When asked by ABC News last week whether Barack Obama was ready to be president, Bill Clinton answered that, well, no one is ever really ready to be president. (As Jon Stewart helpfully reminded his audience last night, the former president, in his notorious interview with Charlie Rose last December, had praised Joe Biden and other rivals of his wife for unquestionably being prepared to become commander-in-chief). Meanwhile, a few days prior to her husband's none-too-generous words for the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton met with supporters in California. The Washington Post, in a front page piece today, reports the following:
Exactly what the formal nominating process will look like at the convention remains an open question. Last week, Hillary Clinton told supporters in a meeting in Palo Alto, Calif., posted on YouTube, that she was looking for a "strategy" to keep the peace and that sometimes a "catharsis" is necessary. Her comments were read by some as suggesting that the process could require a roll-call vote that would enumerate her supporters, even though she would still lose the nomination.
"The best way I think to do that is to have a strategy so that my delegates feel like they've had a role and that their legitimacy has been validated," she said.
"It's as old as Greek drama," Clinton said. "There's a catharsis. Everybody comes, and they want to yell and scream and have their opportunity, and I think that's all to the good."
Yes, Greek drama just seems to trail the Clintons everywhere they go. How unlucky for them! And the second paragraph excerpted above suggests that Senator Clinton sees her supporters as in danger of becoming--yes--disrespected or victimized. Yet, as both the WaPo and a separate New York Times story today explain, the Obama campaign has offered Bill Clinton the honor of speaking on Wednesday night, the same night that Obama's vice presidential selection will speak.
Fine, you might be thinking, because who cares when Bill Clinton gives a speech? Indeed, the fact that his statement about Obama's readiness seems to have been ignored by most people must count as a sign that after the long primary campaign, no one much cares what the former president has to say, especially if it concerns his wife or Barack Obama. But it is still irksome that in the name of "unity" everyone but the Clintons has to act like adults. And Bill, particularly, gets rewarded the more he misbehaves because of the correspondingly larger need for solidarity. What a neat trick.
P.S. Stay tuned for Josh Green's Atlantic piece next week, which will make Bill-favorite Mark Penn look less than classy.