The Therapy Sessions
Friday, June 25, 2004
It's my dirty secret: I don't think Clinton was all that bad. True, if he were somehow running again for president, I'd vote against him, but not with the same fervor that I will vote against a paleo-liberal like John Kerry.
I thought Clinton's ideas about reforming health care were wacky. After that disaster, I admired the way he just stepped out of the business world and let the '90's boom happen. The economy takes off when the politicians are distracted with other things.
Clinton made two vital things reality: NAFTA and welfare reform. Neither went far enough, but both are steps in the right direction.
This editorial, in my opinion, is too critical. But this story excerpted from it does sum up the Clinton I know and can't quite hate:
I last saw Clinton near my own house in the celebrated Notting Hill district of London in 2002. He decided to do a walkabout, and plunged into the crowd, an activity he enormously and palpably enjoyed, and which delighted everybody. No one ever matched him as a simple campaigner. It was the thing he did best--perhaps the only thing he did well. It might be said, indeed, that he never did anything else.
In Notting Hill he was not running for office. The locals were not his voters. But he behaved as if they were and they loved it. The old con master was in his element. He found himself in a pub and ordered drinks all round. All cheered. The news spread to the vast crowd outside, and it cheered too. Adrenaline racing, fists thumping chests, hugging and handshaking, wisecracking and slogan swapping, Clinton worked that crowd for twenty minutes, leaving it hoarse and exhausted, delighted and deeply impressed when he swept off in his limo. The only unhappy man was the bartender, who was never paid for ol' Bill's round.