Tonight, former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention. Amidst all the predictable rah-rah about his wife possibly serving as the first woman president, gushing about her qualifications, and how Hillary will “fight for you,” maybe the 42nd President will address what would be his equally historic role as First Man.
If for the sake of theatrics, Bill Clinton touches the topic, it will likely elicit thunderous applause from the partisan crowd and many cheers across blue states. Why? Because Republicans conveniently forget that Bill Clinton, even as an impeached president, left office on January 20, 2001, with a 66 percent job approval rating.
Republicans also tend to forget that President Reagan’s last job approval rating in January of 1989 was 63 percent, three points lower than President Clinton’s.
Those numbers help explain why an extremely flawed candidate like Hillary Clinton is in Philadelphia this week accepting her party’s presidential nomination rather than vacationing at the beach with her grandchildren.
As a political observer, history buff and Republican partisan, I am both fascinated (as in watching a proverbial train wreck) and repulsed by the potential for scandal, mayhem, infighting, and lawbreaking that no doubt would accompany the Clintons back to the White House.
In fact, back in April of 2014 my early fascination and repulsion resulted in the piece, “Bill Clinton: First Dude.” There I discussed the possibility of another “two for the price of one” Clinton presidency. If you are too young to remember the 1992 presidential campaign, the concept of a Clinton co-presidency was bandied about on the campaign trail and then actually happened, with very mixed reviews.
Then in June of 2015, as the Clinton campaign unfolded their full sails, I posed the question, “Bill and Hill: ‘Two for the Price of One’ — Again?”
Now, with a 50 percent chance that the former First Lady and former President will win the White House and switch titles, it is time to solicit some real answers from Bill Clinton about his potential role in a 21st century Clinton administration.
Five Questions for Bill Clinton
Here are five questions that the former President should be pressed to address given that his White House influence would be substantial (even if officially downplayed) coupled with the fact that he spent the last 15 years globetrotting for his shady foundation. (The latter, the subject of an FBI investigation, resulted in excessive personal enrichment after Bill and the Mrs. left the White House “dead broke” in 2001.)
- If Hillary wins, what are your plans for the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative? Would you cease operations? If you keep them going, please provide details concerning potential conflicts of interest in the following areas: international and domestic fundraising, gala events, grants, and programs.
- According to a well-known Democratic insider “a Clinton co-presidency is ‘no big deal, already known, baked into the cake and accepted as gospel’ among his fellow power-brokers.” Therefore, do you anticipate another “two for the price of one” Clinton presidency?
- Assuming a co-presidency, what specific steps (if any) would you take to avoid a conflict with the 22nd Amendment which limits a president to two four-year terms?
- During your administration, Hillary and Vice President Al Gore became bitter rivals while vying for their pet policy portfolios to become your top priority. Given this same potential for conflict between you and VP nominee Senator Tim Kaine, have you and Kaine had any frank discussions about power-sharing?
- Back in May, you said if Hillary wins, “I’ll do whatever I’m asked to do, but I like this economic business.” Can you explain how that would translate into a national program or activity?
Finally, if Hillary wins the election, there is universal agreement that Bill Clinton would be a wildcard in the White House. Therefore it is incumbent on the media to ask him these important questions repeatedly between now and November.
Assuredly the former President will offer many different answers — all except the truth.
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