FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Bill Clinton agrees that Obama should smile more.
Not in so many words, but he generally echoed something that I noted yesterday: our President is not being reassuring enough. Like all good poisoners, Clinton makes sure that the fatal dose is well-mixed with things designed to mask the taste. In this case, GOP-bashing:
Regarding Obama’s bleak warnings that “the economy could get worse before it gets better,” and that the economic stimulus program is only the beginning of the end of the economic crisis, Clinton said, “I like the fact that he didn’t come in and give us a bunch of happy talk. I’m glad he shot straight with us.”
But he added, “I just want the American people to know that he’s confident that we are gonna get out of this and he feels good about the long run.”
Clinton thinks Obama should talk to the public in greater depth about the economy.
“I like trying to educate the American people about the dimensions and scope of this economic crisis,” Clinton said. “I just would like him to end by saying that he is hopeful and completely convinced we’re gonna come through this.”
But that’s all right: the title and the first page is what most people will see, and the message on that is that the President is a Gloomy Gus who doesn’t give the same Hope that he was giving last year. Good thing that we have the former President here to take up the slack, right? The author of this piece obviously thought so, given the way that he bent over backward to make sure every positive economic aspect of Clinton’s record got mentioned in the article.
I sound more annoyed than I actually am: in fact, I don’t really think that I’m annoyed at all – or if I am, it’s because I’m still on my first cup of coffee. I take the position that Clinton is not really all that exercised about the GOP or Bush (although he can stop bad-mouthing us, thanks); we’re just a handy foil and/or club with which to push his actual agenda, which is to burnish his own credentials – and, by extension, his wife’s. I’m one of those who take the position that SecState Clinton’s political career ends with her current job, but even so the heightening of the differences between her and the President will probably help her with her current one.
And besides, he’s right in this case. Projecting confidence and telling people that everything’s all right should be a reflexive response by any politician in Obama’s circumstances; the failure of the President to do that is not going to help matters. And if he was as good at this charisma thing as his most devoted followers think that he is, he’d be making me believe that things were going to get better under his watch, whether I wanted to or not.
Because I bet you that Bill Clinton could.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.