Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Was Primary Colors a Prophecy?

Thinking this morning about Primary Colors, Joe Klein's roman a clef inspired by the Clinton '92 primary fight -- specifically the scene where the Clinton figure, Jack Stanton, stymies a primary opponent in a call-in radio confrontation with an artfully selective cite of his past pronouncements on Medicare. Thoughts then drifted to how, after inspiring an on-air heart attack in that rival, Stanton-Clinton finds himself faced with an oncoming tsunami as a charismatic former governor emerges as a last-minute candidate and becomes the golden boy with the big mo'. Then comes the oppo research, and the discovery that the new rival was stoned through much of his tenure as governor and indulged in gay sex with a shady local honcho to boot. Stanton agonizes, Clinton-on-the-brink-of-ROTC style, about The Right Thing to Do (conscience goaded by the suicide of an old ally who dug up the dirt), and hits on bringing the material to the candidate himself, telling him, if we found this, so will the Republicans.... Double win - thanks for being a boy scout, and goodbye rival.

Thought was, maybe this was about '08, not '92. The Clintons are up against it now. Water's rising, and the Texas-Ohio levee's looking like a New Orleans defense. What are they going to pull?

p.s. Stray echo while flipping pages: Stanton caught out in an early debate, and smug defiict hawk opponent pronounces: "This man will say anything to get elected." Guess it's not the most original comeback in politics.

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