No successful president and first lady in American history were more scrutinized, investigated, harassed, bashed, hated and vilified than Bill and Hillary Clinton. After seven years of special prosecutors, a failed impeachment proceeding and over a $100 million dollars of taxpayer expense, except for a bad real estate investment in Arkansas, the president’s one provable crime was refusing to admit a consensual sexual relationship with a young White House intern. Very poor judgment but not an act that endangered lives, weakened the economy, compromised the environment, limited women’s rights or negatively affected the stature of the country in the eyes of our allies.
In fact, at the height of the anti-Clinton frenzy, Bill was able to soundly trounce the respected quintessential Republican icon, senate majority leader Bob Dole, and would have run rough shod over “W” in spite of the Lewinsky affair, if he could have run for a third term.
Today we have an intensely partisan Republican president, a Republican House and Senate, beholden to the same hard-right mean-spirited conservative special interests groups, for whom the word Clinton produces apoplexy. Its hard to figure how anyone as attractive, charming, articulate, highly intelligent, competent, moderate, fiscally conservative and universally respected outside the U.S., still represents Satan incarnate because like so many men, even right wing conservatives occasionally think with their penis.
It appears almost certain that President Bush lied or was lied to by the intelligence community in structuring his rationale for preemptively invading Iraq, notwithstanding the merits of the decision. It is almost certain that someone in the administration out of pique, leaked to a less than moderate Robert Novak, the name of a covert CIA agent, perhaps risking her life and the lives of others. It is highly unlikely that John Ashcroft can, or will, conduct a thorough and impartial investigation, and yet the same crowd who screamed special prosecutor for Travel gate and Whitewater categorically reject the concept where the alleged wrongdoings and consequences are significantly greater.
Bill Clinton should have been impeached for not kissing and telling, Arnold Schwarzenegger elected governor for admitting multiple unwarranted gropings in his role as a “playful” Hollywood womanizer.
While media manipulation and revisionism are the cornerstone of political practitioners, it is difficult to have much sympathy for Rush Limbaugh who accumulated his fortune by attracting 20 million regular listeners for his brand of biased distortion, half truths and outright lies. The media as a source of great personal wealth looks a little different to Rush today as some have had the temerity to suggest that he may be slightly racist in his views, or even worse, have a drug addiction.
In the last twelve hours Californians, by a large majority, ousted Gray Davis and elected the Terminator/Bustamante ticket to overhaul a state in ruins. There is a striking similarity between the State of California and the State of the Union. Both have massive unsustainable budget deficits with no willingness to balance revenues and expenditures. At the national level it is almost certain that the social security trust fund will be bankrupt in less than 20 years, and with healthcare costs skyrocketing, it is difficult to envision any practical way to continue to support the military expenditures required to unilaterally and preemptively invade nations throughout the axis of evil, and not to significantly add to the already 43 million Americans with no health insurance. Consumer debt this year reached $2 trillion dollars, an all-time record. Nearly 3 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last two years, and gasoline prices, fuel oil shortages and blackouts would seem to indicate that not only California suffers from a failed energy policy. The vast majority of our states are in the red as potholes multiply and many children are sadly being left behind.
If Arnold proves that common sense is more important than qualifications for the governor’s job, perhaps it is time to recall Bush and amend the Constitution so that Austrian-born Schwarzenegger can run for president. We have abundant evidence that native born, scions of privilege, lawyers and career politicians are rarely effective leaders. While a Republican, Arnold in Europe is considered a liberal, with strong pro-choice, anti-gun, pro-education credentials. Arnold is not a good actor in spite of the fact that his films have made him very wealthy. By the same token, Ronald Reagan’s film roles will never be favorably compared to DeNiro, Pacino or Brando, and yet he proved to be an unusually successful leader.
Only in America could O.J. Simpson be making commercials and playing golf, while Jack Kevorkian rots in a Michigan jail for helping a terminally ill person end his life, a procedure legal in Oregon and in many other countries around the world. The same people who defend to the death the right to keep and bear arms and to humanely shoot their dogs, cats and horses when they become injured or terminally ill, deny Dr. Kevorkian the right to help humans in agony voluntarily end their misery.
Only in American is it possible for anyone to view unlimited pornography with a heavy dose of same sex gyrations on their computers, satellite and cable TVs and in virtually all hotel rooms. It is however, illegal for committed relationships among same sex couples to be accorded the sanctity of marriage. The conclusion to all of this is that the don’t tax and spend, supply side, trickle down theories, never have, nor ever will work. The Schwarzenegger approach of avoiding debate, taking no positions, talking funny and being good natured may well be the keys to our long-term prosperity.
Instead of Rumsfield, Madonna. Instead of Cheney, Stallone. Instead of Powell, Eminem. Politicians for the most part are lousy entertainers who rarely make us feel good and give us few reasons to smile. Perhaps Minnesotans were right in picking Jesse the Mind, who might well be available for a high level cabinet position in the Schwarzenegger administration. What a difference a day makes.