I count myself among your biggest fans. Not just before your presidency, but during. And arguably even more so after. And that is why I felt it important to write to you today, as one of your biggest fans, to say that I think you are severely fucking up on behalf of your wife.
I registered to vote in the same year you became president: 1992. I registered on the day of my 18th birthday, and on that day I began campaigning for you in my town of 158,000 largely Republican, Reagan-loving voters. I was mocked, debated, shouted at and chastised, but I stuck with it. I believed in what you were doing and in what our cause meant.
To my delight, you won the presidency. And to even greater delight - you were a fantastic president. You helped to spark my deep interest in politics. You made me believe in the system. You gave me hope in the process of democracy.
Over the last few years, that spark, that belief, that hope has been tested for me just like it has been for the majority of Americans who didn’t vote for Bush in 2000 (and the sane among us who didn’t vote for him again in 2004. Shame on you all btw. Again.).
But now we’re entering a new election season in which the field appears wide open on both sides of our intractably polarized two-party system. There is hope - albeit a cynical, almost defeatist hope - in the air. People are buzzing again about politics: from the Ron Paul re-love-utionists to the Obamaniacs and the Huckabeans and even the McCainaanites. And you Bill, are killing my buzz.
Why go on the attack? Why go negative? Why do everything that you made us believe you were above? How can the man who assembled the Clinton Global Initiative be the same one who debases himself with coy, slanderous attacks against a young, aggressive hopeful like Barack Obama who seems to embody the same ideology for which you and your wife once so forcefully argued?
I want to be clear, Bill, that I am not advocating a vote for Obama (though I am increasingly leaning that way…just for full disclosure’s sake). Rather, I am appealing to you as a fan, a believer, an arguably naive idealist who has always been a big supporter of you and your cause.
Maybe some Dr. Phil-like comments will help? Let’s try. Hillary is not part of your legacy - that stands on its own. She is not you - you don’t owe her anything. Forget about all of that Monica stuff, or being the first husband and wife team to occupy the nation’s highest office (that’s spooky anyways, right??). None of that matters. All that matters now is that you maintain your dignity in the face of a tempting opportunity to use your cachet to help your wife win the presidency. Face it - just like we all have to - that’s really not a good idea. But that’s better saved for another post.
So Bill. Please. For me. Let it go. Rise above. Be the statesman you deserve to be at this point, and just let things play out and let your wife’s campaign rise or fall based solely on her own merits and ability to compete in a contentious race. You did it. If she’s half the man that you are she should be able to as well.
(Image credit: Ashley Cecil, 2006)