It seems as if Bill Clinton is everywhere these days, even at events for which he can’t charge a six figure speaking fee. Later this month MSNBC will run a special where they anoint him “The President of the World”. In this regard, Clinton follows a line of Democrats who seem to be better ex-presidents than presidents. Exhibit A in this gallery would be Jimmy Carter.
I wonder why this is. Perhaps it’s because Clinton and Carter both left office while still relatively young and vigorous. It could also be that their presidencies were viewed by them as huge missed opportunities.
But with Bill Clinton I can’t help think of what might have been. He entered the White House with an extremely high energy level and a strong level of executive competence. Despite nagging concerns about his womanizing, hopes were high (at least in some quarters) at the beginning of his administration.
He also started his presidency with a solid bloc of voters who were against him and everything he stood for. They would have liked nothing better than to make him a one term president.
Clinton gave his enemies all the ammunition they needed by having his infamous affair with a White House intern. His actions effectively shut down the remaining years of his presidency. While broadcast radio was becoming increasingly sordid due to the rise of Howard Stern type shock jocks, the last thing America needed was the occupant of the Oval Office making Altoid and cigar sex easy fodder for late night comedians.
Perhaps Clinton’s latest round of do-gooding is meant as recompense for how he blew it for the American people. With Clinton one never knows. But seeing the stature and respect he has attained on the world stage makes one realize even more that when he had his one chance to do great things for the American public, he let us down.