The Coming Divide

Bill Clinton’s now-famous “fairy tale” tirade , in which he accuses Barack Obama of being inexperienced and getting a free pass from the media, has drawn a fair amount of scorn from the Obama campaign and other Democrats, including Donna Brazile . But chances are this is just the beginning.

If the growing tension between the two camps is any indication, Bill’s rant previews what could become a bloody fight for the nomination. And when that fight is over, one team is bound to leave embittered.

If Hillary wins, Obama’s supporters will feel like they settled needlessly for a compromise candidate. And it won’t be like Dean supporters settling for Kerry. Unlike Dean, Obama won Iowa and still has a legitimate shot at the nomination. A loss to Hillary in February would be all the more devastating given that he was an actual player. If Obama wins, Bill’s remarks this week (and others likely to come) will haunt the party throughout the general. If the last Democratic president of the United States—still beloved within the party—doesn’t think Obama is prepared for the job, how can Democrats rally behind him? 

Add the netroots and other Democrats who don’t think Obama is far left enough , and you’re pretty far from the “united” “coalition” Obama has been pitching to voters.

Not that the Republican side will be any less messy. Each candidate has something for conservatives fiscal and social to fuss over: Romney’s checkered Massachusetts past, Huckabee’s FairTax claptrap, Giuliani’s personal life, McCain’s apostasy on immigration and campaign finance. That’s why, as we’ve said before, none of them is electable .