Bill Clinton's First Lady Potential
In the mess of celebrating the first major female nominee for the US presidency, there’s one storyline that’s being neglected. (Yes, let’s focus on the male in the relationship because the men just don’t seem to get enough attention nowadays.) Has there ever been someone more qualified for the First Lady-ship than William J Clinton?
Let’s take a minute to remember exactly who we’re dealing with here. This is an icon who inspired a younger generation to bs their grade school book reports by his legendary answer “It depends upon what the meaning of the word is, is” – and got away with it after arguing that ‘sexual relations’ only included him giving oral and not receiving it. This is a president who saw his approval ratings climb to their highest he ever had AFTER he was impeached, which is also the highest any president has had in their second term. This is a politician who indirectly caused the George W. Bush presidency, since Al Gore was too embarrassed of him to let him campaign in the swing states of Arkansas and New Hampshire. This is an orator who dismantled the collection of words that the Republicans called a platform in a 50-minute barrage of math and facts (that was apparently twice his allotted time) and also delivered an emotional story by taking us back in time to when he didn’t desperately want a blowjob (for what it’s worth, he’s also had his incredibly hoarse, off the cuff, out-of-context moments). This is a man who likes balloons.
And therein lies the fear – what if he’s overqualified? Most of the unofficial duties of this office are things he’s already done: political activism, charitable un-divisive causes, and political interloping. Even the things he hasn’t taken on, hosting for example, are things you feel like he could be good at; even Bradley Cooper thinks Bill Clinton could throw a kickass party. Can you imagine Bill having a Chief Floral Designer (an actual position)? He’d want to do the damn arrangements himself. They do speeches for money, which to the disappointment of Hillary, has to go to charity. Most First Ladies have been noted fashion icons – a status solidified by Michelle Obama and cemented by the Hillary/Elizabeth Warren twin day getup) – something that Bill could warm up to. His range potential is phenomenal here – from a dude who’s probably gonna help cut down your tree or show you some new yoga positions (among other positions, if you ‘namsayin).
Quick tangent: It further complicates the matter when we don’t know what to call him. First Laddie – Scotland did vote to stay in the UK right? First Man? Would Michelle Obama give him a tour of his old house, as the outgoing First Lady usually does? How cool would it be to call them Mr. and Mrs. President?
While having too many lines on your résumé isn’t usually a hindrance, Bill is a bit unique in this circumstance. He was excellent, occasionally crossing the threshold into otherworldly as the big dog. His last two convention speeches allowed him to ease back into that role, albeit for an hour, to the point where you almost felt like those ‘four more years’ chants were for him and not Obama. He looked right at home when he leaned against that press briefing podium that Barack left him unsupervised after just ten minutes. Throw it back to his first convention speech – a 1988 endorsement of Michael Dukakis that was his most embarrassing public performance ever (until he pulls out his flaccid penis as part of a skit at the next correspondents’ dinner) and should have ended his political career (see: Howard Dean and more recently, Ted Cruz); he won the presidency four years later. Relative for politicians, this man has Will Smith-levels of charisma and the ability to speak to the masses at their level – a talent which the rest of us want to see unleashed upon the country once more.
But what about when you can’t be the big dog anymore – and you’re left to make your mark as an attack dog? It’s hard to be marginalized, to be brought out as a weapon only when you’re needed, and have TV shows made about your political career. It’s difficult to consistently re-route your message to the reference frame of another, even when that other is your wife (or as some say, just a political partner).
And it’s near impossible to not want to visit that office in which you asserted such dominance – in many a manner – and like the rest of us, not feel the rush of nostalgia and want to do it all again.