Two weeks after Jesse Jackson did his part in promoting Obama with a jubilant announcement to an international audience in Europe that an Obama administration would put Israel in its place diplomatically, now Bill Clinton is pitching in with some “help” of his own.
Clinton was in Florida with Obama for a mend-the-fences rally (full speech text here), and Clinton proudly declared to the crowd that the great thing about Obama’s performance during the early days of the financial meltdown is that he was completely clueless:
“I haven’t cleared this with him and he may even be mad at me for saying this so close to the election, but I know what else he said to his economic advisers (during the crisis),” Clinton told the crowd at a Wednesday night rally with Obama in Florida. “He said, ‘Tell me what the right thing to do is. What’s the right thing for America? Don’t tell me what’s popular. You tell me what’s right — I’ll figure out how to sell it.’”
Now, I don’t expect Obama to have all the answers, any more than I do McCain. As Allahpundit points out, even Alan Greenspan was caught unawares by the severity of the collapse. However, I do not expect a prospective president to run around like a headless chicken, shouting “What’ll I do?? What’ll I do??” And what’s that about “you tell me what’s right, I’ll figure out how to sell it”? Who is this man now, Joe Isuzu? It would be one thing if Obama had collected an ad hoc brain trust and brought along some ideas of his own for a brainstorming session, or at least some core economic and philosophical guidelines to keep his thoughts on track. Instead, Clinton tells a story of a greenhorn pleading for a script and a TelePrompTer.
Clinton ticked off a list of people he says Obama called:
I knew what he was doing. He talked to his advisers, he talked to my economic advisers. He called Hillary. He called me…
And now we get down to the real message. Barack Obama is an awesome pick because he goes to the Clinton Brigade first.
You know, I really do believe that the former president was genuinely trying to pay Obama a sincere compliment. That’s the worst part. Bill Clinton appears constitutionally incapable of saying anything without making it all about Bill Clinton (although, as in the above quote, he’ll occasionally throw Hillary a bone). He wants to make Obama look good, but by boiling Obama’s thought processes down to “you tell me what’s right, I’ll figure out how to sell it,” Clinton turns him into the textbook definition of an empty suit.