As if race and gender were not complications enough in this critical Presidential contest, we now have Bill Clinton stepping up to remind us of how devious and disruptive he can be.
For a year, he stayed dutifully in the background, but the man who can't help being Bill Clinton is now roiling his wife's campaign with the kind of hatchet work on her opponent that is normally done by an incumbent or aspiring Vice-President. In the process of Cheneying Barack Obama, he is outdoing Jimmy Carter in trashing the dignity expected of a former President.
It's dispiriting to see a former occupant of the Oval Office seeking absolution from Al Sharpton for parsing Obama's positions on the war in Iraq as a "fairy tale," the kind of attack usually assigned to a campaign chairman or anonymous aide like the one quoted as saying, "If you have a social need, you're with Hillary. If you want Obama to be your imaginary hip black friend and you're young and you have no social needs, then he's cool."
It's saddening to see the re-emergence of the man who used to be called Slick Willie in sliming Hillary's opponent while complaining about the "sanitizing" of Obama by the media.
Dignity has never been Bill Clinton's long suit and, under the pressure of Obama's surge, his panic is understandable. But it's a sad reminder to those who supported him of what comes with all that undeniable idealism and political savvy--a reckless need to get what he wants by seducing the world.
He dodged his own impeachment but, if he doesn't step back from the spotlight now, our problematic former President is going to wreck Hillary Clinton's chances for the nomination, let alone in a general campaign against someone with the unimpeachable character of John McCain.