Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Which Clinton Is Running For President Anyway?

In what is quickly turning into a two-headed monster, the Clinton’s have developed a new strategy culled from their victories in New Hampshire and Nevada. The new strategy seems to be to run Bill Clinton for sub-President or assistant President. As I am writing this a crazy thought came to mind, can Bill Clinton be Hillary’s running mate? I have just dispatched our crack investigative team to research this and report back. You have to admit the strategy is brilliant, if not devious. You run a former popular two-term President in areas of his greatest strength against a one-term Senator who has never run a national campaign. Add to this strategy the constant refrain of “the first black” President and you have the possibility of black people voting for the black President that really isn’t black versus the guy who really is black. This could get confusing.

Mr. Clinton will be in South Carolina every day until the primary, often joined by his daughter, Chelsea, as he courts fellow Southerners and black voters. He also attended services on Monday at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s old congregation; Mr. Obama spoke there on Sunday.[1]

According to Mr. Obama and many pundits it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell which Clinton Mr. Obama is running against. While I admire the ferocity of Mr. Clinton’s advocacy of his wife, as an ex-President and current leader of the Democratic Party I must take umbrage with the tone of his underscoring the differences in the two candidates. While as an American he has the right to campaign for Ms. Clinton that right must be tempered with the fact of who he is and what he represents. Mr. Clinton it seems is beginning to have flashbacks of his own days on the campaign trail and rather than taking his cues from his wife’s campaign, he seems to be mounting his own campaign strategy for defeating Barack.

I can understand Mr. Obama’s current level of frustration, it is difficult to campaign against a former popular President who isn’t even running for office or is he? In what could be termed a non-violent coup Bill Clinton could be positioning himself to create a Constitutional challenge. Is there any doubt that Mr. Clinton would be able to exert undue influence on his wife and thus return us to his “glory days”. Does the country really want a retro parade down memory lane with the Clintons as Grand Marshals? I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but I have no desire to return to the past no matter how rosy it may now appear. The thing about trying to recapture the past is that you lose sight of the future. You become fossilized in an isolated moment in history, but the problem is that you have not been frozen in some cryogenics chamber so you are not the same as you were then. Because you are not the same you will not be able to experience it as you once did.

It’s like adults trying to go back and recreate their missed prom or other lost opportunities, they can never be recaptured. The reason they can never be recaptured is that you will never be that person again, you will never be 17 again. You can never re-experience those feelings of awkwardness, vulnerability, or anxiety. Bill Clinton is campaigning on the myth of returning to the past only with changes. You can’t have it both ways Mr. Clinton you can’t promise the past and promise change. If you change it, it won’t be the past.

According to my crack research staff, conceivably Bill Clinton could run for vice-President. According to the Constitution he could not be “elected” to the office of the Presidency, but it could be argued that it doesn’t mean he couldn’t “serve” in that capacity. So let’s say he runs as Hillary’s running-mate and they win and something should happen to Hillary he would not be barred per se from serving. The tricky part would be the interpretation of the 12th amendment which states that you cannot run for the office of vice-President, if you are constitutionally ineligible for the office of President. All of this of course would require an interpretation by the courts and with the current political leanings of the Court I wouldn’t bet on a friendly outcome for the Clintons.

While it is clear that under the Twelfth Amendment the original constitutional qualifications of age, citizenship, and residency apply to both the president and vice president, it is unclear if a two-term president could later be elected—or appointed—vice president. Some argue that the Twenty-second Amendment and Twelfth Amendment bar any two-term president from later serving as vice president as well as from succeeding to the presidency from any point in the United States Presidential line of succession. Others contend that while a two-term president is ineligible to be elected or appointed to the office of Vice President, he or she could succeed from a lower position in the line of succession which he or she is not excluded from holding. Others contend that the Twelfth Amendment concerns qualification for service, while the Twenty-second Amendment concerns qualifications for election. Neither theory has ever been tested, as no former president has ever sought the vice presidency, and thus, the courts have never had an opportunity to decide the question.[2]

So is Bill Clinton running for vice-President? I doubt it. But it’s like having Michael Jordan as your dad and being invited to play a dad and kid pickup game. He may go in with the intentions of going easy on the other teams, but once those old competitive juices get to flowing; look out other teams. Bill Clinton is a political junkie and a master politician he doesn’t know how to take it easy. You invite him into your campaign and you’ve opened Pandora’s Box. If it is his wife’s campaign you really got troubles now. I’m just glad Chelsea didn’t run for class president or something. Could you imagine the tactics Bill would have had her employ? Be careful Bill, were all family here.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/22/us/politics/22clinton.html
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-second_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution

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