe Biden seen as example of Seinfeldian opposite theory, the comparatively grown-up voice of sanity and reason in an otherwise hapless trainwreck of an administration. (Update: And whose role in said administration may be growing.)
Then: "We Are All Socialists Now," Newsweek declares, as Obama takes office.
NOW: What are you, trapped in 1935? Walter Russell Mead replies.
Then: Faced with global financial crisis, John McCain puts his campaign on hold, never recovers momentum.
NOW: Faced with personal existential crisis, Barack Obama puts his presidency on hold, never...
…Well, we’ll know soon enough how this one works out.
Then: Former Air America hostess Randi Rhodes disgustingly refers to Hillary as a “big f***ing whore.”
NOW: Bill Clinton remains one serious media whore, as Pejman writes:
I don’t imagine that Bill Clinton would shed a lot of tears in the event that Barack Obama lost in 2012, except, perhaps, to the extent that such a loss might prematurely end his wife’s own public service career. But that’s no excuse for engaging in a public relations exercise with the ostensible motive of helping President Obama on Capitol Hill, but which (and let’s not pretend that Bill Clinton didn’t know this) had the effect of making Bill Clinton look titanic, and made Barack Obama look small. When the two of them shared the same stage, it was easy to forget that President Obama was even there, as Bill Clinton held forth. A former President ought not to make a successor look so bad in public, especially when that successor is of the former President’s own party.
Payback is a Hillary, Barry.
Speaking of which:
Then: Obama K.O.s Hillary during December 2007 debate:
The atmosphere tensed up briefly when Obama was asked what new foreign policies he could offer with a staff of so many ex-Clinton advisers.
Read the exchange from AP:Hillary Clinton laughed out loud, and said with a smile on her face, "I'm looking forward to hearing that."
Obama, also smiling, waited for the laughter to die down before saying, "Hillary, I'm looking forward to you advising me as well."
NOW: "Obama Names Bill Clinton to Presidential Post," as life finally catches up with a remarkably prescient Iowahawk.