During the 2008 Democratic primary race, Hillary Clinton famously asked who we wanted answering that phone at 3 in the morning when some crisis was in progress.
Saturday Night Live took it a step further and suggested that should Barack Obama get elected, he would be making a 3am phone call to “Senator Clinton” (who knew she’d wind up Secretary of State?) to bail him out of a jam.Vodpod videos no longer available.
I’m sure if Aaron Sorkin had the chance, he would have further twisted the scenario into some sort of “West Wing” TV movie sequel. Here the scene is that Bobby Jones, the first black President has just struck a deal with the opposition party that has everyone popping blood vessels. Bobby’s own party hates him. The opposition realizes how much they gave away and they hate him … heck they hate him anyway. So during a press briefing, Bobby shows up with former President Josiah Bartlett, played by Martin Sheen. Bartlett brings order to chaos and a trembling nation is put at ease. This kind of preposterous plot twist of a sitting President bringing a former President into the press room and then leaving him there to take questions could only happen in a sensationalized fictional story. Right?
Wrong. I’m sad to say, wrong. This Friday, President Barack Obama walked into the White House press briefing room with former President Bill Clinton by his side. After some brief banter, Obama announced he could no longer keep the First Lady waiting (at a staff holiday gathering) and he left the room. Clinton followed him out the door …. eh, no. Clinton stayed behind and talked to the press. Junior left Big Daddy to take care of things.
Watching Obama stand there while Clinton pontificated was embarrassing enough. Seeing him leave the press in Clinton’s hands just made matters ten times worse. If one had awakened from a nine year coma just after Obama left the room, one would have thought it was just another presser with President Clinton. Imagine the surprise of the just-out-of-coma patient when you tell him, no actually it’s been nine years, Clinton is no longer President but the current President feels so ill equipped to handle the current political backlash that he has called in Clinton as reinforcement. It’s enough to send a man back into a coma.
Sorry my friends but it’s time to play the race card. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. What doubly burns me up about this is the racial message this sends to those with messed up antennae. Here is a black man being bailed out by the competent white man. The black apprentice, not really ready for the job, watching with admiration as his white superior takes over. I know Obama believes he and the country are beyond race but that is pure bull crap. The optics of this racially were deadly. The optics of this outside of race were equally deadly. Who is leading the frigging country?
This has been a horrible week for Barack Obama. He struck what was probably the best deal he could strike with the Republicans. Then, allowing his ego to take over, he lashed out at his own party and then likened the opposition party to hostage-takers. He has lost control of the narrative. He is just another participant in the political circus.
Back in 2008 I had a good laugh at the SNL skit. Although I was a staunch Obama supporter, I had to acknowledge the ad was clever, capturing both Obama’s rock star image and Hillary’s over confident self assessment. I would never have believed that if we fast forwarded two years that Obama would indeed be calling in help from a Clinton in such an obvious and embarrassing way.
This time, it wasn’t Hillary. It was Bubba.