Clinton's Parting Gift To Himself
By Bonnie Chernin Rogoff
Founder, Jews For Life
February 1, 2001
I think Bill Clinton realized, as he tried so desperately to steal President George W. Bush's limelight on the day of his Inauguration, that history will not remember him kindly. As the outgoing President, he should have extended gracious courtesy and remained a background figure. Instead, he took center stage for an encore no one requested, one more pledge to convey, to clear his tarnished name.
After President Bush was sworn in and gave a unifying, uplifting speech, Clinton refused to leave, making himself a prime time nuisance. At Andrews Air Force Base, he gave a speech that was pitifully self-indulgent and appalling - not to mention totally inappropriate for an outgoing President. Paying lip service to the honorable servicemen, Clinton mused "how fortunate we are to have people of their caliber willing to sacrifice and serve" Talk about chutzpah! Speaking of the last eight years, he quoted John Podesta. "We did a lotta good," the con man assured himself and his staff four times, followed by the humorless quip, "I left the White House, but I'm still here. We're not going anywhere." Your admiration society has gotten small, Mr. Clinton. Nobody is listening. You're as powerless as a gelded horse.
Clinton's efforts will not be rewarded. While we are in the midst of a good economy, every President needs to establish his legacy in foreign policy, and this Clinton did not do. Instead, his name will always be linked to Monica and his other ladies-in-waiting, and impeachment. When people regard President Andrew Johnson's administration today, do his economic policies come to mind? One hundred years hence, only diehard historians will know or care about the economy of the Clinton presidency. To have achieved a legacy would have required judgment and character as much as ambition, and the ability to analyze a serious situation outside oneself to make responsible decisions. That means not selling U.S. technology to the Communist Chinese, and then bombing Kosovo just to divert attention from the breaking story. The history books will teach Clinton a bitter lesson. A safe, secure America is a bigger priority than an ego.
Otherwise, the Bush Inauguration went along smoothly and everyone obviously was having a great time despite inclement weather. The only other low point was the national embarrassment known as the National Organization of (Woeful) Women, and their paid parade participants. The poor gals must have left their protest disappointed. Lined up along Pennsylvania Avenue and leaning on the barricades, they were vocally obnoxious, making efforts to intercept the procession and spoil the event for President Bush and his family. Like their imperious boss Bill, they are meaningless without total control. Too bad. They won't get it; not with Senator Ashcroft at the helm of the Justice Department.
Clinton's parting speech was a gift to himself. Without cameras, crowds, and extrinsic approval, Clinton is substantively void. By contrast, George W. Bush's first speech as President was the essence of the man, inclusive, and with unabashed references to scripture, faith and God. It is obvious he is a true believer who will infuse into his office and agenda the convictions he holds dear. Religious people tend to be selfless. That will be a refreshing change from a narcissist who toted the King James version on selective Sundays when the photo ops were good.
Copyright 2001 by Bonnie Chernin Rogoff. Not to be reproduced in any fashion, in whole or in part, without written consent from the author. All rights reserved.