Bubba is back, and that's bad news for Barry 

The current Clinton resurgence may or may not be the groundwork for a 2012 primary challenge of our beleaguered president. That will depend on when (and if) President Obama can pull himself out of his current skid.

But whether this is the start of Hillary's revenge or just some flexing by the former first lady and her globetrotting husband, it's still bad news for Obama. Americans may not be certain if they're ready for a Republican president, but the chorus of regret over Hillary's 2008 loss is deafening.

Obama, anointed as "our first female president" by Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker for his preference for talk over action, has proven himself passive and vain. His secretary of state, meanwhile, seems tough, decisive and a self-sacrificing team player.

The first 18 months of the Obama presidency have played perfectly to Hillary's 2008 pitch: Obama is not man enough for the job, but she is.

It's not just the 3 a.m. calls that Obama seems to struggle with. Whether it is an emerging crisis, like the explosion of an oil platform, or a long-standing problem, like the stalled American enterprise in Afghanistan, Obama prefers to let all the calls go to voicemail.

Obama likes to talk about comprehensive, abstract solutions to concrete problems. You say "border security" and he says "path to citizenship." You say "plug the hole" and he says "global warming." You say "unemployment" and he says "economic sustainability."

It's no wonder that in a poll by Rasmussen Reports, 57 percent said Hillary was qualified to be president compared with the 51 percent who said Obama has what it takes.

We've felt a few tremors of ambition from the former first lady in Foggy Bottom.

She has stampeded the administration on announcing some topics near to her heart, particularly the awarding of partner benefits to gay federal employees and filing a federal lawsuit against Arizona's illegal-immigration crackdown.

There has also been the occasional Clinton insider whispering to a friendly reporter about how the secretary is left out of the Obama inner circle and can't overcome Obama's aloofness.

Also note well where she has made her friends in the administration. She is chummy with the warriors -- siding with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and keeping lots of channels open to the trigger pullers, including the recently ousted Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

But that's the kind of maneuvering that you'd expect inside an administration.

Her husband, though, has not been so constrained of late.

When you heard Bill Clinton tell Wolf Blitzer that he felt bad for Obama about the pounding he was taking on the oil spill he might as well have been saying "I told you so."

Bubba's pitch two years ago was that Obama might make Democrats feel good, but that he couldn't deliver.

When Clinton then suggested that it might be time to bring in the Navy to blow up the leaking oil riser and then dump a million tons of stone on the hole, he showed that there was another way to handle the situation than holding meetings on whose ass to kick.

Billy Jeff Clinton has been everywhere lately: Taking the heat for the administration's effort to bribe Rep. Joe Sestak out of the Pennsylvania Senate primary. Saving Blanche Lincoln's candidacy in Arkansas. Blowing his vuvuzela with Nelson Mandela in South Africa for the World Cup. Laughing off Valdimir Putin's denials about the recent Russian spy bust.

But the big moment came when Bill endorsed former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who is running a campaign to knock off Obama's man, Sen. Michael Bennet.

Clinton's endorsement came when Romanoff needed it most -- just at the end of the fundraising cycle when Romanoff needed a boost to show he was viable against the White House-backed Bennet.

It was a neat play for Clinton. By lobbing a grenade into the race, he shows that he's hip with the more "progressive" Romanoff and that he has his own mind on politics. Rather than just running Obama's errands and trying to get people out of races as he did with Sestak, Clinton is bucking the system.

Just as he did in 2008, Bill is testing the limits of how hard he can hit Obama without causing a backlash.

If Obama continues to weaken, count on Bill to take heavier shots.

Chris Stirewalt is the political editor of The Washington Examiner. He can be reached at cstirewalt@washingtonexaminer.com.

About The Author

Chris Stirewalt


Washington Examiner Political Editor Chris Stirewalt, who coordinates political coverage for the newspaper and ExaminerPolitics.com in addition to writing a twice-weekly column and
regular blog posts.

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