Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Happy 60th Birthday Bill Clinton

The youngest President ever to leave office under his own power turns 60 years old today. Happy Birthday, Bill!

He was an inspiring President (if you discount a few rather tawdry and indecorous episodes). A warm man, and a great speaker, he can light up a room like no one in that office has since JFK. I have only seen him in a large crowd, but people I know who've been at gatherings say he is even more mesmerising in smaller venues. He avoided war, and balanced the budget (and began paying down the deficit). His politics, personality, and deep bond with the American people only shine brighter the longer his successor remains in office.


Kev said...

Warm, OK, but his social policies were less progressive than Dick Nixon's. I have always felt that Clinton's success as president was largely a careerist's success. He was masterful at surviving but as for leading..... I dunno.

Jack Brummet said...

You are right. Dick Nixon was the Last Big Spender when it came to social programs. But both he and Slick Willy were to some extent victims of their own pragmatism. Nixon was pushed toward the left, and Bill, with his moderate Dem background, to the right. I do know Nixon's private thoughts on, for example, blacks and jews, were not exactly enlightened.

However, I don't think anyone can question Bill's credentials with African Americans. Did he get as much done for them as Nixon? No, but Nixon was at the end of a wave of civil rights reform--the ink was barely dry on the voting rights act bill and the civil rights act was signed into law by LBJ during that tumultuous election year, 1968...the momentum was still there.

Clinton, on the other hand, became President during a period of retrenchment...some of which he admittedly had a hand in.

I think if they had both acted on their hearts we would have seen something else entirely. In Nixon's case, no telling what he might have done unfettered, but we can probably guess by some of the schemes we know his henchmen were confecting in the White House basement.

Kev said...

There is no argument that Nixon was a scroundel. In some ways he was an unabashed one. But I always have felt from Clinton NEED, in the Sally Field manner, and that he's giving
"it" to you so that you will approve of him. And he could sure show an uncuddly streak when he thought he could get a way with it. I still find it kind of sickening how he and his operatives were so quick to toss those 'women' under the bus whenever he felt threatened of exposure.

But of course your right in citing the forces that contained his more progressive inclinations I just wish he would have been more of a mensch when facing his difficulties.