Someone should run a poll that asks, "If the three candidates for president of the united states in 2012 were Rick Perry, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton, which would you choose?" and also asks, "If the three candidates for president of the United States in 2012 were Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton, which would you choose?"
The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution would have to be repealed to make a Clinton run feasible, but stranger things have happened. People react when I float this idea by saying, "How could he do that to Hillary?" But that question has never really stopped Bill Clinton in the past.
For Mr. Clinton, it would be a post-Monica redemption from the American people whose approval he still craves.
For the Democratic Party, it could be a path out of the high-unemployment, slow-to-no-growth swamp into which it has been led by President Obama.
Two things I read recently piqued my interest about this possibility. The first was a New York Times account of Mr. Clinton's speech yesterday in Albany, in which Mr. Clinton (who would be 66 on election day 2012) praised Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers: "They showed up, passed the budget on time, didn't raise taxes — it's an amazing, amazing thing for you." It was the "didn't raise taxes" part that caught my attention. A Daily News account of the same speech has Mr. Clinton "seemingly" backing President Obama's proposed tax increase, but the word "seemingly" is a sign that might be pushing it a bit: all Mr. Clinton seems to have said is "You can't balance the budget ... nationally without a combination of adequate revenues, appropriate spending cuts, and growth," which even I agree with.
The second was the announcement by Knopf that Mr. Clinton will be out in November with a new book "on the urgent challenges facing the United States and offering a plan to get America 'back into the future business.'" From the announcement: "I wrote this book because I love my country and I'm concerned about our future," writes Clinton. "As I often said when I first ran for President in 1992, America at its core is an idea..."
This blog post is not an endorsement. But if the economy heading into next year remains in low-growth, high-unemployment conditions, there will be a lot of Democrats and independents who don't buy the idea that it's all the fault of the Republican House of Representatives or Europe or a Japanese earthquake or Hurricane Irene, and they will be looking for options beyond Mr. Obama.