Saturday, May 3, 2008

Good-bye to Bubba!

I admit, I was one of those people who was starting to get nostalgic for old Bill Clinton, especially after living for so many years with President George W. Bush in the White House. Back in 2004, after reading Bill Clinton's memoir My Life, I found myself wishing that he was president once again. You've got to cut me a little slack, folks. Combat troops were being deployed to Iraq. Dubya was running against John Kerry (who lacked Bill's charisma), and the economy was just beginning its descent into the toilet.

I know I'm not alone in my post-9/11 admiration for Bubba Clinton. For years, I've read newspaper reports on Google News and watched people being interviewed on television who missed Bill and wished he would return to the throne again. But my warm, fuzzy memories of the man have dissipated during this presidential campaign. We've seen the ugly side of Clinton over and over again on the campaign trail. In fact, he has started taking on several of Richard Nixon's worst qualities. In a recent piece titled "Bill Clinton May Be Campaign's Biggest Loser," veteran columnist Al Hunt (no relation to yours truly) commented:

"Since January, he has been a regular feature on YouTube, face flushed, finger wagging and veins pulsing as he lashes out at some reporter or voter. He has accused the Obama campaign of putting out "a hit job on me," of playing "the race card" to "breed resentment" against him, and most everyone this side of Mark Penn engaging in one "cheap shot" after another.

"This is the stuff of a Philadelphia ward leader or troubled adolescent, not a former president respected worldwide. Three people who have spent time around him in recent months, all of whom insist on anonymity, describe him as irrationally angry and extremely bitter about the media."

Slowly, but surely, Bill is seems to be morphing into Richard Nixon -- and not the charming Nixon of "Checkers Speech" fame, but the mean, brooding Nixon of 1973. Pretty soon, old Bubba's gonna start saying, "I am not a crook." And I hate to say it, but these days, whenever I see Bill's face on television, I no longer go nostalgia tripping back to those carefree days of the 1990s, when prosperity was the order of the day and the USA Patriot Act was nonexistent. Now, I'm starting to see -- once again -- the Bill Clinton who supported slashing welfare to the poorest, most vulnerable citizens in America, the Bill Clinton who ordered the bombing of the El-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in the Sudan, the Bill Clinton who lied and lied about Monica Lewinsky, Whitewater and so on. And I'm not so sure I want him back in the White House after all.

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