During Hillary's concession speech on Saturday, I noticed the rather awkward body language between Bill Clinton and Dorothy Rodham, Bill's 89-year-old mother-in-law. I've often wondered how Hillary's mother felt about her son-in-law and the humiliation he heaped on her only daughter.
In December 2007, on the campaign trail in the run-up to the Iowa caucus, Hillary, in an attempt to warm up her image, used Dorothy as a kind of prop. Hillary told the appreciative audience that her mother "lives with Bill and me." That was another of Hillary's, say we say, stretches of the truth. In fact, Dorothy lives in "Hillary's house" in the Embassy Row section of Washington; Bill has never lived there. When he's on domestic soil and not at billionaire buddy Ron Burkle's mansion in Beverly Hills, Bill lives in Chappaqua. He was never exactly welcome at Hillary's house, especially immediately after exiting the White House mired in pardon-related scandal.
In an AP photo of Hillary's concession, seated to Hillary's right as she spoke was Bill, holding hands tightly with Chelsea on his right and lightly with Dorothy on his left. On Dorothy's left, and, oddly, not in the AP photo caption, was a man who appears to be Hillary's brother, Tony Rodham, and, on his lap, his toddler daughter. Tony is now divorced from California senator Barbara Boxer's daughter Nicole, whom he married in the Rose Garden in 1994. (The toddler, who resembles Hillary, is Tony's daughter with his second wife.)
Tony and Hugh, Hillary's other brother, were certainly not featured in the campaign for the nomination; their questionable business deals during their brother-in-law's two terms included Tony's push for a controversial pardon for carnival operators. Tony's prominent presence that day led me to wonder whether Hillary is really serious about the vice presidency. Obama's vetters would have enough problems with Bill without bringing Hillary's extremely colorful brothers into the mix.
In the New York Times on the morning of Hillary's concession speech, Jenny Backus, an unaffiliated Democratic consultant whom I see often on MSNBC's Hardball, speculated on whether Obama might give Chelsea a significant role in his administration. Obama has already given another presidential daughter, Caroline Kennedy, a significant role--on his three-member vetting team. What's next? Amy Carter as a possibility for secretary of defense? Those old enough will remember that during a debate with Ronald Reagan in 1980, Jimmy Carter mentioned that he had discussed with Amy, then 11, the dangers of nuclear proliferation.
Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.