...[T]he father-son connection is nothing compared to husband-wife. The relationship between a father and an adult son is psychological and abstract; the connection between husband and wife, concrete and quotidian. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife. George Bush, pere, didn't move back into the White House in January 2001.
Which is why Hillary's problem goes beyond discomfort with dynastic succession. It's deep unease about a shared presidency. Forget about Bill, the bad boy. The problem is William Jefferson Clinton, former president of the United States, commander in chief of the Armed Forces, George Washington's representative on earth.
We have never had an ex-president move back into the White House. When in 1992 Bill Clinton promised "two for the price of one," it was taken as a slightly hyperbolic promotion of the role of first lady. This time we would literally be getting two presidents.
Any ex-president is a presence in his own right. His stature, unlike, say, Hillary's during Bill's presidency, is independent of his spouse. From day one of Hillary's inauguration, Bill will have had more experience than her at everything she touches. His influence on her presidency would necessarily be immeasurably greater than that of any father on any son.
Americans did not like the idea of a co-presidency when, at the 1980 Republican convention, Ronald Reagan briefly considered sharing the office with former President Gerald Ford. (Ford would have been vice president with independent powers.) And they won't like this co-presidency, particularly because the Clinton partnership involves two characters caught in the dynamic of a strained, strange marriage.
The cloud hovering over a Hillary presidency is not Bill padding around the White House in robe and slippers flipping thongs. It's President Clinton, in suit and tie, simply present in the White House when any decision is made. The degree of his involvement in that decision will inevitably become an issue. Do Americans really want a historically unique two-headed presidency constantly buffeted by the dynamics of a highly dysfunctional marriage?
On some deep psychological level, Hillary needs Bill to give her credibility. For all her supposed capabilities, she is the one kind of woman that has always made the feminist in me shudder. She has always attached herself to powerful men to achieve power, rather than accomplish anything herself. From the first moment I saw her looking adoringly at Bill during the initial Clinton campaign for president, I felt a deep revulsion for her hypocrisy. This is a woman who desperately seeks power and is willing to do almost anything to achieve it, including selling her soul-- even to the act of looking adoringly at a husband who has always and everywhere cheated on her and humiliated her.
From her debut into the national consciousness, everything about her has been false and duplicitous. As Fred Barnes notes, Hillary's "double standard" was clear after the last Democratic debate:
It's the old feminist one in which women must be treated as equals - except when they're criticized by males. When men criticize, that amounts to unfair picking on a woman, or "piling on" as the Clinton campaign puts it, or "ganging up" in the metaphor used by others.
Her fear of revealing the real person beneath the public persona comes through in her unwillingness (read: abject fear) about releasing her university thesis and papers; and her papers and correspondence from her husband's term in office. Thus, both avenues of information which might betray her have been deliberately and unapologetically shut down for researchers and anyone seeking the truth.
After she gets herself elected President of the US, will be soon enough, she figures, to reveal the true Hillary. No one could bring her down then--after she has achieved the ultimate power.
But like almost all those individuals with the same kind of psychopathology, Hillary Rodham doesn't realize how much she "reveals" every day, and in every shift of position, about the unprincipled and desperate desire for power and domination over others that motivates her.
If elected President, the American people will always be able to count on Hillary to say and do what's right for the country--when and only when it will advance her own sense of entitlement and grandiosity. Once elected, of course, she won't need Bill anymore except perhaps as a figurehead for her authority and a reminder of how she ultimately used and bested him.
I have no doubt that her sad and equally grandiose husband understands this on some psychological level and is therefore working hard behind the scenes to ensure her defeat, or at least undermine it; even as he looks adoringly at her in public. After all, it does not further his essential narcissism to become the First Lady.
That's how dysfunctional marriages--and the people in them--operate.
UPDATE: Peggy Noonan has some comments about the Hill's personality, "Hillary Reveals Her Inner Self":
I spent a day going over the transcripts so I could quote at length, but her exchanges are all over, it's a real Google-fest. Here, boiled down, is what she said.
Giving illegal immigrants drivers licenses makes sense because it makes sense, but she may not be for it, but undocumented workers should come out of the shadows, and it makes sense. Maybe she will increase the payroll tax on Social Security beyond its current $97,500 limit, to $200,000. Maybe not. Everybody knows what the possibilities are. She may or may not back a 4% federal surcharge on singles making $150,000 a year and couples making $200,000. She suggested she backed it, said she didn't back it, she then called it a good start, or rather "I support and admire" the person proposing such a tax for his "willingness to take this on."
She has been accused of doubletalk and she has denied it. And she is right. It was triple talk, quadruple talk, Olympic level nonresponsiveness.And it was, even for her, rather heavy and smug. Her husband would have had the sense to look embarrassed as he bobbed and weaved. It was part of his charm. But he was light on his feet. She turns every dance into the polka. And it is that amazing thing, a grim polka.