Yes, I was Bill Clinton in a pink dress, heels and a matching purse, at Saturday's pro-peace rally and march in Washington DC. I stood in front of the White House with a couple of campaign staffers as the march passed by. We were campaigning for Bill's (hopefully) new role as First Lady in 2008.
When the Bill-for-First-Lady.com campaign decided to go to the march we weren't sure how our pro-Hillary and pro-Bill campaign would be received by Democrats opposed to the war. But since the campaign's staff is all strongly opposed to the war we wanted to attend the march and to take a stand. So we were surprised (and frankly a bit disappointed) that out of the thousands of people who stopped to take Bill's photo, only a handful expressed concerns about Hillary's position on the war. Perhaps they, like us, know that Hillary would never have invaded Iraq in a war of aggression, never would have tortured prisoners and never would have exploited terrorism to get no-bid contracts to her college buddies and other cronies.
(even the police wanted to pose with Bill)
We were not prepared for the level of excitement and love that our "Bill" received from the marchers. When we filmed Bill's First Lady "campaign commercials" we'd seen the kind of Beatles-like public reaction that only Bill Clinton in a dress could possibly generate. But we still were not prepared for the kind of reaction we say today. There was a non-stop line of people taking photos of Bill. Perhaps walking by Bush's White House to see a Clinton campaigning was the kind of hope needed on this day. Or perhaps Democrats are finally learning that we can have our differences and still stick together.
To the people at the march, I was Bill in a pink dress. There wasn't "someone" behind the eye holes looking out. But to me, I was that someone looking out. And what I saw was dizzying. I don't know how Bill makes it through a day! Even with the help of other campaign staffers, I could not walk more than 2 feet without being asked to stop, wave and look into a camera. My butt was pinched at least 50 times (I'm not complaining). I was hugged, kissed, high-fived and otherwise embraced by the tens of thousands of people passing by.
Today's march was a pro-peace march in a time of war. And there were moments that overtook me in other ways. As the parents and families of soldiers passed by, the tears behind the mask dripped down my face. While Bill's face was smiling, I was in tears. Looking through my tiny window into the world around Bill, at the moms and dads whose children were being asked to fight for an unjust and immoral war, I felt a mix of rage and deep sadness. And I realized how high the stakes are, just like I am sure that both Bill and Hillary do when it comes to sending soldiers into war.
One mother asked for a photo with Bill. She told me (Bill?) that her daughter was in Iraq. My hands trembled as I hugged her. I whispered to her that I cannot imagine what she is dealing with, and told her that we'd (Americans) would do what it takes to end the war. She looked me in the eye - through the tiny hole into the mask, and said: "Yes we will."
There were times when the Tom behind Bill's mask had to leave the march, sit down and think about the gravity of today's event (and relax my feet - how the hell do women walk in heels?). I am part of Bill-for-First-Lady.com because I believe that this is one way to help ensure that Democrats can turn back the radical agenda of the Bush administration. If Hillary gets nominated, she'll need grassroots defenders at her side. Our strategy is to use up the anti-Bill ridicule and humor, to get Americans used to Bill as "First Lady," long before the election – when it really matters.
We're using comedy as part of a serious political strategy. But there are some things that just aren't fun. One such thing is war. From behind Bill's mask, as the coffins passed in front of the White House, as Cindy Sheehan stopped to let Bush know that he's accountable for his actions as President, as hundreds of thousands of Americans marched together for peace, I realized how much Americans want to go back to the kinds of years that were the Clinton years.
Over and over people came and talked to me (as if I were Bill) to thank me and to let me know that Hillary is their woman. The Clinton years – years when domestic issues came before boogeyman politics – were good for many Americans, and for America as a whole. Person after person wanted to let Bill know this. And so, today I learned what it must be like (just a tiny fraction of it) to be Bill Clinton. To have seduced an entire nation, to have a nation be in love with you and what you stand for.
To find out more about our campaign and campaign strategy, visit the site: Bill-for-First-Lady.com. There are videos of "campaign commercials" with Bill getting ready to his new role as First Lady - including one with Bill in a pink thong and one with Bill in a men's restroom struggling with panty hoes and high heels. Hopefully you will join our campaign (we won't make you wear the mask).
Cross-posted at Bill-for-First-Lady.com's Campaign Blog.disclosure