Roger Simon at Politico:
Bill Clinton has to be the smartest guy in the room even when he’s not in the room.
Clinton is not on Barack Obama’s campaign staff, is not a trusted adviser, does not set Obama’s strategy.
But Bill Clinton is pretty good at sabotaging Obama’s strategy.
He did so last week when he went on television and said Mitt Romney had a “sterling” record while running Bain Capital.
The Obama message is exactly the opposite. The Obama campaign had just run a TV ad claiming that working Americans had been harmed by Bain Capital and included one man saying Bain had been a “vampire” that “sucked the blood out of us.”
Damn those divisive Clintons, saying nice things about people!
Now it gets piled higher and deeper:
Second, there is the little matter of the 2008 Democratic presidential campaign. Hillary Clinton was the early favorite, but she lost to Barack Obama and Bill Clinton helped her lose.
He made one of the biggest strategic mistakes of her entire campaign: He insisted she seriously compete in South Carolina. Hillary’s staff wanted to spend its time and resources elsewhere, judging that South Carolina, with its large black electorate, was unwinnable.
Funny, I remember the primaries really well, and I don’t remember any discussion that Obama was heavily favored to win South Carolina because he was black. I watched the returns coming in on MSNBC and nobody mentioned that Obama only won because he got 80% of the black vote in a state where blacks make up 55% of the Democratic voters. In fact, I’m pretty sure that even mentioning that fact would have been deemed racist.
SC was one of six early primaries/caucuses and the only officially sanctioned (by the DNC) primary in the South and the last before Super Tuesday. The decision to campaign there was made way before Obama emerged as the front runner.
But Bill felt that with his Southern roots and proven appeal to black voters, Hillary could beat Obama there. And Bill campaigned all-out. At Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., an angry, finger-wagging Bill had called Obama’s campaign a “fairy tale.” Jim Clyburn, a highly respected black congressman from South Carolina, felt insulted and publicly told Bill to “chill a little bit” and “tone it down.”
Angry, finger-wagging Bill? I don’t think so:
If you listen to what he actually said, The Big Dawg said that Obama’s repeatedly changing position on the war in Iraq was a fairy tale. He didn’t say anything about his campaign.
But Bill wouldn’t listen. And at a primary day rally in Columbia, S.C., he pooh-poohed Obama’s impending win by saying: “Jesse Jackson won South Carolina in ’84 and ’88,” meaning, in other words, that Obama’s South Carolina victory would be as insignificant for him as it was for Jackson.
This was widely viewed as racially insensitive. Jake Tapper of ABC News referred to it as “race-baiting.”
Let’s check instant replay again:
I didn’t hear anything untrue or offensive, did you?
But wait! There’s more!
Obama would crush Hillary Clinton in South Carolina by 28.9 percentage points, the first blowout of the primary campaign. African-Americans made up 55 percent of the voters, and 80 percent of them voted for Obama. “There was a recoil of people to Clinton tactics,” Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, told me.
A top Hillary staffer told me: “It was so dramatic a loss for us and so dramatic a win for him that it gave permission for Ted Kennedy and Caroline Kennedy and [then-Arizona Gov.] Janet Napolitano to say with a clear conscience, ‘We are going for him.’”
Wait a second, I thought SC was “unwinnable” in the first place? How did it turn into a dramatic loss? How did a statement made the same day as the primary cause such a huge effect?
I’m sure Roger Simon knows that Ted Kennedy was an early backer of Obama’s, but kept his support secret. Teddy was just waiting for an opportune time to announce his endorsement.
Simon should also be aware that playing the race card was a predetermined strategy of the Obama campaign. They dealt that card from the bottom of the deck.
Moreover, the South Carolina victory made it very difficult for superdelegates to go with Hillary without looking as if they wanted to deny a black man the nomination.
Koresh knows we wouldn’t want the superdelegates to go with the popular vote and pledged delegate leader. But how come they weren’t worried about looking as if they wanted to deny a woman the nomination?
Last but not least:
“As the campaign kicked off, there was a conscious effort to not have Bill out there,” Hillary’s campaign manager, Patti Solis Doyle, told me. “We used him strategically to raise money.”
The name Patti Solis Doyle will always live in infamy with Hillary supporters. It’s on the list right below Donna Brazile.
Bill Clinton is the only living two-term Democratic ex-POTUS. He is enormously popular with the Democratic voters who recall fondly the peace and prosperity of the Nineties. He is currently the second-most popular
Democrat politician in the country, behind only Hillary.
Patti Solis Doyle’s brilliant “hide Bill” strategy has a lot to do with why Obama was able to steal the nomination.
My Bullshit Meter gives Mr. Simon 5 steaming turds.