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Jewish World Review March 8, 2004 / 15 Adar 5764

Steve Young

Steve Young
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Clinton on ticket? Possibly. but which one? | The talk show speculation on who John Kerry might bring on as vice presidential candidate has picked up steam. The conventional names bandied about: Edwards, Graham and, of course, Clinton. And while Hillary on the ticket may solidify the left AND the right to the love 'em or hate 'em electorate, it is not Hillary who could create the most interesting and media provoking vibe.

If Kerry and the Democrats really wants to fire up the constituencies and make my job easier, there is only one Clinton for the job...Bill.

Far-fetched? Perhaps. Legal? Absolutely.

The 22nd Amendment does not bar an ex-President, even a two-term President, from serving as Vice President. Nor does it bar a two-term ex-President from becoming President if the elected President is somehow unable to serve out his term.

The Republican Party will profess delight in taking on the Grand Old Party's all-time whipping boy and the Limbaugh-Hannity talk-radio apparatus need not break a sweat as they've never totally deleted the former President-bashing from their daily diatribes. Surely, they will attempt to make hay over the war-hero Kerry's inability to fight this fight without hiding behind the Democrat's hulking behemoth. The "Who Will Really Be President?" bumper stickers will be plastered across every gas-guzzling SUV and Wall Street desk.

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But while the Right might seek to put on a happy face, not far below the grin would sit the great fear that, once again, the Comeback Monster has risen from the ashes. A monster that knows how to take on the lambasting torches of the GOP villagers and win. Bill Clinton has always been the embodiment of "Bring It On," even if sometimes he brings it on himself.

Questions of character would be tossed like cookies on Times Square during New Years Eve, but Clinton has and will continue to hit those soft tosses out of the park.

Kerry would have to face questions concerning who will actually be the person to sit in the Oval Office, including the predictable ones questioning the identity of the person delivering the pizza. But instead of going to his cadre of consultants for the response, Kerry only need turn toward his running mate who will not only supply a snappy two hour haymaker but color it with storied experience with job increases, budget surpluses and personal income growth as he knocks every real or imagined attack aside with the ease of a Godzilla face off with a New York skyscraper.

Would there be worry that Kerry/Bubba ticket wouldn't be able to dodge the political bullet? Dodge it? Bill dares them to pull the trigger and when they do, rather than ducking the shot, he stands ecstatic and fixed in the line of fire, waiting patiently to snare the bullet in his teeth, spitting it back at the shooter at twice the velocity fired. Worried? Clinton would teach Kerry to face the partisan blasts with a ever-smiling "Thank you, sir. May I have another." And tell me it wouldn't be fun seeing one Viet Nam dodger facing off against another?

And while Vice President Cheney pops out of his secret administrative burrow with all the frequency of Punxsutawney Phil, Vice President Clinton would be ready and able to appear in front of the public 24/7 (an actual 24/7), allowing Kerry to do the work of the people. It's the two for one philosophy, but without Hillary, which might also make a terrific Democratic bumper sticker.

A Kerry/B. Clinton ticket could be Bush's worst nightmare. If only a fraction of Bubba's charisma, ease of speech and ability to take on every and any attack rubs off on the steady but colorless Kerry, expect a landslide victory for the Democrats and a guaranteed four years of grist for talk radio

Of course, after the inauguration, Kerry might want to make sure that he has the Secret Service pre-testing anything he's plans to eat or drink around his engaging and winsome VP. It's a small accommodation to be made when the prize is the White House. Ask Hillary.


JWR contributor Steve Young, Prism Award winner and Humanitas Prize nominee for his television writing, is film correspondent for BBC radio. He is the author of "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful: Mistakes, Adversity, Failure and Other Stepping Stones to Success," "The 130 Tales of Winchell Mink," Harper Collins (Winter, 2003) and the director/writer of "My Dinner With Ovitz." His website is Comment by clicking here.


© 2004, Steve Young