By DALE McFEATTERS
Maybe because it’s so early, the presidential race has been lackluster to date. There are still too many candidates and they are overeager — eight Democratic hopefuls showed up for a weekday forum in Carson City, Nev. And the spectacle — like three Republicans with eight wives among them competing for the family-values vote — is mainly of interest only to junkies.
We have Maureen Dowd of The New York Times to thank for ladling a generous helping of gasoline on the embers, causing the frail facade of Democratic unity to go up in flames. You knew it couldn’t last, but this was a beaut.
Movie mogul David Geffen was once a close friend, fat cat and Lincoln Bedroom guest of Bill and Hillary Clinton, who for more than a decade had a lock on Hollywood’s support.
But Geffen and the Clintons had a falling-out. And in an interview with Dowd, Geffen shared his opinions of Bill, Hillary and her presidential campaign. Hillary, he said, was polarizing, ambitious — “is there anybody more ambitious,” overproduced, over-scripted and very likely unelectable.
The former president, Geffen said, is still a “reckless guy” and nobody believes that in the last six years he “has become a different person.”
And the two of them are unprincipled and lie “with such ease it’s troubling.”
But that wasn’t the worst part.
Geffen and two other erstwhile Clinton chums threw a $1.3 million fund-raiser for Sen. Barack Obama, whom Geffen found “inspirational.” Words are just words; cash is the life’s blood of a campaign.
The Clinton camp fired back, accusing Obama’s campaign of tolerating vicious, personal attacks that don’t square with the candidate’s pledge to run a positive campaign, and demanding that he return Geffen’s campaign contribution and apologize.
Obama, who is still new to this stuff, said he didn’t see why he had to apologize for what somebody else said and, showing that he is catching on fast, said “absolutely” when asked if he was proud of Geffen’s financial support.
For her part, Clinton said she, for one, was still committed to “a very positive” campaign and sure didn’t want to see Democrats and their supporters “engaging in the politics of personal destruction,” the implication being that the Obama campaign was.
All of this points up a truism of presidential politics: The Lincoln Bedroom isn’t forever; it’s only for the night.