Will Bill Clinton Become the New Harry Truman?

As we let the Florida political ads wash over us, we also watched the stories about Bill Clinton attacking Barack Obama, trying to use the right code words to get those so inclined to vote against Obama for being black, for being unable to win, or just because Obama ain’t Hillary.

Bill had that fierce look he gets when he has his back pushed to the wall, much like the deposition where he popped off with “I didn’t have sex with that woman”…all righteous indignation and pointing finger.

Clinton never had a problem with going blast furnace hard against those who opposed him, but I wonder if his attacks will turn him into the new Harry Truman.

No, I don’t mean the Harry Truman who drew the line in Korea and called the Turnip Congress into special session or who stood up to striking steel workers.

I mean the Harry Truman of 1956.

Harry Truman could have run again in 1952, but saw he could not win-and as a loyal democratic got out of the way after almost eight years in the White House.  Truman came out for Governor Adlai Stevenson of Illinois, a gifted orator who won the nomination (in great part due to the Truman activity) then was trounced by Ike Eisenhower in the general election.

Four years later Stevenson wanted another shot at Ike, and campaigned for the nomination-this time facing and defeating Estes Kefauver in critical primaries.  Problem is Harry had decided that Adlai was a little to smart for his own good and would get whacked again-so Harry started pushing for Averril Harriman, Governor of NY.  Harry even traveled to the Democratic convention to blast Stevenson and push Harriman.

It was all for naught.  Adlai won the nod, and threw the VP choice open for the delegates to make.  Harriman did not get the second spot.

Truman became the crotchety figure the press went to for a comment damning the GOP, but he was no longer considered a serious player in party politics or policy.

Bill Clinton has filled the role of former president very well, and I think he diminishes himself by being the attack dog.  There are other folks who should be doing that for Hillary C.  Bill should be on the high ground, arguing that Hillary is the real change candidate…not that she necessarily is, but that is what he should be doing.

Dick Morris has many Newsmax.com screeds against the Clintons.  His drumbeat against them is so so constant that his postings should be counted as some kind of in-kind contribution to Barack Obama…but he called this one a month ago. Bill Clinton in partisan posture always runs second to Bill Clinton taking the high road.

I have to agree with him on this one, and I have a hunch that by the time this campaign is over Bill Clinton’s partisan posturing will remove much of the luster from his post presidential prestige.


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