Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Scenes from a Marriage

The New York Times has a piece this morning on how the public and private lives of the Clintons is a balancing act.

Bill and Hillary Clinton flew to Chicago together last month to deliver speeches a few hours and a few miles apart. And like any couple, they thought about having dinner at day’s end. But life is not so simple when you are married to a Clinton.

The former president kept a low profile and left early for Washington, in part to avoid distracting the news media from his wife’s speech. They decided later that dinner would not work, so Mr. Clinton did what he often does: He rounded up some familiar faces — former aides including Joe Lockhart and Mike McCurry — and went out for a late bite at Lauriol Plaza, the bustling Tex-Mex restaurant in Dupont Circle. Only afterward did the Clintons end up at home together.


When the subject of Bill and Hillary Clinton comes up for many prominent Democrats these days, Topic A is the state of their marriage — and how the most dissected relationship in American life might affect Mrs. Clinton’s possible bid for the presidency in 2008.

Democrats say it is inevitable that in a campaign that could return the former president to the White House, some voters would be concerned or distracted by Mr. Clinton’s political role and the episode that led the House to vote for his impeachment in 1998.

“There’s no question that it’s a complicated candidacy for a lot of voters because of the history of that relationship and what they’ve been through,” said Leon E. Panetta, Mr. Clinton’s chief of staff from 1994 to 1997. “They’ve been through a lot of challenges as a couple, though in the end if you’re with them together, you know there’s something there that basically bonds them.”

There will be the inevitable sniping from the righties about the Clintons’ “calculating” to make their marriage a part of their plan for political gain…and it will probably come from people like Rush Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, and George Allen — all who have enough ex-wives among them to start their own HBO miniseries.

And some will say that if it wasn’t for Bill, Hillary would have gotten nowhere — she’d just be another lawyer from Yale working in Washington. No one, they’ll tell us, should expect to gain political stature or become president just because of family connections and such.

Oh, wait…