But, just when we're losing hope, we begin to see that the “comeback kid” still knows how to mount a comeback. Clinton revives his presidency in the movie's invigorating second half by casting himself as the referee in the ideological prize fight between the Democratic base and the Gingrich Republicans. He calls on a figure from his past, a cantankerous Dick Morris, to help him relearn and perfect the art of political triangulation.
Things don’t go smoothly at first; the Democratic base reacts to welfare reform in roughly the same way it’s reacting to Obama’s tax deal now. But Clinton's record of unspectacular but steady achievement, and the fact that Gingrich scares liberals half to death, wins the Democratic base back. (Clinton's having the foresight to get himself impeached didn't make it into the movie’s final cut.)
Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, what remains of the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party is hoping that the tax cut deal Obama negotiated with Republicans is the preview of a sequel to the Bill Clinton Story. (All Democrats fear that we're seeing a sequel to the Jimmy Carter Story.) Time will tell. But Dick Morris is still around (via Ben Smith) to remind us of a crucial change in the pre-production script for Clinton-2 (emphasis in the original):
As I’ve remarked before, Obama’s political career has never obliged him to learn lessons Clinton committed to memory back in Arkansas. Moreover, I've yet to see any sign that Obama acknowledges that he stands in need of Clintonian instruction. Unless and until he does, his triangulations will be a pale imitation of Clinton’s. You can decide for yourself whether that's a good or a bad thing.“Clinton never embraced policies he opposed. He supported welfare reform, the balanced budget, anticrime measures like guaranteed sentences. His agreements with the GOP were all designed to achieve what he wanted as part of his agenda.
“Obama is embracing centrist positions he opposes (no tax hike on the wealthy) as a result of not being able to make his positions work in the Senate. There is a big difference between moving to the center and fleeing to the center.”