Skip to comments.CLINTON haters...you're gonna LOVE this!!!
Posted on 03/28/2002 9:35:18 AM PST by libber-tarian
I recently wrote an article in which I referred to Bill Clinton as a shallow man, and was asked to explain myself by a reader who went on to claim that Bill Clinton "righted the wrongs of active exclusion, willful ignorance, and offensive pity" and "[led] the nation through its longest period of peacetime expansion of economic, social, and individual opportunity."
What I've never understood about the Clinton apologists is that they apparently value talk over action. Other than make speeches filled with feel-good rhetoric, what did Bill Clinton actually do? People may have felt comforted by his words, believed that he cared about them and felt their pain, but in the end, all of Clinton's talk amounted to nothing.
Whenever I talk to supporters of Bill Clinton, I ask them to list the things he did. Most people can't name a single thing, and instead credit him with presiding over an expanding economy, as though coincidence--the dumb luck of having his presidency aligned with the business cycle--somehow proves that he caused it to happen. But what did he do that was so beneficial to the economy? For that matter, what actions did he take to "right the wrongs of active exclusion"? Don't ask, don't tell? Hardly the epitome of inclusiveness.
My memory may be failing me, but when I try to recall the achievements of the Clinton presidency, I can name only two of any significance: Welfare Reform and NAFTA. Despite the fact that neither of these bills originated from the Clinton Administration, I do give him credit for signing them; most Democrats would not have signed either bill. On the other hand, neither of these bills could pass Congress until the Republicans took over in 1994. So I guess the real achievement of the Clinton presidency was scaring enough people during his first two years in office that he put the Senate and the House of Representatives in the hands of the Republicans for the first time since 1954. But I doubt the fans of Clinton would celebrate that monumental achievement.
As far as the economy goes, there is no doubt that Bill Clinton presided over a favorable economy and a remarkable expansion in the stock market. But remember that most of this expansion was due to the rise of the Internet and the resulting speculation on Internet stocks. Remember when the economy started to go south? That's right, just when the Internet bubble burst. Al Gore's attempt to take credit for inventing the Internet notwithstanding, nobody in their right mind would claim that the Clinton Administration was somehow responsible for the Internet boom.
But if you insist on crediting Bill Clinton with the rise of the stock market, then you must also blame him for the "irrational exuberance" that led to its collapse. You must therefore also blame him for the recession. Otherwise, you're crediting him for handing out the drinks at the party and blaming his successor--the guy who has to clean up the mess--for everyone's hangover the next day.
Getting back to my claim that Bill Clinton is a shallow man, it seems to me that someone who squanders an opportunity to achieve greatness and instead uses his power for nothing more than the satisfaction of his own wants and needs is shallow. Bill Clinton is pathologically self-absorbed, which is why he constantly found himself bungling into scandal after scandal.
Now, one may scream that there was a vast right-wing conspiracy to bring down Bill Clinton; even if you believe that nonsense, you have to wonder why Bill Clinton went out of his way to hand his enemies so much ammunition on such a regular basis. And when I say scandal, I'm not even thinking about the "lying under oath" thing, which Clinton supporters dismiss as inconsequential. I'm talking about other serious stuff, all of which is well-known to people who were paying attention, but most of which was underreported due to the media's focus on the more salacious--and therefore media-friendly--Clinton scandals.
If you'll recall: Under Bill Clinton, the White House became a glorified motel, where the Lincoln Bedroom was rented out to contributors who coughed up enough dough. Military secrets ended up in the hands of the Chinese, who laundered money that ended up in the hands of the Democratic National Committee just in time for Clinton's re-election campaign. Al Gore was dispatched to hold illegal fundraisers at Buddhist temples, where he collected money from dozens of nuns who--despite having taken vows of poverty--each managed to produce a $5,000 check for Clinton's re-election. His top fundraiser, Terry McAuliffe, the current head of the aforementioned DNC, made $18,000,000 from a $100,000 investment in Global Crossing, now bankrupt and under investigation for shady government contracts during the Clinton Administration. When Enron's Ken Lay was staying in the Lincoln Bedroom during the Clinton Administration, Enron came to ask the federal government to underwrite foreign loans on 20 different occasions; on 19 of those 20 occasions, the Clinton Administration said yes, to the tune of $2 billion dollars. And let us not forget about selling presidential pardons to drug-runners and fat-cat tax-cheat felons on the lam in Europe. Or the looting of White House furniture for their new home, which is unfortunately located in my home state. And all that's without even getting into Whitewater, the Travel Office firings, or the perjury scandal.
Bill Clinton is a low-life thief, a petty swindler, and a smooth-talking scam artist more suited for Tammany Hall than the White House. But I will admit that Bill Clinton was a man of action, as long as that action involved greasing his palms (or anything other body part for that matter) or furnishing his house. Somehow, Bill Clinton found the time to conduct all of that "business", but he was too busy to take Osama bin Laden when the Sudanese government offered to hand him over to us in 1996. Think about it: we wouldn't be chasing bin Laden around the globe right now if Clinton had focused a little more on taking care of the threats against us and a little less on figuring out every conceivable way that he could cash in on his power or use it to get women.
Which reminds me...as far as giving Clinton credit for presiding over a time of peace, what kind of peace was it? During the Clinton Administration, there were 6 major terrorist attacks against the U.S. which left over 415 dead and 6,500 injured. It seems to me that it's very easy to maintain the illusion of peace by ignoring the dangers that surround us. You may look back fondly at the 1990s as a time of peace, but it was a peace during which we relaxed while our enemies were getting stronger and preparing to annihilate us. That's a pretty shallow peace if you ask me.
Bill Clinton is shallow because he spoke often of his convictions but did nothing to realize them. He's shallow because he was given remarkable gifts and the opportunity to do great things with them, yet he achieved nothing substantial. In the end, his presidency amounted to little more than talk and corruption. He rarely took any action unless it somehow benefitted him. But whenever action mattered for the good of the nation, Bill Clinton was nowhere to be found. And that is why the man who spent the final days of his presidency fretting about his legacy will find it to be recorded quite accurately by history: Bill Clinton is a shallow, failed man.
Can I give you my mother-in-law's email address to add to your list of Clinton-lovers?
Actually, I suspect the business establishment saw to it that Clinton was elected in '92 precisely so as to get NAFTA and GATT passed. Without a pro-"free" trade Dem president in office, the congressional Dems would have opposed NAFTA and GATT, and they would never have gotten through Congress.
EXACTLY!!! These are the only real accomplishments--and both are Republican initiatives. Welfare reform, in particular, was a staggering success and helps explain the long run of prosperity.
He's shallow because he was given remarkable gifts
The only gifts the Clintons had were the ones they stole from the White House.
Whenever MurryMom asks Bush supporters to list the things Bush has DONE, all she receives in response is some vague reference to tax cuts. When MurryMom points out that Dumbya's tax cuts have reversed the Clinton-Gore budget surpluses, along with higher interest rates, no employment growth, and a stagnant DJIA, the Bushies generally retreat into their standard Repukie rants about Monica and oral sex.