My headline is unfair to Bill Clinton, who is usually a tremendous asset to his wife’s campaigns. Bill is that once-in-generation combination of instincts and wonkery, in exactly the way Hillary isn’t. Still, his appetites do cause trouble:
Mr. Clinton is hungering once again to play a central role in his wife’s presidential campaign. And Hillary Rodham Clinton’s advisers are once again grappling with how to deploy Mr. Clinton, a strategic imperative that was executed so poorly in 2008 that it resulted in some of the worst moments of her campaign.
In that race, the former president was at times a frustrated and unpredictable presence, operating on his own, calling up some of his wife’s aides to second-guess strategy and shifting the news media’s focus from her to him with stray remarks, such as when he set off African-American anger by diminishing Barack Obama’s success in South Carolina.
This time, advisers and political associates say both Clintons understand how critical it is to harness both the rare gifts and rash impulses of a former president on behalf of a potential one.
That’s the gist of a sharp NYT writeup by Patrick Healy and Amy Chozick, but Hillary’s real Bill Problem might be right in the lede:
Bill Clinton’s hearing has faded. With his head of white hair and frail frame, he looks older than his 68 years — “truly grandfatherly,” as one friend said. He often jokes about what would happen if he were to “drop dead.”
In 2008, Barack Obama’s appeal spread far and wide past his “natural” base of African Americans and overly-credentialed progressives. He was young, he was hip, he was the furthest thing from “truly grandfatherly” anyone could imagine. He looked younger than his 47 years.
Hillary struggles to appeal outside of her natural base, which near as I can tell consists of not much more than women of a certain age and Arab oil interests. The progressives don’t trust her, the anti-war left thinks even less of her, and Bill might hurt her with younger women.
I know the press doesn’t like to talk about it, but that “truly grandfatherly” former president is the same guy who was getting blow jobs from an intern half his age, and can still be spotted — let us put this gently — hanging around with scantily-dressed women who are now a third of his age. Other than the kind of women who don’t mind “giving their body for the cause,” the reaction to Bill Clinton of most younger female bodies might best be described as “ew ew ew ew ew ew ew.”
That’s not to say Hillary won’t win a majority of single female voters; in fact, I’m sure she will. But they won’t be turning out in the same droves they did for Obama in 2008 and 2012, either — and a part of that is certainly due to the aging former White House Blow Job King.