The other Clintonâ€™s legacy
Democrats were "mystified" that Bill Clinton would risk his legacy by "race-baiting" against Barack Obama, said Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post. But the truth is that he didn't change history the way Ronald Reagan did, and r
Bill Clinton has stopped criticizing his wife’s rival, Barack Obama, on the campaign trail since Hillary Clinton won the Florida primary on Tuesday. Instead, he is focusing on a straightforward pitch for votes on Super Tuesday next week. Many loyal Democrats had urged the former president to back off, saying that his attacks were dividing the party, and focusing attention on his political record instead of the qualifications of the candidates. (The New York Times, free registration)
What the commentators said
The Democratic faithful were “mystified” that their now-muzzled hero “would so jeopardize his legacy by stooping so low,” said Charles Krauthammer in The Washington Post (free registration). Especially after his “race-baiting performance in South Carolina,” where he suggested the heavily African American state only went for Obama because he is black. But the truth is that—unlike Ronald Reagan, who “changed history”—Clinton has no legacy, only celebrity, and he’s fighting to get back in the White House for a “second chance” at “historical vindication.”
Clinton doesn’t deserve the anger pointed his way, said Michael Kinsley in the Los Angeles Times (free registration). And Reagan doesn’t deserve all the “adoration” he's getting from Republican hopefuls. In fact, Clinton cut spending from 21.4% of GDP to 18.5%—three times as much as Reagan.” Maybe if the GOP is in the market for “an icon to worship, it might consider Bill Clinton.”
One thing is certain, said Joe Klein in Time.com. Bill Clinton isn’t going away. “There are no 12-step programs for political junkies,” and, for the former president, “there is no more powerful jones than grabbing an audience” and talking policy. So even if Bill has his “narcissism” in check temporarily, it is bound to surface again in the campaign, and, if Hillary is elected, in the White House. And that’s a problem: She seems “able to handle almost anything . . . except him.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
MOST POPULAR ON THE WEEK
- Chuck Hagel was a huge mistake
- Yes, the Obama administration's green loans are unprofitable. They should be.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 5 quick things you can do today to boost your creativity
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- Want to eliminate the scourge of frat culture? Lower the drinking age.
- What would it take for humans to build a settlement on Mars?
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- Why we gossip, according to science
- 13 vegetarian dishes for Thanksgiving
Subscribe to the Week