Bill Clinton, the only Democratic president to be elected to two terms as chief executive since the first half of the last century, has been much in the news of late, with the Washington Examiner‘s Julie Mason recently commenting on a report from Ed Henry of CNN about the administration “deploying” the former president “to help close the gap for the party this fall.”
But, I would warn Mr. Obama to be wary of this particular predecessor. Clinton showed that he was ever ready to jettison his ideology (if even had one) and even his party for political survival. His triangulation strategy of 1995-96 sought to distance himself from the Democratic party — as well as the GOP — in order to secure his own reelection.
Bill Clinton, in short, always looks out for his own interests. He has little to gain by the reelection of Barack Obama in 2012. Indeed, he has much to lose by it. Should Obama prevail in the coming presidential contest, Clinton will lose his singular status as the only Democrat since FDR to be reelected president.
Not just that, with Obama no longer in the Oval Office, Clinton would resume his role as the nation’s most prominent (and possibly most popular) Democrat.
This most legacy-obsessed president saw that legacy not in ideological, but personal terms.