Now I know Ricochet was not designed to -- what was it someone said Monday? --"examine the entrails" (I just loved that phrase) of everything Bill Clinton does. But he has been capering a'plenty of late, calling Mitt Romney's business credentials "sterling" and urging the president to extend the Bush tax cuts for another year, all within the last week or so. Together or separately, each was enough of a surprise to turn a lot of heads.
But I'm not among those who think WJC is trying to upend Obama or even set the table for his wife to run in 2016. Nor is what he said and did an accident.
No, the Big Dog (as his advisors often described him) is up to something else, I'm betting. And I think its something like this: Clinton, starting in the 2010 campaign, and then again last fall, has never really agreed with the WH strategy of how to run political campaigns. The Obama team wants to look back, argue the case about what happened and what might have been and believes that will turn the tide.
Clinton, by instinct and experience, thinks this approach is a loser. (Nancy Gibbs and I covered a lot of the backstory of the 2008-2010 Obama/Clinton grudge match in our chapter on 42 and 44, which you can find here.)
So now, what he is doing by saying, in effect, lets set Mitt's record at Bain aside; and by saying, lets let the Bush tax cuts go another year; is try and shift the debate -- and shift the Obama team's feel for it -- out of the rear view mirror and toward something that looks more straight ahead. He's trying to get them to abandon what he thinks is a losing approach and instead lay out a plan, and talk about the future. That's what Clinton was all about when he ran.
He must be having trouble convincing David Axelrod and David Plouffe of this. Not to mention the president himself. Because he is taking his strategy to the street. Or at least the airwaves. As the parenting gurus like to say, he's....modeling.
But that's just my hunch. What do you think?