Hillary keeping Bill on a tight leash

Hillary Clinton’s campaign can’t ignore the former POTUS – after all, without his political career nobody would consider Hillary for a political job of any consequence (never forget that she was fired from the House Watergate Committee, her first independent foray into politics). Looking back on her political career, she has done best when exercising the least power. Hillarycare led to her retirement from the “co-presidency” and her career as a senator was undistinguished. The less said about the results of her reign as the nation’s top diplomat, the better. 

In fact, her only personal political triumphs came when she performed as the emotionally injured wife a cheating husband who stood by her man. There are few humiliations more profound for a feminist woman than being an adjunct to a male career. Hence the insatiable quest for the presidency -- a way to get out of the shadow of Bubba.

Bill Clinton, for his part, knows that a return ticket to the White House is his chance at revenge for impeachment, and not so incidentally, access to Air Force One, even bigger speaking fees, and a unique place in history, the president so great he got his personally grating, unattractive loser of a wife elected.

But Bill on his own is a wild card.  He is a fundamentally undisciplined soul, subject to legendarily uncontrollable appetites, and in constant need of approval from others. Out among the masses, he can be like Harpo Marx spotting a pretty girl walking by, pursuing mindlessly the shiny object that captured his attention. At his advanced age and physical health, those shiny objects are not solely carnal, they involve attention, notice, and comment. In short: Bill is a publicity hog.

He helped screw up Hillary’s 2008 campaign by playing a race card in South Carolina.  This time around, who knows what he will do?

Thus, Hillary’s campaign is keeping him in a tight leash. Lisa Lerer of the Associated Press writes about his appearance at a campaign rally in Keene, NH yesterday:

As Hillary Clinton fends off a rising challenge from Bernie Sanders, his wife's campaign aides are grappling with how best to deploy what she has described as her "not-so-secret weapon."

Their answer: very, very carefully.

During campaign swings through Iowa and New Hampshire, Bill Clinton treaded fastidiously through tightly controlled campaign events. A natural-born chit-chatter, he was not giving interviews. When he stopped to talk with reporters after one recent event, campaign aides turned up the music, making a conversation all but impossible.

Wow! That has got to drive Bill nuts. And it offers a chilling (for him)  preview of what could lie ahead in the event and unindicted Hillary goes on to win the presidency. Having his every move subject to overruling by Hillary. Even worse, having Hillary’s minions control his opportunity to be heard. I have to wonder if Bill really wants to help make that happen.

At least for the present, however, he is toeing the line:

His remarks to voters have been relatively subdued: long on history, statistics and nostalgia. He's dodged questions about Sanders and Republican front-runner Donald Trump, who's been baiting the Clinton family with comments about the former president's past sexual improprieties

"I'm not going there," Bill Clinton said on Wednesday, when asked about Sanders at a campaign event in New Hampshire. "I came here to tell people why I thought Hillary should be president and her ideas are better."

Stay tuned. The Clintons’ couple dynamics are complicated and intense. They can also be highly amusing on occasion.

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