“Over eight years, it was clear that Bill Clinton loved the job of the presidency,” recently remarked President Bush upon Clinton’s return to the Whitehouse to see his portrait unveiled. “He filled this house with energy and joy. He’s a man of enthusiasm and warmth, who could make a compelling case and effectively advance the causes that drew him to public service.”
Clinton responded with similar compassion. “The president, by his generous words to Hillary and me today, has proved once again that in the end, we are held together by this grand system of ours that permits us to debate and struggle and fight for what we believe is right.”
Kind words, no doubt. But is it possible that there is a deeper motivation than a common exchange of pleasantries? Let me posit Bill Clinton may purposely be undermining John Kerry’s presidential aspirations. The latest Pew Research polls suggest Bush is turning back up in the polls. Perhaps Clinton’s remarks have convinced some of the swing voters who respected Clinton but have questions about Kerry.
There is more. Speaking at the launch of his book tour, Clinton offered a defense of Bush, saying “You have to give Bush credit, because he’s just doing what he said he’d do during the campaign.” This hardly sounds like the standard liberal mantra of “Bush lied to the American public.”
Describing his upcoming 60 minutes interview with the former president, Dan Rather is quoted as saying Clinton was “supportive” of President Bush on Iraq and his view of Bush “will surprise some people.”
Assuming the election is down to the wire, consider the potential effect Clinton’s timely words and summer-long book tour might have on the Kerry team. Further, consider his motivation. Might he be keeping the door open for Hillary in 2008. As he is the consummate politician of our time, I wouldn’t put it past him.