I just finished reading \”The Breach: Inside the Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton,\” by Washington Post White House correspondent Peter Baker.Â It details the impeachment process of of President Bill Clinton, with some fascinating behind-the-scenes details on partisan strategy and maneuvering.
The book talks a great deal about how Clinton was able to remain popular despite his prolonged legal troubles.Â In fact, his womanizing actually became his greatest asset, as he was able to relate to regular voters – he had \”real people\” problems that the public could understand.Â It goes to show that the American public is a forgiving lot – even to the point where if you can show you\’ve overcome some vice, it can be a strong talking point in your favor.
That\’s where I think the Republican presidential candidates can step it up a little bit.Â They\’re all seen as vanilla (both literally and figuratively), rehearsed, and lacking \”real people\” skills.Â Mitt Romney is like a cyborg sent from the future to dispense conservative talking points.Â You can almost see the smoke coming out of his ears.
Of all the GOP candidates, John McCain comes the closest to being unpredictable, but not necessarily in a good way.Â During an upcomingÂ debate, there\’s a reasonable chance that McCain runs over to Mike Huckabee, reaches in his chest, pulls out his beating heart, and vows to meet him at the gates of hell.
That\’s why I think it\’s in some Republican contender\’s best interest toÂ utilize the Clinton blueprint – show that you have some personal failing that you\’ve overcome, which makes you more of a real person.Â In fact, I\’m rooting for one of the candidates to actually develop a vice during the campaign.
Think how fun it would be at the next debate if Sam Brownback pulled out a bottle of Wild Turkey and started sucking it down in mid-answer.Â Jim Gilmore could fire up a bong, take a hit, and start explaining what the economy has in common with \”Dark Side of the Moon.\”Â He could then announce he\’s going into rehab, but he\’s stopping at Taco Bell first.Â Think how much cooler Tom Tancredo would look if he answered while smoking luckies.
Of course, the Democratic frontrunners (Clinton, Obama and Edwards)Â already have the personal stories of overcoming adversity.Â One is trying to become the first minority president, one is trying to become the first female president, and one is married to Bill Clinton.