The Bill Problem Posted by: Dale Franks
on Thursday, November 15, 2007
David Broder takes a look at Bill Clinton's intervention in Hillary's campaign to defend her in the aftermath of the debate fiasco. He writes that this points out the one problem her campaign has in terms of the type presidency Ms. Clinton would preside over when her husband is still vital and engaged.
The former president's intervention — volunteered during a campaign appearance on her behalf in South Carolina — raised the second, and largely unspoken, issue identified by my friend from the Clinton administration: the two-headed campaign and the prospect of a dual presidency.
In his view, which I share, this is a prospect that will test the tolerance of the American people far more severely than the possibility of the first female president — or, for that matter, the first black president.
As my friend says, "there is nothing in American constitutional or political theory to account for the role of a former president, still energetic and active and full of ideas, occupying the White House with the current president."
Ms. Clinton, whatever her strengths may be, simply do not approach those of her husband. No doubt he would be a great help to her. But in what capacity? We're just beginning to close the book on a chapter in history in which the Vice President held an unusual amount of delegated power. Are we now looking towards an era when an unelected individual—albeit a former president—is delegated similarly important responsibilities?
Whatever you think the answers may be, a 2nd Clinton presidency would open some fascinating new ground.