early and often

Bill Clinton: The Voltron of Iowa?

Clinton Winfrey

It’s self-explanatory, really.Photo Illustration: Everett Bogue; Photos: Getty Images

You remember how on Voltron (or, as you youngsters may know it Mighty Morhpin’ Power Rangers), the show’s heroes were constantly battling enemies using their various powers, avatars, and weapons. But then, in the end, they always ended up uniting as Voltron (MegaDragonZord) and kicking ass, and you always wondered why they just didn’t do that in the first place? Such is the case with Hillary and Obama in Iowa right now. (Bear with us.) In the month leading up to the caucus, Obama is pulling out two big guns he’s had in reserve: attack rhetoric and Oprah Winfrey. Last night on Nightline, he finally blasted Hillary for all of her “experience” propaganda. “I think the fact of the matter is that Sen. Clinton is claiming basically the entire eight years of the [Bill] Clinton presidency as her own, except for the stuff that didn’t work out,” he griped. “In which case she says she has nothing to do with it.” Then, this morning, we hear Oprah Winfrey is going to hit the ground in Iowa in the coming weeks to attract money and voters. It’s hard to argue that as far as getting people to fight for you in the trenches goes, Oprah is right near the top of the list.

But unfortunately, she’s not at the top of the list. Certainly not where political weight counts. At a time when Obama is arguing experience, it’s telling that his big tactical move is to get an entertainment star to shill for him. Meanwhile, to counter these moves, Hillary’s bringing in her own big gun: Bill. Sure, America’s first black woman billionaire is a strong influence. But what about America’s first black president? Women freak out when they’re in a room with Oprah. But they also freak out when they’re in a room with Bill. And Bill can blab about the experience thing up and down, while if Oprah tries to talk politics, she’s just going to cheapen Obama’s (and her own) message. So when you get down to it, Obama’s arsenal may be outgunned today. If this were a cartoon episode, Hillary would have summoned up Voltron just in the nick of time, and all would be well in the Far Universe. Except, in the cartoon, there was no general election where Voltron’s magic no longer worked…

Oprah Winfrey to Stump for Obama [AP]
Why Oprah Won’t Help Obama [TIME]
Stumping for Wife, Clinton Can Help, or Hurt, Anybody [Des Moines Register]
Bill vs. Oprah [GoogleFight]

Bill Clinton: The Voltron of Iowa?