In her memorable post-mortem of the 2000 Gore campaign, "Scenes from a Marriage," the late Marjorie Williams explored the deep rift that had emerged between Al Gore and Bill Clinton and the bitter finger-pointing between their two camps regarding who was to blame for the loss. "The Gore side," Williams wrote, "argues that Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky cost Gore the election, and that Clinton compounded his sins with obstructive complaints about the competence of Gore's campaign. The Clinton side argues that Gore bungled a simple campaign he should have won--and, in sidelining Clinton for the duration, showed wretched disloyalty in the bargain." (The piece can be found in Williams's collection The Woman at the Washington Zoo, which belongs on the shelf of anyone interested in Washington or fine writing in general.)

It's still early, of course, but in the Karen Tumulty piece Mike linked to earlier there are signs that an eerily similar cycle of blame may be emerging between Bill and some of those responsible for running Hillary's presidential campaign, with the Hillarylanders (like Gore) pointing at Bill's vanity and lack of self-restraint and Bill, in turn, questioning their political competence and failure to keep him involved. 

The first half of this equation is not new--following his remarks after South Carolina, any number of observers accused Bill of being reckless and destructive--but Tumulty gets a couple of Clinton insiders to endorse this view rather forcefully (though, of course, off the record): 

"I think he just did her such damage," says a friend and supporter, expressing a sentiment that many feel privately. "They'll never see it that way, because they can't. And he has no self-knowledge. This has magnified all his worst traits."...

Nowhere did it get worse than in South Carolina. A Clinton campaign official says Bill "hijacked the candidacy in South Carolina. It was appalling to watch it."

And then there's Bill's counter-complaint that Hillary's campaign has been incompetent and has not taken appropriate advantage of his own political skills:

[H]e is appalled, friends and aides say, by what he has privately described as "political malpractice" by Hillary's campaign. It spent money with abandon in the earliest primaries and assumed that the race would not last past Super Tuesday, on Feb. 5 — and failed to prepare for any of the states that followed. Two weeks before the Texas primary, Bill Clinton telephoned Waco insurance mogul and philanthropist Bernard Rapoport, a friend and backer since the 1970s. Rapoport told Clinton that this was the first contact he had had from anyone on the campaign. "He was madder than mad," Rapoport says. "He was right. There was so much we could have done, but we never heard from anyone at headquarters."...

[Bill] deferred to [Hillary's] team and its pseudo-incumbency strategy throughout the fall, friends say, even though his instincts told him that Obama was gaining steam and should be dealt with as a threat. When Bill visited Hillary's Des Moines campaign headquarters a few days before the Iowa caucuses to give a pep talk to her young volunteers, her then campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle didn't come out of her office. Those who were there saw it as an unmistakable snub and an assertion of who was in charge.

Again, it's early, and if the Clinton campaign somehow regains its footing, these internal wounds will heal themselves. But if Hillary Clinton doesn't find a way to win the primary, expect to see a lot more of this kind of finger-pointing.

--Christopher Orr

Update: I initially said it was Noam, not Mike, who'd linked to the Tumulty piece, an error since corrected.