Bill Clinton Makes a Return to Relevancy (August 5, 2009)

Much is being made today of Bill Clinton’s successful diplomatic exchange with naughty toddler nation North Korea for the safe return of captive American jounalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee. This fine article from John F. Harris and Mike Allen on Politico does a much better job of explaining what this bit of good press does for William Jefferson’s legacy better than I ever could:

No President and no period in American history is ever perfect. However, I have always regard the years of the Clinton reign with a smile. Yes, he often had problems keeping his pants on, but as Hillary Clinton famously said during the course of the 2008 Democratic primaries, “What didn’t you like about the 90s? The peace or the prosperity?” Toche Madame Secretary.

True story: when Boop graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign in the summer of 2000, with a BA in English Literature, famously useless, and an even more banal GPA, she had her pick of three different jobs upon her move to Chicago. All were corporate, carrying a very decent wage for a 22 year-old, and not one of these did Boop solicit herself. She just posted her scanty resume on, sat back and let people come to her. No folks, this is not a fairy tale or my own wishful thinking. Those were the days. Kids coming out of undergrad now are lucky to find part-time janitorial work.

But I digress: my admiration for his work from 1992-2000 aside, I grew completely incensed with Bill Clinton during the last race for the White House. Rather than functioing as the overall asset to the Democratic party that he should have been, Clinton reverted to the petulant child he is prone to being when he doesn’t get his own way or enough attention. Hillary displayed far more grace and sportsmanship than her hubby when it came time for her to concede the nomination to Obama. Afterward, even while promising full cooperation, the former President more often than not behaved lukewarmly to then-candidate Obama, so much so that the eventual winner of the race gamely joked about it at last Fall’s Alfred E. Smith dinner/roast.

I wished Bill Clinton would go away for awhile, and he finally did, as Obama assembled his new administration, giving Hillary the high profile cabinet post of Secretary of State. But now the Emperor is back and he’s got new clothes on. Sure it’s somewhat annoying that we continue to placate North Korea’s demands for respect and deference when they have failed to play by the rules oh, pretty much ever. But no matter. Bill Clinton looks like a hero again – and my guess is he’s going to be reluctant to give that up, or the media attention that comes with it.


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