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The Art of Being Clinton

By the Cynic
cynic@politicalusa.com

1/28/2001

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I have never written a column about President Clinton.

Part of the reason is that there was just a plethora of writers who could capably tear him a new one every time he mis-spoke, mis-stepped or flat out lied, and I did not think I could add much too the heap.  I've heard many comedians and writers declare Clinton as a 'gift from God' for material purposes. The other part of the equation is that I entered into the arena a bit late to comment on the really juicy stuff and I had an election to cover. (Which by the way, I'm really missing the easy column material that Al Gore provided me with)

Well, my conscience is not allowing me to let the opportunity pass. I have to take a shot at him. I cannot in good faith continue commenting on our national state without addressing the effect Bill and his overly opportunistic wife, Hillary(!), have had on us.

Clintonism; What is it and how do we get rid of it?

Most Presidents leave some kind of short catch phrase that sums up their Presidency. Roosevelt left us with the New Deal (ugh!). Johnson, the Great Society (ugh!). George H.W. Bush left us with "Read my Lips" (sometimes ugh! just isn't enough). 

What exactly is Bill Clinton's catch phrase? Many will tell you impeachment. Others will say, "It's the economy, stupid," and yet others will say it's "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

The truth is, if one term could sum up his Presidency it would be Clintonism, the act of using your executive power to cover your own actions and doing it so blatantly that no one believes that you are actually trying to cover something up.

When "that woman", Ms. Lewinsky, was due to testify before a grand jury, our President decided he knew where to find the notorious terrorist, Osama Bin Laden. He was operating out of an aspirin factory in Sudan, of course. This particular news cycle…err, I mean day, was the only time we could be able to bomb it. How could he help it that it just happened to coincide with Monica's testimony. Purely coincidental, I am sure.

When Bill and Hillary needed campaign money they turned to good friend Denise Rich. Her husband has a little problem with the law, but who's gonna turn down a load of cash? So, on his way out he decided to help her husband.  Full pardon. Oh, it may look like Clinton was just helping out a friend's husband who has been a fugitive in Switzerland and has a $750,000 bounty on his head but he did not sell a pardon. How stupid would he have to be? This is obviously just coincidental. No President could do anything so obviously illegal.

Text Box: ~Clintonism; the act of using your executive power to cover your own actions and doing it so blatantly that no one believes that you are actually trying to cover something up.~
What about Hillary's gifts? You know, those gifts she received the day prior to her being sworn in as a United States Senator. Those were, of course, just housewarming presents. There is nothing about registering for $190,000 worth of housewarming presents that could be illegal, just because they happened to be given the day before she was about to enter Congress (after which they would be illegal). Just because the timing is suspicious, doesn't mean the act is, does it?

How about the fact that the rent the Clinton's charge for a piece of their New York property for Secret Service detail happens to be exactly the same amount that their mortgage is. I know it seems odd, but no former President would be so blatant as to make taxpayers pay for an expensive house that they won't spend much time in. I'm sure that once again, it is purely coincidental. No one could be that obvious.

The fact is, Bill Clinton mastered deception like no one else. He had the capacity to lie to his supporters, lie about lying to them, and then cover up that lie with some other action and just bite his lip and somehow make it all better once he got caught. This reminds me of that scene from the Blues Brothers, when Joliet Jake was able to stop Carrie Fisher from shooting him in the sewer just by giving her "the look". She was butter after "the look". Bill Clinton has brought "the look" to an art form. It drove his opponents crazy, and brought his supporters even closer to him.  As many have stated before me, Bill Clinton made his supporters comfortable with their own flaws, and may I add, even more comfortable with his.

Where does he go from here?

Bill Clinton will never leave the spotlight. Unlike most former Presidents, he will not give the new administration the ability to run things as they see fit without him commenting on it in some way or another. He'll be on Larry King saying things like," You know, Larry, I don't understand why George Bush can't just leave my policies in place. I worked harder on that particular piece of legislation than any other." 

He's young, popular and has an affinity for Hollywood types. He will be handing out Golden Globes and holding press conferences when the spirit moves him. He has Hillary to provide him with a political stage, and 2004 may be just the year to set the stage for him to attempt to become our nation's first 'First Gentleman' (once again irony finds a way to give this man a poetic balance).

For all those writers who have sent off "Why I will miss Bill Clinton" columns, you are premature. He's going nowhere. Your 'gift from God' will remain front and center and will provide you with as many columns and Saturday Night Live sketches as you will need. Good thing, because dusting off Dan Quayle material and passing it off as George Bush material was just a bit too obvious. It just goes to show  you that for Clintonism to be effective, you have to be a Clinton.

© The Cynic, 2001

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