Top Time Editor Lauds Bill Clinton as Michael Jordan of Politics

On Sunday’s edition of the Chris Matthews Show (syndicated by NBC), Time managing editor Richard Stengel applied the usual superlatives to Bill Clinton, in describing how he will overshadow any mere Vice President if Hillary is elected: "But the other thing that’s going to be hard is, if you have Michael Jordan on your team, i.e., Bill Clinton when it's a troubled game, aren't you going to call him and say, ‘Let's play?’ If you're the Vice President, you're completely eclipsed by him."

This Michael Jordan encomium means more coming from Stengel, who played some college B-ball for Princeton.

Stengel also felt the 2008 race was shaping up like Bill’s win in 1992, on the heels of a "Bush recession." Chris Matthews previewed that chat: "When we come back, Republicans already have an unpopular war to run on. Now it looks like a recession. Are they bound to lose in November?"

Matthews echoed that thought on the other side of the commercial break: "If past elections in bad economic times are any guide at all, Republicans have a steep cliff to climb this year. Jimmy Carter and George Bush Sr. are two examples where the party in control, the president control, lost in a bad economy. As if the Iraq war and an unpopular George W. Bush weren’t enough, as recently as last week the Republican candidates were denying out there that things are getting as bad as they seem."

He asked Stengel if any Republican can win, and Stengel replied: "Can any Republican win with this? In some ways it helps Romney because he's the turnaround guy. He can say, ‘I fixed the Olympics, I fixed Massachusetts, I can do this.’ But the problem is it’s so hard to run against the economy. It’s a redux of '92 when Bill Clinton ran against the Bush recession. Now they're going to run against a Bush Recession II."

(MRC transcript by Geoff Dickens.)

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis