Lefty hearts are fluttering over Bill Clinton's finger-wagging, fist-face tantrum on Fox television. Party boss Howard Dean, a noted rage-aholic, sees Clinton's fury as a model for "what Democrats need to do in this election."
Dean's approval is one way to know you're in trouble with moderate voters. Another way is to calculate who wins and loses with Clinton's outburst. My scorecard says Fox wins with top ratings and Bubba wins 'cause he loves getting headlines.
Hillary loses. Big time. So big, in fact, that I think she ought to finally kick the bum out.
Out of her campaign, that is.
Thanks to her iconic status as the first First Lady ever to hold elective office, Clinton's career isn't just a personal issue. Along with having the best chance a woman has ever had to be elected President goes a set of obligations. One of them is to run as her own person and not as an appendage.
I don't know whether she has the right stuff to be President. I do know she doesn't have a chance unless she gets out from under The Big Creep's shadow.
Given his political gifts and baggage, his shadow makes her look tiny and weak attributes that don't get you into the Oval Office during a war, except as a spouse.
To get there as President, she's got to move on her own steam, be the star of her own show. She never will be as long as he keeps stealing the show, for better and worse.
The Fox interview showed him at his worst. Asked a tough, fair question about his efforts as President to get Al Qaeda strongman Osama Bin Laden, Clinton erupted, accusing reporter Chris Wallace of having a "smirk" and doing a "conservative hit job" for Fox. The bizarre scene is the top political story of the week and clips of it light up the Internet.
It's a story with substantive legs, too, with the White House hitting back at Clinton's claim he did everything he could to get Bin Laden and that the Bushies ignored his warnings. In fact, neither team did its job, as 9/11 proved.
But the topic is worse for Democrats, who hope to win Congress by accusing Bush of mishandling the war on Islamic terror. The topic makes even less sense for Hillary's presidential ambitions. She has a growing closeness to Fox honcho Rupert Murdoch. And the cynical chatter that Bubba's outburst was planned reminds us that nothing with him is ever what it seems.
Her forced defense yesterday of his performance shows why she's usually better off when they're far apart. Let him throw red meat to Dem-only audiences, then go play golf with his rich groupies or make money on the speaking circuit. He can hang out in his library in Arkansas, where he has, of all things, a glass bedroom.
The glass room is a fascinating tidbit in a New Yorker magazine article by David Remnick. Apart from the portrait of the ex-President as a gabby global nomad, what emerges is a concern among Team Hillary about "the Bill factor." The fears cover everything from nasty surprises (read bimbo eruptions) to putting them on the same stage because he's a better speaker.
"It's very hard for her to establish herself in her own right," said former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley.
Ironically, Bubba himself persuaded me he has to get lost, for her sake. Asked by Remnick if he saw himself as a potential negative, Clinton said, "Only if people thought she wouldn't be her own person, and I don't think that will be a problem."
Apparently he'll be the last to know.