By Peter Lucas
Two for the price of one.
That was the phrase Bill & Hill used when Bill Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, with Hillary at his side, ran for president in 1992.
Some people laughed, some people scoffed. Some people thought the idea of a co-presidency was of a joke.
But the vast majority of people who voted in 1992 bought into it, and Bill Clinton was elected president over incumbent George H.W. Bush, and then he was re-elected in 1996.
As first lady (and co-president) Hillary carved out an unprecedented role for herself as a national policy maker, Al Gore, Clinton's vice president, seemed almost like an afterthought, and perhaps he was.
The co-presidency had its rough moments, however. Bill Clinton, in an unprecedented White House move, named his spouse chair of his Task Force on Health Care, which came up with a universal health-care plan to cover all Americans. The plan bombed in Congress, although it did become the basis for the troubled Affordable Health Care Act, known as ObamaCare.
Then there were the ongoing investigations that trailed the Clintons, ranging from the billing practices of her Little Rock law firm, Whitewater, the various "bimbo eruptions," as they were called, the mysterious suicide of her friend, Vince Foster, who was the assistant White House counsel, the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and so on. But nothing stopped the Clintons.
The Clintons survived all the scandals, while many who worked for them, or were around them, did not. Not only that, after years of the inept and incoherent presidency of Barack Obama, people longingly look back on the Clinton administration with such fondness that one might think Bill Clinton was Ronald Reagan and Jack Kennedy rolled into one.
The Clintons are a unique couple in American life, politics and government, so unique that it is a sure thing they would have survived the sinking of the Titanic.
Now, for the second time, Hillary Clinton is running for president. And to the millions of Clinton worshipers, it makes little difference that she is coming off both a mediocre stint as a U.S. Senator as well as an undistinguished four-year term as Obama's secretary of state.
The Clintons are a tag team. While Hillary can pick her spots where she agrees with Barack Obama, like keeping the lid on over what really happened at Benghazi, or supporting Obama on the Iranian weapons negotiations, Bill Clinton can remain on the outside and criticize the president for misleading Americans over keeping their health-care plans and their doctors.
And, speaking of Benghazi, where four Americans were killed on her watch, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, Hillary has shrewdly tried to put the issue of lax security and a cover-up to rest, calling the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi her "biggest regret."
"You know, you make these choices based on imperfect information," she said following a speech a week ago. "And you make them to, as we say, the best of your ability. But that doesn't mean that there's not going to be unforeseen consequences, unpredictable twists and turns."
This is a far cry from her cold testimony before Congress on those deaths when she said confrontationally: "What difference at this point does it make?"
She later found out that the death of those four men does make a difference, especially as she and Obama still have not leveled with the American people about what really took place in Benghazi.
Her "regret" over the terrorist attack at Benghazi on her watch is a sign that she is preparing to deal with the issue before she officially announces her 2016 presidential candidacy. It is not enough, of course, but it is a first small step in the right direction.
And just as you know Bill Clinton consulted with Hillary when he was governor, a presidential candidate, and then president, you can be certain that Hillary is consulting with him now, especially on Benghazi.
There are millions of people in the country, including Democrats, who would not vote for Hillary Clinton for president. That was proven when Barack Obama defeated her in the 2008 primaries.
In 2016 a vote for Hillary will be a vote for Bill, two for the price of one. Millions will find that reassuring.
Unlike Obama, President Hillary would at least have someone with judgment and experience around to back her up when the next crisis phone call comes in. With her record on Benghazi, she will need it.
If Hillary is elected, the country will not only get its first woman president, it will get Backup President Bill as well.
Email Peter Lucas at firstname.lastname@example.org.