The other day I said on my radio show that it is imminently possible for articles of impeachment against the President to be drawn up, and that somewhere along the way Bill Clinton is going to be working covertly with House Republicans to make it happen. My rationale was that the longer Obama lingers in office, the worse Hillary’s 2016 presidential ambitions become. An e-mailer wrote me and admonished me for “reporting pure speculation as fact.” I was very clear that I was offering my opinion (that’s what talk show hosts do, after all), but since I’ve already been charged with speculating, permit me a few moments to continue.
Ed Klein’s new book “The Amateur” is about a President in over his head. As Klein makes his case, there are many interesting detours that he explores, including a purported deal that Obama and Clinton made prior to last year’s election: Clinton would give a rousing pro-Obama speech at the DNC convention (which, love him or hate him, he did), and in return Obama would endorse Hillary. Apparently (I’ve only read excerpts of the book and reviews as I write) once Obama won, he had second thoughts about endorsing Hillary, and finally agreed to that 60 Minutes interview where he and she seemed giddy as they sat beside each other answering Steve Croft’s Larry Kingesque questions.
That was then, though—before four scandals quickly turned what looked like a strong 2nd-term start for the President sour.
So…(warning: some undiluted speculation follows), let’s think this all the way through, starting with what we know. We know that Bill was urging Hillary to resign her post as Secretary of State and challenge Obama in a primary race, and that she refused; we know that President Clinton doesn’t think much of President Obama; and, again, we know that the effect of Obama’s scandals weighs most heavily on Hillary.
Why, then, would Bill hesitate to help the Republicans impeach the President? In Klein’s book Clinton is quoted as saying, “I’ve heard more from Bush, asking for my advice, than I’ve heard from Obama…I have no relationship with the president — none whatsoever.” As much as Clinton’s presidency has been romanticized by some conservatives given our current presidential predicament, we can’t forget that Bill, arguably more so than Barack, is a megalomaniac. He doesn’t like to be ignored (remember his insistence during his tenure in office that he was “still relevant?”).
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that a clear majority of Americans think that each of the scandals in which Team Obama is immersed damages the administration’s “overall honesty and integrity.” Yet his personal numbers, remarkably, continue to hold steady. Clinton’s conclusion, then, has to be that diminishing Obama, the man, is the most expedient route back to The White House.
SO (the last one), Bill is liable to take a behind-the-scenes lead on impeachment, given the probable reluctance of the part of House Republicans to move on it. The ex-President might even play to Obama’s passion—exponentially expanding government—and confront Obama by reminding him that he was impeached, but still served two terms. Perhaps Clinton will, when the time comes, make a compelling case that if Obama can weather impeachment, he’ll garner public sympathy. He might even become a martyr, Bill will argue, making it easier for him to sell anything, right down to the least palatable of new public programs.
Perhaps. Remember, I’m just speculating.