Will Clinton Campaign for Kerry?
CNN, which posed the question, quotes Bill Clinton as answering: "don't know if or when."
Where could Clinton help out? CNN can think of only one place in which he might:
With six electoral votes up for grabs in Arkansas November 2, Clinton could help sway undecided voters in his home state, which he carried in 1992 and 1996.RealClear has a Zogby giving the President a point over Kerry, 46 to 45 (Ralph has 2%). An Arkansas News Bureau/Stephens Media Group survey, puts Bush up by 9, 53 to 43.
I don't think Arkansas will fall to Kerry no matter who campaigns for him; likewise, I still can't picture Oregon voting for the President. ("Wyden, do something!")
Clinton won't campaign for Kerry in Arkansas or any other forum where the results of his efforts might be measurable. He can't turn mud into gold; and if he tries and publicly fails, he loses a great deal of credibility. That credibility is critical to his power within the Democratic Party. Without it he couldn't attract the cash and celebrities, or keep McAuliffe in power.
He'll let Kerry sink beneath the waves, explain they did all they could but had a bad candidate (not unreasonably), and retain his power base for Hillary's campaign.
I have never bought that "Clinton as Democrat Overlord" line. I think it's at least partially the creation of people like Rush Limbaugh and Dick Morris who rely on it for their own financial purposes.
McAuliffe stayed in place because he was a great fundraiser and there was no one to replace him. As soon as Kerry got the nomination, Jim Sasso was brought in to run the DNC. (Sasso's since been moved to Kerry's plane, replaced at the DNC by Mike Whouley.)
Clinton's about to open his Presidential Library and Amusement Park. That's his legacy, as is the media-generated label of kingmaker. I agree that he wants to guard that. If he sees Kerry with a shot, and he's asked, he'll do something for Kerry. JF may not want him.