Savior or Saboteur?
By MAUREEN DOWD
Published: December 23, 2007
Maureen Dowd returns to what she does best, Billary bashing. She claims to be reluctant to draw from this well again.C'est moi! C'est moi!
I'm forced to admit
'Tis I, I humbly reply
That mortal who
These marvels can do
C'est moi, c'est moi, 'tis I
I've never lost
In battle or game
I'm simply the best by far-Alan Jay Lerner
and Frederick Loewe
Just when I thought I was out, the Clintons pull me back into their conjugal psychodrama.
Methinks she protests too much, since he does it with such relish and gusto. Her thesis is that the Clintons symbiotically thrive on crisis.
Is Bill torn between resentment of being second fiddle and gratification that Hillary can be first banana only with his help? Their relationship has always been a co-dependence between his charm and her discipline.She identifies Hillary’s biggest weakness as the person without whom she would never even be considered a candidate, Slick Willie. Bill of course has a different opinion.
Hillary advisers noted that when Bill was asked by a supporter in South Carolina what his wife’s No. 1 priority would be, he replied: C’est moi! “The first thing she intends to do is to send me ...” he began.With the “C’est moi!” interjection, Dowd is not implying that Bill thinks he is the Sun King. Instead, she is comparing him to the very arrogant Lancelot from Lerner and Loewe’s Camelot, which provided the central metaphor of a much older Democratic dynasty.
In this case, history is repeating itself not as tragedy, but as “endless soap opera”.
And Billary bashing brings out the best in in Maureen’s alliterative alacrity:
Is Bill a loyal spouse or a subconscious saboteur?And in that line, Dowd gives Bill a new moniker. In 1992, he flopped in Iowa only to show promise (but not winning) in New Hampshire. He dubbed himself the Comeback Kid. Now as the Boy That Can’t Help Himself, he is the loose cannon prone to friendly fire. Not only can’t he help himself, he will end up hurting Hillary and sinking her hopes for higher office.
Or is he freelancing because he relishes his role as head of the party his wife is trying to take over?
Certainly Bill wants to repay Hill for those traumatic times when he had to hide behind her skirt.
He suggests to Matt Bai in today’s Times Magazine that she can be F.D.R. to his Teddy Roosevelt, getting through the ideas that fell flat the first time.
Maybe the Boy Who Can’t Help Himself is simply engaging in his usual patterns of humiliating Hillary and lighting an exploding cigar when things are going well.