Now, she’s just one more regular person getting up every morning doing her job (as a partner in the Clinton Global Initiative) along with good works. Gone is the Clinton juggernaut, that unbeatable machine powered by her diesel-fueled husband that was defeated in 2008 by a fresh-faced junior senator from Illinois with an inferior organization but much more in the way of hope, change and a smile.
Let's stop here for a moment. Everyone knows that this is not Hillary 2.0. It is Hillary 3.0. She had a website as New York Senator, and during her primary campaign, she had a blog, a Facebook account, a Twitter account, and a MySpace account. As Secretary of State she had almost all of those (no MySpace- and everyone knows why). So this is the new unofficial Hillary on the social nets. That is a minor point, however, compared to the statement that her campaign was defeated. In fact, she won the popular vote. She was not defeated at all. Her own party took delegates away and gave them to Obama, effectively handing him the nomination.
Her re-emergence had just one flaw. She didn’t keep her dog on the porch, a mistake so serious it could be disqualifying. She, of all people, knows how good Bill Clinton can be, and how bad. So why did she choose to revive her brand during the weeklong annual celebration of his Global Initiative, surrounded by his cast and on his turf? Why not wait until her husband was off in Malawi or somewhere to announce that his sustainable agriculture initiative had brought about a 30 percent increase in soybean yields?Is is possible Carlson is the only one who did not get the memo that Hillary has made it clear that she will be working at the foundation that has been renamed for all three Clintons? Did she miss the announcement of Hillary's early childhood initiative? When that Twitter account went live, was it not clear that she did it in advance of the CGI America 2013 convening so that she could promote her foundation work?
Then there is this.
The Senate was the intermediate step she needed to make the unprecedented journey from FLOTUS to POTUS. Otherwise, she would look like a widow (Muriel Humphrey) or worse, Eva Peron, filling the shoes of a missing husband by default.
Ummmm... she has not said she is running. She has said that she is working at the foundation. The Peron reference makes no sense at all since Evita predeceased her husband who remained in office for two years after her death.
Bill Clinton didn’t help her become president in 2008, and he won’t be much help in 2016, except as a warm, supportive presence who, in our imagination, will inhabit the East Wing as a benign elder statesman, giving gentle advice only when prodded.
And finally this.
If he meddles in his wife’s 2016 campaign the way he did in 2008, he could lose his hard-won halo. If she lets him meddle, she will go down with him.
He will always loom. What didn’t drive them apart made their marriage stronger. But one thing he hasn’t learned is how to stand by his woman without standing in her way, blocking our view.
So thank you, Bill, for all you’ve done. Now for all womankind, and for the sake of the TBD at the end of Hillary’s Twitter profile, could you go where no man has gone before, except perhaps Denis Thatcher, and take one step back and to the side?
She can’t do this with you.
(Margaret Carlson is a Bloomberg View columnist.)