Barack Obama’s political feud with the Clintons went beyond just his primary campaign against Hillary in 2008. In his two autobiographies, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope, Obama made clear that he thought Clinton had been too moderate, had made too many concessions to conservatism in the 1990s. (By the way, I always thought Dreams from My Father should have been the title of JFK’s campaign memoir. . .) As Charles Kesler pointed out in his Claremont Review of Books survey of Obama back in 2008:
But Clinton blew it, and the author gradually lets you know it. First, he regrets Clinton’s “clumsy and transparent” gestures to the Reagan Democrats, and his “frighteningly coldhearted” use of other people (e.g., “the execution of a mentally retarded death row inmate” before a crucial primary). Then Obama notes sadly that Clinton’s policies—“recognizably progressive if modest in their goals”—had commanded broad public support, but that the president had never been able, “despite a booming economy,” to turn that support into a governing coalition. Finally, he gently accuses Clinton of the worst offense of all: strengthening the forces of conservatism. Due to his “personal lapses” and careless triangulations that ceded more and more ground to the Right, Clinton prepared the way for George W. Bush’s victory in 2000. . .
[I]n his Acceptance Speech in Denver, the single biggest speech of the campaign, he laid at Bill Clinton’s feet the oldest backhanded compliment in the books, thanking the former president “who last night made the case for change as only he can make it….” That’s a disguised double insult: it reminds the discerning ear of Clinton’s characteristic bloviation, and then of his political failings (when you see Clinton, you’re reminded why the Democrats need Obama).
Well, now Clinton has out a new book that the Washington Post describes as having “some criticisms” of Obama’s performance. “The 42nd president periodically surfaces with cheerful tips on how he managed the economy,” says the Post. “Cheerful tips” is a nice touch. The Post continues:
The very existence of such a book by the former president — which Clinton says was inspired by the 2010 midterm losses — has produced some eye-rolling among senior Obama advisers and is certain to spur a new round of unwelcome comparisons between the 1990s and today.
I still say Bill and Hillary have a contingency plan for Hillary to reclaim the throne run for president next year, either directly against Obama, or if they can force him to step aside somehow.