A Clinton Rescue?

You won’t read this in American newspapers, but the London Telegraph reports that the John Kerry presidential campaign has decided that they need Bill Clinton to energize the lackluster candidate that John Kerry has proved to be:

Top advisers to the Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry, have asked Bill Clinton to play a starring role in the final months of the Massachusetts senator’s campaign. …
“There has been talk about the danger of Bill Clinton overshadowing John,” said a senior Democrat last week, “but the decision has been taken to accept him as being centre stage and hope that some of the magic rubs off”.

After spending the past few months worrying that the release of Clinton’s memoirs, due in mid-June, would drown out the struggling Kerry campaign as Clinton attracted all of the limelight, the Democrats now appear to hope that Kerry gets buried. As has been remarked by various pundits, it seems that the more people get to know Kerry, the better they like Bush. Even Kerry campaign workers note the problem:

“I’ve never heard him tell a joke,” said one campaign worker at a Kerry fund-raising party last week. “I’ve never seen him look as if he was genuinely enjoying himself. He just needs to come across as more human. If Clinton can help with that, then we sure need that help.”

He needs something, as polling indicates. Bush has weathered two terrible months on Iraq, primarily in the violent insurgencies and the Abu Ghraib scandal. However, Kerry has not taken advantage of the bad news in any meaningful form. Although Bush’s approval ratings have dropped, Kerry’s numbers haven’t risen. Clearly, Democrats are worried about Kerry’s prospects, especially if the transfer of Iraqi sovereignty goes well and the economy continues to perform as strongly as it does.
Engaging Clinton has its dangers as well as its benefits. Clinton can work a crowd like no one else in American politics today, and his ability to communicate intellectually and emotionally recalls the best of Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy, and Bobby Kennedy. However, it’s precisely these abilities which will inevitably lead voters to compare the sparkling Clinton to the dry and starchy Kerry and find the latter wanting. It also runs the risk of rubbing not just the glamour of Clinton but also the stench of his scandals onto Kerry, not just Lewinsky and impeachment but also the pardon party and missing furniture that erupted at the end of his presidency. And don’t think the Republicans will miss a chance to remind people, either.
If nothing else, Clinton’s involvement will put an end to the rumors of a Torricelli option at the convention, where Kerry bails in order to give Hillary an opportunity to play the white knight. That alone may be worth something, at least in the morale department.
UPDATE: For Adaplant, take a look at my new post on CBS’ polling. I didn’t even bother with the Zogby poll, as Marc from Cranial Cavity nailed it. If you want to build a poll every bit as reliable as Zogby’s, simply put up a website, set up a free registration at Pollhost.com, and start counting the numbers. That’s essentially what Zogby did.