Video: GOP's poll dance

Image: Joe Scarborough
By Joe Scarborough Host, ‘Morning Joe'
updated 10/20/2006 12:38:03 PM ET 2006-10-20T16:38:03

Elvis has entered the arena.

That’s right. The King of Pols has swiveled his way into the national spotlight once again and made Democratic groupies swoon with delight.

In Bill Clinton Democrats see a rock star who slayed the Republican dragon, a Southern cracker who thumbed his nose at a million church ladies, a 60’s survivor who beat the rap.

The King’s presence usually translates into a gazillion dollars for Democrats nationwide.

But conservatives outside the Democratic base still view Clinton as a menacing figure.

Not Gary Glitter. Not even Elvis the Pelvis. Maybe more like the political version of redneck rocker Jerry Lee Lewis—that crazy, piano-playing fool who crushed keyboards with a single foot and married a 14-year-old cousin before remembering to divorce his previous wife.

We know Clinton left his cousins alone and stayed married to the wife of his youth. But he did manage to keep that Jerry Lee smirk on his face through impeachment, arm sales to China, perjury charges and disbarment proceedings.

His cockiness throughout eight scandal-ridden years made Bill Clinton the scourge of conservatives worldwide. And made him a rock star of unequaled power on the left.

Six years later that divide remains. And this week a familiar political question resurfaces: Will Bill Clinton do more harm than good for the Democratic candidates he supports?

If the past three elections are any indication, the quick answer is no.

But we live in different times.

America is on the run in Iraq, on the defensive over North Korea, impotent in Iran. We are shouldering a massive federal debt and watching jobs go overseas while illegal immigrants flood across our borders. Maybe this year more Americans will be ready to listen to a president who worked with the opposing party (however reluctantly), saw the budget balanced and the country at peace.

Maybe, just maybe, conservative parents will be more accepting of the King of Pol’s song. But I doubt it.

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