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Hillary (and Bill): A Closed Mouth Inserts No Foot

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Living in Washington, DC, you can throw a rock and hit someone with a more insightful political mind than mine. The closest I ever came to real time politics was the night both Ted Kennedy and I made back-to-back toasts at a friend's wedding. For what it's worth, my toast was a lot better than his. At least that's what my wife assures me every time I ask.

I have no political pedigree. I just love politics. I'm not a politician, a lobbyist, or an activist. I Tivo Meet the Press. (Take that Candy Crowley.) I stay in on Saturday nights to watch caucus returns come in precinct by precinct. (I know, sexy, right?)

Maybe if the Writers Guild hadn't been on strike things would be different. If I had uninterrupted access to my usual brain bubble gum (Lost, 30 Rock, The Office), perhaps I'd be less interested in David Gergen and more so with Liz Lemon. Still, strike or not, I can't get enough politics, especially Democratic politics.

My life is basically the same as most folks who will end up reading this post. I'm a thirty-five year old father, a few years into a second career as a writer. I'm working on my second book. I watch too much TV, read too few books, eat too much, sleep too little, and try not to fight with my wife while we juggle two kids and a mortgage. Our cat just died. I'm on a diet. The basement needs a paint job. I'm getting ear hair. We recently bought a mini-van. I have a cold. My oldest daughter wants a dolphin that she says she'll keep in the bathtub. My youngest has acid reflux and keeps throwing up on me. We have no white picket fence, but you get the idea.

Ten years ago, I was a registered Independent. I considered myself a left-leaning Libertarian. In some ways, I still do. However, several years back, in direct response to the insane failure of the Bush administration, I registered as a Democrat. Today, my political position is basically identical to Bill Maher's (with better hair and a more mainstream view on medicine).

I'm an Obama guy. My reasons are the same as everyone else's. We need not waste time with another soliloquy on hope, vision, change, or leadership. You've heard it all before. Just know I believe it too.

What I don't believe, what I can't forgive, is the way Hillary's team (from Bill all the way down) is so sideways at the mere thought that we, their minions, have largely decided to go in another direction. How dare we. We are watching a global case of bad politics in action. At the tip of the poor-sport spear is none other than Bill himself. In just a few months he's taken his ever growing legacy and shoved it right into the toilet.

I'll always remember the great President Clinton. But from now on, his catty actions of late will be riding shotgun right along with his years of leadership. What a shame. I loved President Bill Clinton. Today, however, the bloom is completely off the rose. I am turned off by nearly everything he says. He oozes politician, the worse kind.

I love my wife, too. I get that whole protecting your lady thing. But, come on. Call it what it is. His wife isn't getting picked on by the local bully at the mall. She's running for President and she's no pussy cat herself. And, half of the baggage she's schlepping around has his initials on them. The overly tough politician mask she wears like an albatross was first used when she put on a brave face after Bill got caught with his hand in the cookie jar. So, save us all the bulls**t about you protecting your wife. That bird has flown.

Bill Clinton is the head of the Democratic party, at least for the next few months. Until recently, he was the epitome of what a former president should be. He was still someone I was proud of. These days....he's too slick for my taste.

Today could be an embarrassing day for the Clinton clan. What to do, what to do? How about hush.

A Tip About Negotiating:

When you're cutting a deal you can burn a lot of bridges, hold up the other side, make threats, dig in, and use your leverage as a threat. Or, you can make the best deal possible, still looking out for your best interests but without scorching the earth in the process. It's not like Senator Clinton is buying a car here. See, win or lose--she actually has to show up and work with all these folks once the election ends. Then what? You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. Ugly words are remembered long after kind ones have been forgotten. People will remember the way she (and Bill) handled themselves in these pivotal days. And, if the Clintons don't remember, the folks at CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Comedy Central et al surely will.

Last week, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter suggested that Hillary step aside before March 4th, in order to save her legacy and bolster her chances in 2012 should Obama lose. I think it was sage advice. She could learn a lesson or two in the humility department. If she loses and comes back for another run, she'll never again make the mistakes she made this time. She'll better manage her money, her campaign, her message, and her husband. She'll act more humble because losing this election will knock her (and Bill) down a few pegs. If losing what once seemed like an eventuality of an election doesn't give all Clinton campers pause, nothing will.

The humility would do her good. And one day, in the not too distant future, this extremely talented woman could likely be our President.

Until then...shhhhhhhhhh.