Bill Clinton's story is more uplifting than those of his dynastic blue-blood predecessor and successor. Their achievements were spawned more from lineage than from labor, more from inheritance than from intelligence. One can only imagine the world's bemusement when Clinton, the gifted orator, was succeeded by W., the pathetic bumbler. How ridiculous we Americans must have seemed in January 2001, to have 'selected' so buffoonish a man.
The differences between Clinton and Bush are palpable. What stark contrast the outside world perceived. Smart to dumb. Clever to clumsy. Open to closed. Canny to cocky. Bill Clinton epitomized rags to riches America. His life gave hope to boys and girls of humble means with giant dreams. Their mantra, 'If Clinton could do it, so could I' became a dominant theme.
In the early days of the George W. Bush Presidency, the differences between he and Clinton were obvious. Today those differences are perilous. Where Clinton engaged the world, Bush enraged it. And today, to the chagrin of tens of millions of Americans, our image in the world has morphed from feted to hated, as the President we are believed to have chosen menaces and mangles the world.
One might presume Clinton's time out of office would have dulled his glimmer. But it hasn't. It's even brighter now. Fourteen years after his election to the Presidency, Bill Clinton attracts every age every-where. It's a marvel to see. Just this Friday, on the Los Angeles campus of UCLA, Clinton mesmerized the crowd of thousands who came to hear him promote Proposition 87, a State measure to increase California's use of alternative energy and reduce its dependence on foreign oil.
The crowd, 5000 strong and comprised mostly of students from UCLA, went wild at first sight of white-maned Bill Clinton. He was electrifying. Women, mostly young, pushed against the barricades, straining for the clearest view. Men, mostly young, did the same. They waved and cheered. Their respect was endearing. As we elders shouted "Bill!, Bill!", the youngsters shouted "Mr. President! Mr. President!" Their reverence was inspiring. Particularly to those of us who lived through the tempestuous Clinton years. Through the vast right wing conspiracy that unpatriotically thwarted his Presidency. Not because he was inept in his office. But because he was a peasant, absent the wealthy Republican pedigree suitable for the job. The vast right wing conspiracy was by nature an aristocracy conspiracy which considered the Oval Office off limits to a poor Southern Baptist from the rural Arkansas plains.
But no such feelings existed on Friday. Bill Clinton was a hero to this young crowd. They rushed the gates to shake his hand, get a close up, digitize the moment. Bill Clinton's a rock star.
One would presume with such popularity that Mr. Clinton would work harder to mobilize his young supporters and the sizeable disenfranchised Democratic base. That he would vociferously promote his party's platform in the run up to this critical midterm election. That at the very least he would expend the maximum effort to defend every aspect of his Presidency.
In the nearly six years since leaving office, Clinton has been much too submissive toward the right wing attacks on his Presidency. He has rarely risen up in support of the successes of his own Administration. It doesn't take a psychiatrist, psychologist, psychoanalyst or any kind of shrink to recognize that much of Clinton's acquiescence stems from his codependent pseudo-father relationship with the elder Bush. And Bushes being Bushes, it's likely the senior Bush has purposely cultivated this "fatherly" relationship to capitalize on Clinton's paternal needs, gain his allegiance, and keep him from publicly decrying the ineptitude of Bush 41's indulged biological son. Sadly, Clinton's compliant refusal to criticize the younger Bush has granted the Bush Presidency a level of credibility it does not deserve.
To the Bush family, no allegiance is thicker than blood. Bill Clinton, the fatherless son, has been used. Although quite able to affect the sentiments of his party, he has kept infuriatingly quiet, much to the detriment of his Party and his nation, which could definitely use his help.
Especially now, more than ever, Bill Clinton must speak out! For in the throes of a potential nuclear holocaust with North Korea, he's being maliciously smeared by Senator John McCaine. Following McCaine's lead, the Republican Congress is placing blame for the debacle in North Korea on the Presidency of Bill Clinton. They have released themselves and George W. Bush from culpability for the blunders they have made. In an under-handed ploy to pass the blame on to Clinton, they're banking that Clinton's high diplomatic standards will prevent him from publicly challenging a sitting president on the issues of the day.
But Clinton must speak out. And he must do it now before the midterm elections. Cleaning out the corrupt ineffectual Houses of Congress is essential to putting this nation back on track and thwarting nuclear disaster.
The Bush Administration, and the entire Republican Congress are guilty of creating this mess with North Korea. When Condoleeza Rice says America has dealt directly with North Korea in the past, she means Clinton's America dealt directly with North Korea. Not Bush's America, McCaine's America, or Rice's America. Their America has done nothing but treat North Korea like a naughty child, attributing pejoratives like "bad behavior" to the actions of a sovereign state of 23 million people. Even if one were to accept their notion that North Korea is a belligerant child, one would still be wise to deal with North Korea directly. One should never walk away from a child with a weapon any more than one should walk away from an adult with a weapon. Both the child and adult must be dealt with clearly, directly and honestly.
Bush's constant mantra that his most solemn responsibility as President is to protect the people of this nation was most certainly abrogated when he failed to take every diplomatic action necessary with Iraq, Iran, Syria, Palestine, Venezuela and North Korea. One negotiates directly to diffuse a problem. One communicates directly to avoid a problem. Abandonment, avoidance, stubbornness and dismissiveness are not solutions. They are the behaviors of a child, and not consistent with the actions of a super power that warrants esteem.
Since leaving office nearly six years ago, Bill Clinton has vociferously defended his Presidency only once. It happened on September 26th after Clinton was blind-sided by Fox pseudo-journalist, Chris Wallace. Democrats approved strongly of Clinton's actions, believing he set a powerful tone for his Party. Interestingly, that Fox News face-off happened prior to John McCaine's October 10th attacks on Clinton. Following McCaine's attacks, one can only hope Mr. Clinton will maintain an even more aggressive defense of his Presidency. Compared to the bungled Presidency of George W. Bush, Mr. Clinton has much to be proud of.
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