December 23, 2007

"Is Bill a loyal spouse or a subconscious saboteur?"

The Bill and Hillary psychodrama.
Is Bill torn between resentment of being second fiddle and gratification that Hillary can be first banana only with his help? Their relationship has always been a co-dependence between his charm and her discipline. But what if, as some of her advisers suggest, she turned out to be a tougher leader, quicker to grasp foreign policy, less skittish about using military power and more inspirational abroad? What if she were to use his mistakes as a reverse blueprint, like W. did with his dad?

When Bill gets slit-eyed, red-faced and finger-wagging in defense of her, is he really defending himself, ego in full bloom, against aspersions that Obama and Edwards cast on Clintonian politics?

Maybe the Boy Who Can’t Help Himself is simply engaging in his usual patterns of humiliating Hillary and lighting an exploding cigar when things are going well....

Hillary advisers noted that when Bill was asked by a supporter in South Carolina what his wife’s No. 1 priority would be, he replied: C’est moi! “The first thing she intends to do is to send me ...” he began.

He got so agitated with Charlie Rose — ranting that reporters were “stenographers” for Obama — that his aides tried to stop the interview...
Maureen Dowd sounds absolutely right to me. I note that she's reacting to the Matt Bai article that appears in this week's NYT Magazine. I reacted to it on Wednesday and said something similar:
If you were writing a novel about the 2008 presidential campaign, wouldn't you want Bill Clinton as your main character? What a complex situation he is in. He stands to gain power, but his time is also over. He can help his wife, but he can also hurt her. He is supposed to fight for her, but he's continually tempted to justify himself. He has the more creative mind, but he cannot outshine her.
This too. (About that priceless quote: "Everything I'm saying here is my wife's position, not just mine.")

So: Loyal spouse? Subconscious saboteur? Frankly, I think he's too smart for it to be subconscious. I think he's devoted to her, but he's a dominant male, and the situation is inherently complex. Perhaps he wants conflicting things, but he must primarily want her to win, and assuming that's so, he needs to get control of himself in public so that we never see the part of him that wants her to lose.

20 comments:

martha said...

Ann asks: So: Loyal spouse? Subconscious saboteur?

Bill Clinton has never ever been a loyal spouse (has never even tried to be faithful to his marriage vows) and we give his psyche way too much credit to consider that his self-regarding/self-promoting/ Hillary-destructive behavior on the campaign trail is due to his subconscious saboteur. The Clinton relationship is bizarre. They have NO relationship unless they are running for or in office and involved in scandal. They not only do not know what constitutes "normal" for the middle America Hillary deigns to want to help---they do NOT want "normal" for their own lives, public or private. Their lifeblood is drama, intrigue, and chaos. And, of course, power.

AllenS said...

"Is Bill a loyal spouse or a subconscious saboteur?"

Neither, he's an independent contractor. He has ambitions of his own, and Hillary! can't say much to him, because she knows that half of the votes she will get, will be people who are voting for him.

rhhardin said...

I think he's devoted to her, but he's a dominant male, and the situation is inherently complex.

I'd say that Bill is the whole show, and Hillary is a public nothing without him. It's not exactly a dominant male problem. It's a non-existing female problem.

The thought experiment to do is imagining Thatcher instead of Hillary.

No use pretending that Hillary is feminism's answer to the Presidency, unless it's going to be another women's history week agenda item.

Save it for the real thing.

jkell63615 said...

"Is Bill a loyal spouse or a subconscious saboteur?"

Ann, he is neither. He is consciously sabotaging his wife's campaign -- while playing the supportive spouse. There's a word for that: sociopath.

I looked it up:

http://www.hss.caltech.edu/~mcafee/Bin/sb.html

If this doesn't describe Bill Clinton, nothing does.

Tim said...

"Perhaps he wants conflicting things, but he must primarily want her to win, and assuming that's so, he needs to get control of himself in public so that we never see the part of him that wants her to lose."

Losing provides a virtue for the Clinton's (Bill, especially) too - it confirms, in their own mind (— ranting that reporters were “stenographers” for Obama —) their perpetual status as victims of nefarious powers. I suspect, pace Martha, that her losing the race would provide another foundation to their relationship, albeit not the one they wanted - and the passage to the eventual divorce for which both probably wish. Her running for president is probably the only thing keeping them together.

michaele said...

What never fails to fascinate/repel me are the looks of such exaggerated rapturous devotion they give each other when they are in the public eye together. It defies belief as anything other than a highly polished, Oscar winning performance (no, make that Tony winning since it is a repeated live performance). I mean, come on, they have been married how long and have been through soooo much crap, it doesn't ring remotely true when they behave as love struck teenagers. Yuck at the phoniness!

Fen said...

The problem for Hillary is that Bill still desires to promote the "legacy" of his own administration.

ricpic said...

Not once, and I've really searched my mind on this, have I ever heard anything worth remembering, anything intellectually first rate or thoughtful come out of their mouths, only a smog of platitudes. They're both irremediably second rate.

Grifters: that's what they are, that's all they are. But they're second rate even at their con. He's a snake oil salesman. She's a stone-cold killer. Obvious in both cases.

So I ask myself: self, what's it all about? What's the secret of the hold they have on so many ? Can someone help me out here?

AJ Lynch said...

I have said before he can't survive without the spotlight. He loses a big part of that if she loses. If she wins, he is pushed out to the far edge of the spotlight.

Why don't we try and predict what they will do if she loses? Divorce? Daily slugfest with each claiming they walked into a door ? or even worse?

P. Rich said...

Hillary! has two things going for her:

--She is a Clinton.

--She is a Democrat.

Both mean automatic votes. Without both, she is just a non-entity of dubious character and ability who wandered into a contest which she is remarkably ill suited to win.

As for her "marriage" to Bill, it's obvious she has much to gain. A more interesting question is why he remains married to her. Would any at least remotely normal man maintain the pretense?

mtrobertsattorney said...

The Clintons as second rate grifters. Thanks ricpic. That's the best description of these two dysfunctional characters I've ever come across. Brilliant!

Pogo said...

Re: "grifters"
Brilliant indeed, and apt.

It helps explain their persistent relationship. Even though they appear at times to loathe each other, they cannot work the shill alone. They need the team for the scam to work. But they con and betray themselves, too.

It's all they know.

I picture Anjelica Huston and John Goodman at their meanest to star in the remake.

Meade said...

"A more interesting question is why he remains married to her. Would any at least remotely normal man maintain the pretense?"

I'm guessing that she has made clear, and he fully understands, that if he were to ever... EVER dare to sue her for divorce, she would immediately tell all. And she does mean... all.

She's got his oily odd-shaped carrot stick right where she wants it.

Paul Snively said...

Great. Now I have that scene of Anjelica Huston's obscene parody of grief from "The Grifters" stuck in my head. Even creepier than the Clinton's marriage, and that's saying something.

Bender said...

what's it all about? What's the secret of the hold they have on so many ? Can someone help me out here?

The great "appeal" of the Clintons is that they flustered and outraged Republicans and the right. More and more, the number one thing that Dems stand for is that they are against Republicans, pure and simple. They define their existence by opposing, impeding, and obstructing anything and everything that Republicans and conservatives try to do. It is all anti-Republican hate (taken to its most extreme with Bush Derangement Syndrome). That is their number one, two, and three objective. If the Republicans and/or conservatives are for it, they are automatically against it.

And the Clintons were successful at opposing the Republicans, so they are popular with that crowd.

Mo MoDo said...

The best hidden line in Dowd's columnn where she goes "C'est moi!" Bill thinks he can do no wrong but he is really Hillary's worst enemy. See my video explanation.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

There's a word for that: sociopath

Thank you! I've been saying this for years. The Clintons are both sociopaths and have had an unhealthy symbiotic relationship for years.

Just some of the symptoms



Glibness and Superficial Charm


Manipulative and Conning
They never recognize the rights of others and see their self-serving behaviors as permissible. They appear to be charming, yet are covertly hostile and domineering, seeing their victim as merely an instrument to be used. They may dominate and humiliate their victims.


Grandiose Sense of Self
Feels entitled to certain things as "their right."


Pathological Lying
Has no problem lying coolly and easily and it is almost impossible for them to be truthful on a consistent basis. Can create, and get caught up in, a complex belief about their own powers and abilities. Extremely convincing and even able to pass lie detector tests.


Lack of Remorse, Shame or Guilt
A deep seated rage, which is split off and repressed, is at their core. Does not see others around them as people, but only as targets and opportunities. Instead of friends, they have victims and accomplices who end up as victims. The end always justifies the means and they let nothing stand in their way.


Shallow Emotions
When they show what seems to be warmth, joy, love and compassion it is more feigned than experienced and serves an ulterior motive. Outraged by insignificant matters, yet remaining unmoved and cold by what would upset a normal person. Since they are not genuine, neither are their promises.


Incapacity for Love


Need for Stimulation
Living on the edge. Verbal outbursts and physical punishments are normal. Promiscuity and gambling are common


Text book sociopaths.

Do we need to elect such a dysfunctional pair to have power over the rest of us? I hope to God not.

This has not so much to do with their Political persuasion (Democrat/Socialists) as to the idea of having these power hungry and functional psychopaths back in power again. It scares the bejezus out of me.

And yes...I think that Bill is subconsciously resentful of Hillary and is purposely sabotaging her campaign.

dadvocate said...

Dowd says, "Whether she knows it or not, this is a coattails strategy."

How could she not know it? Hillary's been riding Bill's coattails since day one while pretending to be an independent, liberated woman. Why else would she put up with his philandering, etc.?

Chip Ahoy said...

*sticks fingers in ears*

Lalalalalalalalalalalalala --->infinity.

Blake said...

I don't know how successful they were at thwarting Republicans, since that '94-'98 period was pretty good for getting conservative legislation passed.

They were and are pretty darn good at driving Reps crazy thogh. Clinton Derangement Syndrome was the worst--well, right up until 2000.