Bill Clinton: Haunted by the Ghosts of '08

Why else would he praise President Obama's opponent?

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 This 42nd president reportedly bemoaned that he has a better relationship with his GOP successor than he does with Obama. (This might explain his playing footsie with Romney.) Thus it appears not to be lost on Clinton that President Obama -- who sharpened his skills at keeping toxic rivals at bay by neutralizing both Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan in Chicago -- has managed to exile the Clinton power couple far away from White House politics. 

The peripatetic secretary of state is legally barred even from attending the Democrats' presidential convention in Charlotte this year, for example. As for the would-be inaugural first husband of the nation, Bill Clinton was saddled, early on, with the U.N. earthquake portfolio and, with the president's blessings, sent packing off to Haiti for fundraising efforts from investment firms like Bain Capital.

Clinton's flare-ups against Obama are no surprise to close observers of the etiquette of Southern white males under competitive pressure from certain quarters. On one level, they display the rancor of a baby boomer Arkansan nicknamed "Bubba," whose favored multimillion-dollar political machine, with his wife at the wheel, got run over by a skinny, basketball-playing, hip-hop-listening, community organizer on the South side of Chicago who, yes, once smoked reefer and, unlike Clinton, dared to inhale. On another level, we are witnessing the drama of the faux black president colliding with the first black president.

Stay tuned.

Les Payne is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and frequent contributor to The Root.

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