Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Incredibly Shrinking Former President

Day by day, Bill Clinton is inducing more nostalgia for Ronald Reagan, whose post-presidency was a dignified retreat into Alzheimer's and public silence.

As Hillary and Barack do their reconciliation dance in New Hampshire, here is the former Leader of the Free World having a temper tantrum in London, telling friends that Obama will "have to kiss my ass" to get his support for the campaign.

This charming image evokes memories of previous anatomical inappropriateness on the part of the man for whom bands used to play "Hail to the Chief" but is now, in the words of Maureen Dowd, "in a self-pitying meltdown about not being Elvis anymore, trying to shake down Obama for more--more apologies for perceived snubs and more help paying off the $22 million Clinton debt."

Even Joe Klein, who must have thought he was telling the worst about the pre-presidential Clinton in "Primary Colors," seems taken aback.

"It's time for him to get over it," Klein says "or go off and do his charitable work. He knows the rules of the road. What's going on now is kind of strange. I think his behavior is really, really shocking."

In the 2000 campaign, Al Gore was criticized for keeping Bill Clinton in the closet. At the rate the former President's stature is shrinking these days, Barack Obama would be well-advised to try to keep him out of the continent.

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