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Bill's Breakdown

This article by Tim Shipman and Philip Sherwell in the (London) Daily Telegraph was published just hours before Bill Clinton deigned to talk with Barack Obama on the phone. The dispatch reports that the imperial president had insisted to others that Obama would have to "kiss my ass" to win his support in the election.

Of course, he probably didn't since Obama does not take insults as graciously as he does disagreements. Moreover, Clinton is smart enough to know that Hillary's political future is now very much in distress. And his own future very much depends on hers. After all, judging from her endorsements by senators, she is not very much liked by her colleagues in the upper house.

In fact, when she entered the senate, she expected to be treated as if she were New York's senior senator, and she certainly behaved like that. But Chuck Schumer (my old student and good friend) was the really senior senator. While things have not been going Hillary's way they have very much been going his. His book, which he DID write himself, was an intellectual and commercial success. (See my Cambridge Diarist about it.) He has been calling the extended sub-prime calamity exactly right, right politically and right morally. What's more, he is the very successful chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the chief fundraiser on behalf of Democratic senatorial candidates. To the extent that the Democratic margin in the Senate grows it will be much credited to Chuck.

Back to Bill: his behavior during the primaries ticked many Democrats off, including Hillary supporters, to say nothing of Obama's enthusiasts. The former president has now become something of a laughingstock, and his destructive behavior made some folk wonder whether, deep inside his shallow heart, he really wanted Hillary to win.

I recall after the election in 2000 many Monday morning quarterbacks -- forgive the clich