As we near an election that will render Bill Clinton an ex-president as of January 20, 2001, it is tempting to play out the scenarios of what is left for this man to do.
He is, by today's standards, still a young man with easily two or three decades of life ahead.
He will, in this scenario, prosper and play lots of golf. He can be expected to receive a big publishing advance for any memoir he writes of his life in the White House. He will seek "to set the record straight." Hardly waiting, he has already stated he thinks Congressional Republicans should "apologize" for having attempted to impeach him for lying under oath and otherwise disgracing the office. He will also be invited to serve on the boards of directors of various corporations as well as give speeches.
If Hillary Rodham Clinton is elected to the U.S. Senate, Clinton will be seen to be the real political brains behind every vote she takes. That reflected power is of real value to him, while keeping her sufficiently busy to allow him his dalliances, now a minor factor in their mirage of a marriage. If she fails in her bid, she will need his continued reflected glory.
Clinton will seek to remain a power within the Democratic Party and, given its moral indifference to his past behavior, it is likely he will be called upon to help raise money, support candidates, and otherwise shape the Party's agenda.
There is another scenario that is far less rosy. Unlike former past-presidents, Clinton has murky connections to nations unfriendly to the U.S. It could well be that someone will want him to carry his secrets to the grave on an expedited schedule. Secret Service protection for former presidents is hardly on the level of the current occupant of the office.
An untimely crash of a private aircraft or other mishap could easily befall Clinton. One can easily think of a dozen reasons Iranian, Iraqi or Palestinian Islamists would want him dead. Having accepted campaign funding from the treasury of Red China and its surrogates, someone might feel it best to permanently close that chapter.
On a personal level, Clinton may well lose his license to practice law in Arkansas. Nixon resigned his license to avoid that fate following his disgrace. Clinton is likely to face a variety of lawsuits delayed while he held high office.
Taking the longer view, however, Clinton will do what Nixon did. He will devote the rest of his life to erasing the memory of the scandals of his years in office, particularly the infamous Monicagate episode. This will prove a futile exercise because presidential historians will dissect his eight years sufficiently to fill whole libraries with books well into the future. The revelations to come will stun everyone who recalls his years in office.
In another scenario, Clinton will accept a position that will keep him in the limelight. The same dark powers that conspired to make him President will seek some comparable office for him, most likely in the United Nations. In this scenario, you can expect to see him either chairing a variety of international conferences to further prepare his role on the international stage or heading an international organization just as Mikhail Gorbachev now heads the International Green Cross.
The future, of course, is hidden from us, but we can speculate based on what we know of past presidents and what we know about this soon to be ex-president. We will not lightly shed him like a snake's skin and move on. Clinton will be the 1990's doppelganger, the wraith, the ghost of years whose prosperity he claims, but which, in reality, he sought to sabotage.
We will look back at the 1990's as a dark decade splint between a wondrous explosion of the national economy and a frightening implosion of the nation's moral center. It may come to be called the Clinton contagion.
When Bill Clinton leaves the White House, the first order of business will be to fumigate it.
Alan Caruba is a popular commentator on current events. The founder of The National Anxiety Center, he writes a weekly column, Warning Signs.
© Alan Caruba, 2000
See our latest columns:
A House Manager faces the music
The Cynic knows whose debt it is, and it's not his
Giardiello reports on the freefall that was the Gore campaign
We call 'em: PoliticalUSA
Dorothy Anne Seese
wonders where's the outrage over the sacrifice of Palestinian children
The Cynic wants
you to pity the poor political junkie
View expressed are
those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Political