Bill Clinton — from savior to potential scapegoat in less than two months

If President Obama loses this election, the Democrats will need a scapegoat. The obvious scapegoat would be Obama himself. But he’s been getting free passes all of his life, and the left-liberals who comprise the Democratic mainstream will think long and hard about holding him accountable now. For one thing, he’s manifestly one of them. For another, he’s African-American.

Accordingly, the need for a different scapegoat would arise. That scapegoat would have to be someone significant enough to be plausible in the role and someone not strongly associated with the Party’s left-liberal faction. Someone like Bill Clinton…

If this sounds far-fetched — after all, Clinton helped confer upon Obama a Convention bounce — consider this piece by Matt Bai of the New York Times. Bai blames Clinton for persuading Team Obama to adopt the strategy of portraying Romney as a conservative monster instead of a flip-flopper. That strategy worked well for months, as Bai acknowledges, but seemed to backfire when Romney declined to play his assigned role during the debates. So Bai speculates that painting Romney as a flip-flopper was the better option.

There are two problems with trying to blame Clinton for Obama’s current problem through such reasoning. The first is obvious — Obama controls his campaign and is responsible for its decisions. Clinton only made suggestions; Obama made the calls.

Bai tries to talk his way around this problem by citing Clinton’s stature. How, he asks, could Obama brush aside advice from a politician with Clinton’s record of success?

But Obama beat the Clintons in 2008, even though they held what looked like a winning hand. The notion that Obama felt cowed by Bill Clinton is silly. If Obama and his advisers accepted the former president’s advice, it could only have been that they agreed with it.

Which leads to my second point — Clinton’s advice was reasonable and probably correct. By following it, Team Obama nearly accomplished its stated goal of “killing” Romney.

To be sure, Romney came roaring back thanks to the first debate. But this was mostly because he was sharper than Obama, not because he abandoned conservatism, as Bai and his fellow leftists like to believe. Romney was more energetic and focused than Obama, and he pointedly attacked Obama’s record, which anyone in the president’s position would have had great difficulty defending.

Let’s suppose that Obama had never tried to paint Romney as a horrid reactionary, and instead had focused on his flip-flops, real and imagined. The net effect likely would have been to give Romney an edge with moderates and swing voters right off the bat…


via Power Line

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