We all knew, once Bill Clinton left presidency in 2000, that at some point his legally-binding life partner Hillary would run for president, prompting Bill to perhaps become the country's first ever First Dude. But it was too much to speculate about who her potential vice president would be — veeps are practically figureheads anyway — although at this point in history it's probably going to be some pretty boy like John Edwards.
An odd idea struck me this week, and the idea resonated stronger as Bill campaigned for Hillary in South Carolina, just as he did in Nevada.
Assuming she nabs the Democratic nomination (Who knows if it'll happen, but let's pretend. Otherwise this column pretty much sucks.), how about Bill Clinton as Hillary Clinton's running mate? Why the hell not? It may not make any sense. In fact, it makes probably so little sense, that it makes too much sense. Did I just blow your mind? Good, now you agree with me.
Anybody suffering from political apathy would be cured with a Clinton-Clinton campaign. People alienated from politics would finally pay attention again. Forget their platforms. A married couple as president and vice president. The First Couple.
Before anybody gets ridiculously excited about the possibility of this, we have to find out if this is in fact constitutionally legal. About two years ago the Washington Post's Peter Baker delved into this very subject, and there are two schools of thought. While the 22nd Amendment limits a U.S. president to two elected terms, it also puts the cap at 10 years, meaning you can squeeze two contingency years in there somewhere. But another clause says if you're ineligible to be President, you cannot be elected vice president. He isn't eligible to be elected, but he can still serve two years.
So let's keep on assuming that Mr. Clinton can still serve a couple more years and is constitutionally allowed to run as vice president. A series of events that would lead to President Bill 33 1/3: The Final Insult is very unlikely. Unless, of course, Bill and Hillary get a divorce while in office, and the ex-husband is granted custody of the house. That would be amazing if it happened. Well, granted, it would probably suck for the welfare of the country and stuff, but let's not think selfishly here. Let's keep some rational perspective. What's important is the entertainment value of the political realm.
The Nation's John Nichols is saying that Bill is hurting Hillary's campaign, a belief held stemming from the bad loss in South Carolina. To which I say, "Step the fuck off, John Nichols. Step. The. Fuck. Off." Even if the Clinton-Clinton '08 ticket isn't successful, it'll sure as hell be a wildly entertaining campaign I had difficulty just being on the same curling team as my college girlfriend. With more on the line than points in a recreational sport, the bickering should be tenfold.
"Good evening, America. I would like to start off by saying … what?[unintelligible whispering]
Mr. Clinton, I think the people would like to first hear about our budget plans."[unintelligible whispering with composed faces]
"Let's … let's not do this now."[more unintelligible whispering still with composed faces, but barely]
"Fine. Our nation's vice president in charge of gathering attention would like to discuss childhood obesity. I'm only trying to bring our country out of a recession, and Mr. Cantshutup wants to talk about some fat kids. Have at it, Mr. Vice President."
Well, I already know who has my vote.
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