Clinton, Inc.

On Wednesday night, former President Bill Clinton gave a speech nominating President Barack Obama for a second term in the White House.   While I watched him, I realized that what we were seeing was a combination of Billy Mays, Billy Graham and Tom Jones.  In 48 minutes, he could have sold a million sets of Ginsu knives, cured people of whatever ailed them and made women want to throw their panties over the heads of the Secret Service agents.  He was at his best last night.  He prepared 3,279 words and then adlibbed another 2,619.   He was a rock star.  It didn’t even matter what your personal choice of party or candidate was – he was as mesmerizing as he’d ever been and, if you were old enough to have been paying attention to political conventions at the time, it was a reminder of the kind of speeches that helped make him the Democrats’ choice of candidate in 1992.  I know that this was about President Obama, but Bill is a hard act to follow.  I can only imagine what might have happened if he’d brought along his saxophone.

Sure, he’s going to carry some dirty laundry with him as part of his legacy.   His mastery of politics and speech failed him when he tried to convince us that there might be another way of defining the word “is”.   In a way, looking back, and having the luxury of hindsight, I think it became one of his worst moments because it was so personal.   He had let down, again, his wife, Hillary, who was and is his closest confidante, ally, advisor and political partner.   They are The Political Power Couple, in capital letters, setting the standard and redefining that term like no one pair ever had before, and might ever again.   While they may have their personal problems, when it comes to attacks on either of them by outsiders, they become a fierce and intractable force.

It’s no secret that politics and power are what brought them and keep them together.  There is a mutual respect for each others undeniable intelligence.  When one of them sets their sights on something, from marrying each other to seeking political office, they become a well-oiled machine and work in lock step to help each other achieve their respective goals.   A great deal of their lives was revealed in David Maraniss’ well researched and carefully documented book “First In His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton”, which covered the Clintons’ lives from childhood up to the time when his first bid for the President was announced.   The portrayals are fair and even-handed, without judgment or favoritism, and it’s simply a great read.   When you finish it, you understand the kind of drive and ambition that this couple have, but you also are left with the knowledge that, once they’ve reached whatever it is they attained, they never gave, and still don’t give, less than everything they have to the job.

You can love the, hate them or feel absolutely nothing for them, but you can’t ignore them.  They won’t let you.  Since leaving office, Bill has experienced some metamorphosis, becoming America’s Ambassador to the world.  He has kept friendships with foreign Heads of State and forged new ones with former Presidents, particularly, wonder of wonders, with President George H.W. Bush.   This odd couple, the younger having taken a second term away from the elder, have joined together to help nations in times of crisis.  They’ve raised millions of dollars with their efforts, through their foundation(s) – The Bush-Clinton Katrina, Haiti and Tsunami Funds.  Bygones have become bygones, partisan politics have been put on a shelf and the two White House veterans have become friends and allies in the work they’ve done since leaving office.

After she left the White House, happily putting the title of First Lady on a shelf in their new home in Chappaqua, Hillary took steps to seek her own day in the sun, and out of the giant shadow her husband had cast, by running for and winning the office of Senator from New York.   She took a lot of flack for that and was labeled a carpetbagger,  something which could have been applied to any number of politicians in the past.  Then, in 2008, she herself sought the highest office in the land, and we became witnesses to the Clinton team once again.  It wasn’t easy to watch, however.    She was fighting against forces which came as a complete surprise to her and to us.  The Democratic party didn’t seem to want to give her what she needed to succeed.  The press cut her very little slack and, from all appearances, had decided, in very un-journalistic fashion,  to endorse her only real competitor, Barack Obama.

The story of the 2008 campaign is told very well in “Game Change” by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.   While it is, at times, both a little fiction and a little fact, it does talk about what we could see for ourselves – that the game wasn’t being played fairly and Hillary was being crushed under the weight of waning donations, a mocking and unobjective press and an exhausting schedule.  When she broke down in tears in that restaurant in New Hampshire, she took a lot of heat.  It was a sort of “there’s no crying in baseball” moment.  She had been asked how she did it, how she could keep going on as things began to look more dire for her.  She said, “It’s not easy, and I couldn’t do it if I didn’t passionately believe it was the right thing to do. You know, I have so many opportunities from this country that I just don’t want to see us fall backwards.  You know, this is very personal for me. It’s not just political it’s not just public. I see what’s happening, and we have to reverse it.”

She never did get to reverse it.  Bigger wheels were in motion.   Debate after debate became more frustrating, so much so that Saturday Night Live did sketches meant to show how she was being treated so very differently.  It also didn’t help when Bill lost his professional demeanor and all of his composure after it was inferred that he was a racist.  Personally, I think his remarks were purposely taken out of context.  Bill Clinton could be called a lot of things – racist wouldn’t be one of them.  We know how it ended for Hillary that Summer, and she is now serving President Obama as Secretary of State.

So why is Bill Clinton so vocally supporting President Obama for a second term?  He’s the first former President to give a nominating speech in the history of political conventions – no small thing at all.  There are some theories, and I happen to agree with them.   Bill knows people,  not just any people, but people who will write big checks for the Obama-Biden ticket.   He also loves politics, and the meeting and greeting part of campaigning.  Both he and Hillary are diehard party loyalists, good soldiers of the party, as witnessed by her current cabinet position and his speech last night.  More than that, however, there is Hillary herself.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that a great deal of what is going on right now is to pave the way for her own bid for the White House in 2016.  She’s denying it, of course, and if I’m wrong, well, I’ll be happy to eat my share of crow and admit my error in judgement.   I just don’t think she’s going to be completely happy or satisfied in the belief that her work in public service is over until she tries one more time.   This time there won’t be any missteps or teary-eyed breakdowns, and Bill will control his emotions in order to focus like a laser on the job at hand.  He knows that she wants this, and he still respects and cares enough about her to help her get there.

When Bill was first considering running for President, his advisors asked him if he was going to address his history of philandering.  With Hillary present he said, “Like nearly anybody who has been together for 20 years, our relationship has not been perfect or free from difficulties, but we feel good about where we are and we believe in our obligation to each other, and we intend to be together 30 or 40 years from now, whether I run for president or not.”  I don’t think either one of them are through – not by a long shot.

PHOTO: Hillary Clinton watches husband deliver convention speech


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30 Responses to Clinton, Inc.

  1. klmh says:

    I love this post Empress. Clinton’s speech was not one I had planned on listening to because the tennis match taking place at the US Open was an edge of your seater, but I got caught up in his enthusiasm and way with words. I miss his intelligence and his ability to compromise. He is the master at speech making, imo.
    I hope Hilary runs in 4 years, and if Im still kicking, she will get my vote. In the early nineties I had a different attitude about her, but now I appreciate her strength, intelligence and perseverance.
    Thanks for the great post. It’s another one I will read to my husband, who by the way, enjoys your ideas and way words too (unless its about the housewives and such 🙂 that is).

    • klmh, I can’t say for sure whether I’d vote for her or not in 2016. Four years is a little too much for me to be certain about. I’ll be happy if we just survive the next 8 weeks. I can say that I understand her a little better than I did when Bill left office and believe that she paid part of the price for his (self) tarnished image.

  2. melthehound says:

    Count me among those who doesn’t like Slick WIllie but I can’t take away from him his ability to move an audience. Much better than his successor and the current occupant combined. Some would suggest that isn’t saying a lot but name for me one other former president who has managed to stay in the spotlight and even overshadowed the current (whichever term of office you choose), president. I for one hope Obama is a one term president, and frankly, I can’t wait for the Wednesday after the election when it’s all over.

    • Vegas Chick says:

      I didn’t have a chance to watch it, but can’t agree more… Slick Willie, for sure. Reagan had the same charisma. The difference is that Ronald Reagan was a good man. Another great blog, Empress. I do enjoy your writing style. As for Hilary, I lost all respect for her during the Monica fiasco. Apparently, she cold-cocked Bill with a glass ashtray to the forehead. It just goes to show us that the Clintons will do anything for power, and the stories of their abuse of individuals who get in their way is appalling if not illegal. I would love to see a woman as POTUS one day, but not Hilary.

      • I can understand your feelings re: the Clintons. I don’t think that they’re alone in their “whatever it takes” approach to political gain. It takes a tremendous ego for anyone to think that they’re qualified to be the leader of the free world. We could probably find any number of people who were used and abused by candidates on the way to the top. It’s not a very pretty game in any way, shape or form.
        I am still chuckling over the “glass ashtray to the forehead”, though. Sounds like he got away easy. I’m not so sure that I would have stopped there. 😉

      • klmh says:

        Hillary used an ashtray? She is a very kind person, isn’t she? I would have used something a bit heavier. What a lovely lady she is…

  3. Great post Empress.. I did not watch the D & C convention..YES…. I purposely placed an ” & ” between the two letters…winks

    Off to an interview here shortly .. Fingers crossed….

    • melthehound says:

      Best of luck, Diva 😀

      • thedesigndiva2 says:

        Thanks MTH…Finally a potential employer who actually checked my references and was impressed with what he was told..and the fact that I am part of the ‘older ‘ ( cough cough) generation is a major plus for this job… !!!! Just waiting to hear back from him today as to when I can meet him at the office and get a quick lesson in how to run the place for him…He’s leaving Florida in a few days and will be gone for 10 days and I will be taking over operations…
        He just needs the blessings of one more of the “higher” ups..and then it’s a GO for the Diva…whoop whoop…I am excited for sure…..

    • Vegas Chick says:

      From what I know of you on-line, Diva, there is no doubt that you can run anything, anywhere, anytime. Best of luck and keep us posted.

  4. LuvMyGals says:

    Yes, you’re spot on again Empress. If I could sit down and chat with any living person it would be Bill Clinton. (Please thrown in Hillary as a bonus.) There is no doubt that Bill and Hillary are masters of the political game. But with all of the mud thrown at them they (like Obama) have never stooped to the ugliness that so many have. And of course they learned the clearest lessons about truth. Although they deservedly enjoy positions of power, there’s no denying that Bill and Hillary Clinton are first and foremost dedicated to public service. That is what makes them noble. I firmly believe that until we have more women in power our country is going to continue to be divided by the basest ugliness in politics. I supported her against Obama and cannot wait until she announces her candidacy again.

    • LuvMyGals, There’s a reason that Hillary is consistently at the top of “Most Admired Women” lists. As for women in power, well, I think we’re the masters of compromise and negotiations. The skills we use in our daily lives – with our families and in our jobs – are underestimated when it comes to holding leadership positions. We can rule more than just the kitchen.

  5. LuvMyGals says:

    P.S. I love the way you write! (I always have to say it that way because it’s a line from “The Way We Were” and it conjures up the clearest image of Robert Redford!) So I say that with the deepest love and appreciation.

  6. thedesigndiva2 says:

    A trip thru time..Don’t blink
    Happy Flashback Friday….

    Enjoy. it also has music…

  7. thedesigndiva2 says:

    I GOT A JOB !!! I GOT A JOB !!!!
    The guy ZACH just called…. off to meet him in about an hour to get the keys and learn procedure..WHOOP WHOOP….. I am so excited…..
    I start tomorrow..

  8. I just luv Big Bill. Do former presidents need interns?

  9. I watched both political conventions. Clinton’s speech was absolutely the best. It was a lesson to both Romney & Obama, on how to get your points across, and convince the listeners to support you. It was a masterpiece of oratory.

    President Clinton not only balanced the budget while he was in office, he managed a surplus AND the national deficit (now over 16 trillion & increasing every second) was going DOWN. Lowering the tax rates, spending like drunken sailors, going to war, Wall St. madness….have led us down a path of ruin.

    My choice for President was Hilary too, not Obama. She has been an outstanding Sec. of State, adding to her resume. It’s my dream that she will not only run in 2016, but WIN. As her vice president, I hope she chooses a Hispanic/Black woman. Wouldn’t that be historic?

    We need Mr. Clinton to help forge compromises in DC, working with Obama, so that instead of this constant fighting & do nothing atmosphere in Congress, we actually start to get things fixed. Like reducing that over $16 trillion deficit, reducing healthcare costs, etc. There’s so much to get done, we all need to tighten our belts and put our shoulders to the wheel. Throwing $ at things does not fix them. Creative solutions, laser beam attention to detail, and tapping into our large number of retired people that could volunteer to help – will put us back on the road to fiscal responsibility. My mom, in her 80s, used to walk to the local elementary school in her neighborhood, to help young children learn to read. Now she’s 87 and still does the bookkeeping – without pay – for my brother’s business. Let’s get to work America, no excuses!

    • Nothing would make me happier than to finally see a woman as our President. I would hope that Hillary and others would become the norm, rather than the exception, as candidates for political office. I’m astounded that women only hold 17% of the seats in Congress. You’re right – the whole country has a lot of work to do. It might help if the folks up in Washington would listen to us once in a while. We have a vast number of people with good ideas, intelligence and experience, and a willingness to share them. Nope, no excuses! 🙂

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